BEFORE THE DAWN – preface by Sandra benvenuti

Eccentric author in ongoing movement and against mass production, Donaggio shifts – with instinctive naturalness – his surrealist credo towards Symbolism, and Before the Dawn represents its visual proof.
In 1928, the well-known psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung stated that the subconscious is composed of images. Images that are the archetypes determining the psychic world, whose symbolic representation expresses
itself through dreams, art and religion. Jung underlined that an image is symbolic when it implies something that is beyond its immediate and obvious meaning, that is when it possesses a wider, unconscious side which is never defined with accuracy nor fully explained. If anything, the image works as a door towards a magic and mysterious universe. This statement of Jung perfectly describes Donaggio’s work Before the Dawn, an extraordinary project which originates in the soft light of daybreak, the temporal space mentioned in the title. The creative process of the artist never originates during the shoot, but when he fuses together the elements he encounters along his path. The starting point of his whole work is the pre-visualization of the project to be realized. The development of the theme to interpret is meditated and planned firstly in his mind and then on the paper with post-production. Before the Dawn is the synthesis of this creative process. The author inspects the urban environment around him and lingers on everything: from a detail to the whole; after that, he re-composes it in his photography as though he saw it for the first time, thus giving it a new birth. Starting from a real landscape, the artist captures with his camera – in different moments – fragments of daily life made of objects and people; then, just like a wise alchemist, Donaggio extracts the real elements photographed and blends them in the subconscious of an unpredictable and fascinating image. In this project the artist uproots Man from the actual context and transfers him into a new magic world which, notwithstanding the presence of some obstacles, is a free world from an intellectual point of view.
The artist elaborates the matter of urban walls or marble sculptures and then reshapes their forms until he creates a new scenario where Man is always a traveller seen during his moments of freedom and anguish. Very wide squares, marble geometries, bizarre elements like sculptures, marble busts entrapped in classical columns and faceless people are all actors of an unreal scenario, motionless characters showing a sense of solitude and mystery. Three are the principal symbols composing Before the Dawn: Man, the stone and the clouds. The author’s interest, again, is in Man. Yet, if Donaggio in Station investigates the big enigma of life and the existential question, in Before the Dawn he turns his gaze to desire, aspirations and fears, all feelings that are often dozing in the swirling labyrinth of life. The stone represents the human illusion of stability, of something reassuring. However, the scenes of human paths on this comforting, solid base change and often become insidious. Finally the cloud, which is seen by the artist as an impenetrable entity appearing unexpectedly, forever free and elusive. In these territories the artist modifies the sense of the whole and donates instants of light to passing clouds similar to charioteers of dream heading for the dawn of a new day.