THE CHARM OF MYTH – by Roberto Mutti
You just need to find a place far away from people, lights, noises and then stare at the night sky in silence to be overwhelmed by a strange feeling blending anxiety and fascination for mystery. This is an intelligent way to get in touch with our shrewder ancestors who used the audacity of thought in order to study the hidden parts of reality in search for its more authentic essence. “The intimate nature of things likes hiding itself” so wrote Heraclitus who was called by his contemporaries skoteinòs, that is the obscure, because he was already aware that knowledge is a long process where reason and mystery intertwine in a winding path which is also rich in charm. We are surprised in knowing that those very words, written in the 6th century BC and coming from a society (that of the island of Samo) which was so simple from an economic and social point of view, are now perfectly sharable. At the center of our cognitive path we are used to pay attention not to the noble reason but to the “reasonability”, namely its simpler version. As a consequence, we have entrusted the world of art to guide us into the discovery of what intrigues us most, whether it is the night sky standing above us or the maze of thoughts crossing our mind. The ancient people would face all that by resorting to the myth, a kind of narration which proposes a fundamental truth behind the semblace of a fairy tale: so the most attentive readers were challenged to investigate the several hints so as to finally get to the key meaning of the message. So the Sphinx who confronts herself with Oedipus is the symbol of the enigma which has to be solved; the Arianna’s thread stands for the intelligence able to defeat brutality, while the Orpheus’ s challenge enhances the sublime beauty of art, being the only thing capable of facing death and (almost) defeating it. For the contemporaries, instead, the images tell more than the words and the few authors who can skillfully create them are consequently to be praised. The Morpheus’ Spaces, the latest work by Franco Donaggio, has got all the characteristics to be defined a myth carried out in a photographic form, even because just in its title it evokes one of the most charming divinity of the ancient Greek culture who could take on the exterior look of real individuals, objects, landscapes and even sensations dreamt by men. So a strong, steadfast relationship between myth and dream was created and this is also underlined by the fact that Morpheus was one of Hypnos’ son and that he used to touch lightly the eyelids of sleeping people with poppy petals in order to create images. It is exactly this dimension into which Donaggio accompanies us asking us to let be transported by sensations and by the marvel so as to make us aware of the strong relation linking reality and imagination. He soon highlights this through a photo of great power depicting the solemnity of a ship whose bow cuts through water creating grand frothy waves and the vigor of the woman steering it by firmly seizing long leather straps. Soon you will understand why it is not by chance that the ship flanks rise like cement walls: the architecture, especially the most audacious and therefore prepared to any possible challenge, is not only the environment where everything is set, but a real protagonist of a world where the sensual softness of a wonderful female body is matched with the sharp lines of the buildings, blends with the series of windows which seem to embrace it, stands out against the sky so as to challenge it. Then, all of a sudden, the woman emerges into a liquid space which coagulates around her and at this point it becomes inevitable thinking about another Morpheus, protagonist of “Matrix” by Lana and Andy Wachowski, which isn’t perhaps a simple sciencefiction film, but an open window to a possible world. From now on the journey actually starts, the female figure hovers in the air, fights with the fire, rests on a seat, faces a giant outline of the moon where maybe there is a special space – just like Ludovico Ariosto suggested – where the ampoules containing the sense of lovers are kept.