THE DANCE OF OBLIVON –  by Sandra Benvenuti


As a protagonist of its scenarios, the wind flies above the water edge like a sculptor playing with the sand, and with the complicity of the sea it brings to surface some remains of worn-out objects which seem to look at the sky like sleeping faces covered with a thin layer of sand reminding us of overlapping layers of time. Just like the snow falling in different moments. In these weighty places of sea breezes and perfumes of floating seaweeds, Donaggio happens to reflect on his story’s thread. With his usual poetics, the artist digs up into the matter of time and finds in the watercourse of his past some fragments of life fallen into forgetfulness, experienced emotions, forgotten fragrances. With naturalness the artist turns all this into images and realizes a new project called – not coincidentally – Sediments. Thanks to his geniality he re-evaluates the matter and underlines the intrinsic character of the things abandoned on the water edge thus overturning their potential aesthetic language. The artist transforms objects and things into visions: a polibox used by fishmongers becomes a redundant Tower of Babel and a plastic cloth is now a spouse’s veil; the sea waves lapping the shallows full of seaweed reawakens Neptune; abandoned strings of mussels burst out crying, a black cry. Donaggio’s artworks are not only photographic compositions, but concepts of thought that remind me of visions of pupas that in their final stage become butterflies… Sediments is the result of a constant in-depth art experimentation which proves, once again, the visionary and constructivist authenticity of the artist. I idealize Donaggio’s worlds like surreal stages where common worn-out objects become brilliant interpreters in ever-changing scenarios, protagonists of visions that I would define entries for a third dimension. Franco Donaggio is a traveller, his journey has started since his very childhood when he left his sea, his lagoon with its shallows, his sailing with friends. First for his studies, then to undertake his professional path in the big city. And from there, to Europe and North America. Today, after some decades, the artist returns to the land of his origins with the heart of a fulfilled man and of a poet who still has the vivid curiosity so typical of the eternal investigator he used to be as a young man. I was particularly struck by one of Franco’s concepts that I found especially sharp: “My photography means giving shape to dreams, to visions and matter just like the clay of a sculptor; to me the photo is like the brick that – together with others – forms my sense of mystery”. I think that this view is a possible lever of Archimedes to deeply comprehend the work of this versatile artist who – with Sediments – conveys not only the umpteenth mocking message to the fleeting time, but also a dense and generous contribution to our desire of seeing beyond.