To Dream, to Collect

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Starting on Thursday, 20 September, 2018, Burning Giraffe Art Gallery presents the exhibition Nightscapes – Officium, a solo show by Italian artist-photographer Ugo Ricciardi. 

A year and half after his first exhibition at the Turin based art gallery, Ricciardi is back with an entirely new series of his evocative nocturnal landscapes, in which the silence of the depicted places is interrupted by the solitary alien presence of light drawings highlighting Nature's beauty by interacting with it. The delicate winter lyricism of mountain valleys and the austere archaism of millenary olive trees, which were the protagonists of the former show, are now substituted by the magniloquent ruins of Magno-Greek and Keltic religious architectures, respectively from Sicily and Ireland, capturing and reinvigorating their ancestral spiritual and mystical presence

The light paintings, which characterize each picture, by perfectly interacting with the depicted places, are captured during long exposure times and are the only source of light of the photographs, along with that of the moon, always caught during its full phase. The artist’s intention is that of keeping intact and unaltered the purity of the image, executing, only when necessary, a delicate, almost imperceptible, post-production work, which is never aimed at denaturalizing a project that finds its major strength in its mystical and dreamlike naturalness. 

The title Officum, chosen for this second appointment with the Nightscapes series, narrates of the encounter between the artist, an unbeliever, and the sense of the Sacred which permeates these places: the majestic Greek temples of Segesta and Selinunte, and the ruins of the Castle of Dunluce, or the stone circles of Beaghmore, in Northern Ireland; to the atavistic sacredness of the elements on the slopes of mount Etna and the hexagonal rock pillars of the Giant’s Causeway.

This is what I’ ve found in Ireland – tells the artist – : circles of stones on the grass, castles in ruins on top of cliffs, and yet still alive, gigantic stones eroded by winds. The same goes for Sicily, with its temples, the blackrocks of the Vulcano, with all its roughness. Two islands so far and different one from the other, so reach in sacredness and mystery. Strong, savage. Officium, the office, is prayer. It means chanting the Sacred, praying for the miracles of life and death, an act that, in Christian liturgy gives reality to one’s love and devotion to God. It is also a duty, a philosophic and moral obligation towards something one strongly believes in. It ’s a choice.

It is what I feel when I visit these places at night. Light is my offering: the portal which opens the passage from reality to what is behind it, just a little bit further, as far as I can see. It’ s the duty I’ve chosen for myself, my office, and, maybe, the only way I know of praying.

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