I call these photographic works Land paintings. They are an attempt to respond to a question about my own presence within historical space. I have tried to define this location through the concept of “rupestrian”. Although the term rupestrian denotes an art form ‘executed on or with rocks’, it can also refer to the process by which human-made creations fade away and become part of their surroundings. In this sense, Rupestrian occurs at the meeting point of nature and history. In such instances, it is not only as if civilization and abandonment occurred in successive waves over the centuries; rather one was the pre-condition of the other.
In recent years, whenever I could, I hiked around the Tuscia region, north of Rome, in a sparsely inhabited land full of prehistoric and archaeological sites, with a leaf, or a tongue, made out of latex dipped in red fluorescent pigment, leaving it on the ground, and then shooting it. The Etruscan tombs, which become medieval hermitages, then sheepfolds, then wartime shelters, finally lovers hideouts, are the usual stops of my wanderings.
In the last Months I wondered also in the Garrigue areas surrounding the Gardon river, with a branch of palm tree, or a ferula stick, or a gigantic lily flower, painted in the same red (the most artificial colour I know).
I entitled this photographic body of work “land paintings” partly as a reference to the notion of “picturesque” so dear to several land artists active in the 1960 and 1970. The title is also meant to evoke the idea of stepping on earth, looking for hidden and forgotten places.
In my previous work, the sign placed on the photograph was a means of preventing the fruition of the image in its entirety, of opening up a gap of time within it, by using a fluorescent color that displaced the vision. This intrusive element is now a material one and becomes an artwork as soon as the photograph is taken. This is the reason I don’t usually add other semantic levels to it. Also, in contrast to Land art, I don’t transform the site into which I introduce myself, I just leave a sign.
For a fleeting moment, I impose an artificial element to a “natural” landscape, like the footprint of a foreigner intruder. This sign left on the sites before photographing them constitutes a marker of my “I have been there” but also a way of seizing the baton, in a relay race with the past.