The Mimetic Observer

The Mimetic Observer

15 November 2023 - 29 February 2024

Palazzo Barberini

curated by Alessandro Coco and Peter Lang, under the management of Giorgio Di Noto.

The Mimetic Observer is a public initiative commemorating, in 2021, the 700th year anniversary marking Dante Alighieri’s death. From 15 November 2023 until 29 February 2024 the exhibition will move to Palazzo Barberini.

This project goes close-up into the Poet’s world, making direct contact with the objects, landscapes and other natural elements that the Poet brings into focus in his major opus the Divine Comedy. Dante’s light sensitive and photogenic narrative is brought to life through a meticulous reconstruction of images and afterimages drawn from the three Canticles, by means of early analogue photographic methods.
The Mimetic Observer takes a look at how Dante cultivates a manner of poetic speech that makes his Cantos read like true stories, by carefully mirroring the world around him.

What would it be like to see what the Poet sees? What is it like to take Dante’s worldview into ours?
This project consists of original photographic prints, generated using darkroom practices that date back to the earliest period of photographic development, around the half of the 19th century. The results are truly spectacular, for these images, printed on metal, glass plates and silver gelatine paper, working almost exclusively with primary analogue methods, are by their nature unique and exclusive physical artefacts.
The program’s Artist and expert Printmaker Carlotta Valente organized the project into three sets of 9 artworks, in keeping with Dante’s numeric system, from the three Canticles, Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise. To capture images on Light representing Paradise, Valente invited Joaquin Paredes, artist and one of the top specialists in historic photographic practices, to collaborate on the making of this unique collection of daguerreotypes.

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