Oxymoron · 1998

ita · eng
Intorno alla fine del 1990 Pino Musi si interessa alla fotografia industriale, in particolare seguendo le fasi della lavorazione dell'acciaio e collaborando con una delle più importanti aziende internazionali del settore, il Gruppo Riva. Queste immagini sono parte di un lavoro autonomo di ricerca, svolto parallelamente all'attività di documentazione del ciclo siderurgico.
Ossimoro è una delle parole - delle relazioni - più care a Pino Musi, tanto da dedicare a questa figura doppia, orgogliosamente anfibia, questo lavoro diventato nel 1998 un monumentale libro, Oxymoron. L’autore ha infatti da sempre orientato la sua ricerca rigorosa alle avventure della contraddizione, dell’incontro, che la parola ossimoro conserva irrisolto nel suo corpo ambiguo, dell’acuto e dell’ottuso, della luce e dell’ombra, della trasparenza e dell’opacità, del permanente e del transitorio, scegliendo una strategia di dissimulazione, di spiazzamento e di interrogazione che, alla nettezza sterile di una forma apodittica, privilegia la verità lacera del frammento, della polvere, del relitto. Un relitto che la fotografia riscatta e trasforma, un relitto che si fa nobile attraverso il gesto generativo, mai neutrale, tanto meno documentario, del fotografo: “La fotografia, ha scritto Giorgio Agamben, è per me in qualche modo il luogo del Giudizio Universale (...). L’immagine fotografica è sempre più che un’immagine: è il luogo di uno scarto, di uno squarcio sublime fra il sensibile e l’intellegibile, fra la copia e la realtà, fra il ricordo e la speranza”.
Stefania Zuliani

testo correlato (solo versione inglese):
Götzendämmerung / Werner Oechslin

“Der Rausch muss erst die Erregbarkeit
der ganzen Maschine gesteigert haben:
eher kommt es zu keiner Kunst.”
F. Nietzsche, Götzen-Dämmerung, Streifzüge, 8.

Götzen-Dämmerung - the twilight of the idols! "I, too, speak of a 'return to nature'," writes Friedrich Nietzsche, and adds, "though it is not in fact a return, but rather an ascent - an ascent to nature and a naturalness that is high, free, even appalling; a nature that plays, and is permitted to play, with great aspirations..." [1]
For Nietzsche, these meditations are thoughts on "progress as I define it." This is no Arcadia, no magical evocation of a natural idyll where only gentle breezes blow, no image drawn from the wide spectrum of projected, idealized nature, nor even the sublimation of the awful into the "sublime," aesthetically adapting it for our own pleasure. No, what Nietzsche seeks is to gaze unflinchingly at nature as it really is - its power, violence, and unpredictability.
What should we derive from nature: its forms, its ideality?
Time-honored tradition tempts the artist to approach nature in this way and even, as the theory of art frequently requires, to surpass it in accord with his own precept and judgment. In this endeavor, the artist is supported not only by the doctrine of imitation, but often by natural philosophy itself. Ernst Haeckel makes of nature an artist, thus seeking to decipher the "treasure trove" of natural forms, breathing life into the regular, inorganic world of crystals. Invoking Goethe's call for the "equal rights" of spirit and matter, Haeckel creates Kristallseelen ("crystalline souls"). In this way, the "unity of all natural phenomena" is reinforced, a part of the Welträtsel ("world riddle") solved, and-now well into the sphere of religious ideals - the Gott-Natur ("god-nature") invoked.
Domesticated nature? Nietzsche's (Greek) Olympus is of a different order, populated by Titans and giants, Cyclopes and centaurs. Here, life is harsh: invulnerable to all attack, the giant Kaineus is buried under a mass of tree trunks. Hephaistos, the smith of the gods, strikes the skull of his father Zeus with his axe, whereupon Athena springs forth in full armor. This nature is far from benign! What Nietzsche envisions with his "return to nature" is neither Rousseau's ideal state, nor rest, nor philosophical enlightenment. Rather, it is untamed wildness, the primal state, the longing for "contest, hierarchy, and powerful, Dionysian souls," as Fritz Krökel describes it in his interpretation of the passage.
"Ma tu alla cieca ne vai” ("but you are blind in any case") - thus art accuses nature in Daniele Barbaro and those Platonists for whom harmony, and harmony alone, provides an adequate representation of nature. Wherein does this blindness consist? - or to put it another way, what kind of art can permit nature its wildness and yet still achieve its own artistic form? Pino Musi has chosen the Greek word ὀξύμωρον (oxymoron) - a profoundly divided, self -contradictory term - to evoke this wildly vehement, dynamically alive, neither esoteric nor religious, but eminently animalistic image of nature. The "oxymoronic" is sharp and dull at the same time - it is Hephaistos' forge, where fire spews and hisses amid inert masses and metals. The noise of the iron foundry recalls that of a volcano.
This is the realm of the demonic and feral: showers of sparks and dark slag, infinitely fleet and dingily inert! This is the metaphor of nature as it is, unvarnished, palpable, alive, and constantly in motion. Nothing is glossed over, not even the machine. There is no projection of Fördertürme (hoisting frames), whose sober, orthographic forms can be charmingly domesticated into objets trouvés.
No, with Pino Musi these machines appear in all their immediacy as bêtes brutes, as "beasts." Their feral life-motor is the mechanical apparatus which - in Helmholtz's words -constitutes the "purest form of the expression of force." It flashes with sparks, it thunders. With specific reference to sense perception, the Greek ὀξύς means sharp, stabbing, and quick, fiery and acidic; it is evoked in the image of a metal object piercing the tongue. All this serves as a metaphor for the keen and daring, while μωρός comprehends the exact opposite: the dull, insipid, and inert.
Opposition and tension. What is represented here is not permanence, but evolution and transience. Architecture, too, has at times longed for that state of disordered nature, abandoning its dream of an architectonic order prefigured in crystal and basalt. This image of evolution and transience appears at the beginning of a central work by the most important German architectural theorist of the 19th century, Gottfried Semper. In the "Prolegomena" to Der Stil, Semper - whom, ironically, the new, "modern" idealists accused of a "mechanistic" worldview - sees the world as unbalanced oscillation between the "formless" and the "newly formed." He sees this condition - "because we live in it" - as a "crisis," open and unresolved. He speaks of phenomena between decay and the "rise of the Phoenix of new art from the ashes of the old.” ὀξύμωρον - a "crumbling world of art" that seems difficult - too difficult - to maintain ("for this, an Atlas would be too weak"!), or the hope of the "evolution of art," which initiates anew the search for "law and order." Insight into dynamism, opposition, confrontation, not the flight into a Kunstwollen of some kind or the substitution of a self-created aesthetic imperative for unpredictable reality - this is what, in the end, is recognized here.
Das Naturschöne, natural beauty, is hard to repress. The twilight of the idols! In those texts, under the title of the "Psychology of the Artist," Nietzsche also speaks of the state of ecstasy, thereby vehemently rejecting the traditional forms of idealizing art. What constitutes the artistic is not simplification, in the sense of a distillation of essences, but rather "a tremendous expulsion of primary traits." Der Rausch, ecstasy, is the "feeling of the intensification of power and fullness" - the opposite of harmlessness! Nature is not benign; it is slag and dross, refuse, showers of sparks, hissing-that which the machines, the "brute beasts," need to survive. There is no reassurance; all is tumultuous and unpredictable. ὀξύμωρον - a Greek world in which only the gods can somehow combine the ecstatic in nature with the work of human hands, a reality full of tension and contradiction - this is the driving force behind Pino Musi's pictures.

[1] "Auch ich rede von der 'Ruckkehr zur Natur', obwohl es eigentlich nicht ein Zuruckgehn, sondern ein Hinaufkommen ist - hinauf in die hohe, freie, selbst furchtbare Natur und Natürlichkeit, eine solche, die mit grossen Aufgaben spielt, spielen darf...".
F. Nietzsche, Götzen-Dämmerung, Streifzüge, 48.

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