Enchanted Passages


by Beba Stoppani

A sort of imaginary continuation of Lost Planet, the present work raises further questions about the mystery of nature and the relationship we can establish with this. Step by step, we follow an interior route, a winding path that has developed over time. During this journey, an inner dialogue with nature is renewed; through hidden languages this reveals itself, with signs, writing and rhythms accompanying the beating of the heart of a wayfarer full of wonder. Impressions and resonance emerge from distant visions, small details stand out between light and shade, visual labyrinths appear, revealing shining paths animated by the of nature still charged with enchantment.

by Gigliola Foschi

Nature behaves in these pictures like sound in the voice: rather than landscape, a view or a scene, it is the essence of what is visible and its rhythm. Just as the poet does not imitate nature, but allows it to speak to itself, so Beba Stoppani internalizes the very voice of nature: she places mountains, stones and paths in the heart of her personal language, which then becomes proximity and attention.

Many of her pictures are displayed in small format, so spectators also need to observe them at close quarters, inducing their visual faculties to seek new harmony with nature. In some cases, the fact the artist has lived close to these places has allowed her to produce delicate effects: for example, the way she indicates ancient paths or the natural folds of the mountains with golden dots, almost as if she wanted to transform them into the ‘Enchanted Passages’ mentioned in the title.
Thanks to the use of painting, with these small gestures, Stoppani has found yet another way to renew the possibilities of experiencing and expressing her feelings and emotions.

In other works, she has juxtaposed different photographs that are united by a sort of common sentiment, by bonds resembling puzzles. Often, as in the precious daguerreotypes of the past, she has inserted these pictures — single or multiple — in oval passe-partout, in its turn welcoming and enveloping. This ensures the isolation of her works from external interference and, at the same time, concentrates and reunites the internal elements, linking them in their innermost aspects.
This passe-partout — which serves as a frame — becomes ‘semantic’ in the true sense of the word, expressing a meaning, which, by concealing parts of the pictures, gathers a new life force within itself and lends further mystery to these works. Thanks to this procedure, the photographer encourages spectators to decode the signals concealed and inscribed in the works and to undertake, in their turn, a quest for an emotional approach, a journey towards nature and its hidden rules. She confines herself to delimiting, to framing and juxtaposing pictures of mountains and meadows, humble stones and scree slopes that, however — thanks to these small interventions — appear to be the ‘dream stones’ popular in China in the mid-nineteenth century and the theme of a book by the writer Roger Callois.

These are stone ‘pictures’ that induce the spectator to discern allusive figures or to dwell on their magic and intrinsic power. But this is not all: by intentionally confusing the coordinates between large and small, and vertical and horizontal, it as if — thanks to this perceptive disorientation — the photographer is trying to persuade the spectator to observe nature from a different point of view and marvel before it in a sort of interplay between revelation and concealment.
These are photographs neither of landscapes nor of paths or stones, but visual devices leading towards the silent heart of nature in order to take another look at it and eliminate the feeling of déjà vu that blurs our sight. In this way it saves the pictures from the logic of representation in order to open them up to that of emotion, imagination and listening.

Next project

0° a 5000 mt (Zero gradi a 5000 metri)