In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), Jules Verne states that «nature’s creative power is far beyond man’s instinct of destruction». It is with a similar assumption in mind that Silvia Mariotti explores the beauty of natural sublime over the horror of human history in a cycle of works entitled Aria buia.
Abisso Plutone (Aria buia) (2015) consists of a photographic documentation of a foiba, which is a deep doline, a geological phenomenon typical, along with crevices and caves, of the Kras region. However, as it is well know, foibas hold a double connotation. The first one is linked to the geological phenomenon of terrestrial morphology and is fascinating for its peculiarity, since it can only be found in certain areas of the earth, defined as ”karstic” from the name of the geographical region between Friuli Venezia Giulia, Slovenia, and Croatia, where the scientific characteristics of this natural occurrence were first studied.
The second one, equally famous, is sadly associated with the historical facts of second world war, when these sinkholes became the unaware protagonists of human tragedies.
Silvia Mariotti reacts to this double phenomenon like a tightrope walker by playing with elegance and balance between these historical and geological echoes.
The idea of natural sublime is thus combined with a historical thinking on the contemporary age, generating a double, subliminal terror in front of us. On the one hand, the horror towards nature’s magnificence, which causes both irresistible dismay and awe; while, on the other hand, the horror towards human violent fury, which in its turn determines not only feelings of terror, but also of shame and contempt. The image of the foibas also produces a reflection on the concept of time. As a matter of fact, these vertical holes are the result of millenarian geological forces and, at the same time, witnesses of a tragic past that is still very close to the present. These faults, these “fractures”, represent wounds that cannot be healed, either within the karst area and in our memory: only their moving beauty, magnificently immortalised by Silvia Marotti, can possibly save us from oblivion and despair.