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Filling the Void: Fabiano Parisi in Miami

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Fabiano Parisi, "Il mondo che non vedo" ("The world I do not see")

Fabiano Parisi, “Il mondo che non vedo” (“The world I do not see”)

There are a few days left to catch the exhibit Fabiano Parisi: Empire of Light at the Diana Lowenstein Gallery in Miami.  The show ends this Saturday, May 31st.

Empire of Light is a series that Parisi began in 2007 and in which he photographs abandoned buildings throughout the world – Italy, Poland, Germany Belgium and the U.S.  Parisi was born in Rome in 1977.  You can learn more about him on his website at http://www.fabianoparisi.com/.

There’s something fascinating, or at least to me, about abandoned buildings.  I’m not sure why, but this theme recurs in my life.  I recently watched (well, honestly, I only made it through the first 15 minutes) Chernobyl Diaries, a film inspired by eerie photos of Pripyat,  the abandoned village found on this blog.  I saw the recent James Bond flick more than once and that was filmed at the abandoned Hashima Island.  A few weeks ago, I was mesmerized by Villa Epecuen, a town in Argentina that emerged from the ocean after being underwater for 25 years.

My first encounter with an abandoned location was during a kayaking trip on the Hudson River where I learned about Bannerman Castle. A few years ago an Italian photographer, Carlo Tardani, sent me a link to photos he’d taken of abandon building in Tuscany.  In Freudian terms, I guess there’s a parallel to being abandoned as a child by my father and being attracted to the emptiness of abandoned locations, the longing for more, the sense of loss for something that was solid and once provided security.  I wonder if people that don’t have similar psychological baggage are equally entranced?

In Parisi’s work, there’s a sense not only of abandonment, but also of destruction. There’s this sense that what was was once vibrant, breathing and full of life, but is now devoid of life and breath.  However, it could be argued that this absence of life is actually more compelling because the remnants invite the viewer to write a story in their mind.  My story will be different than yours.  I might project something entirely different.  When I look at the photo at the top of this post, I think immediately of the Kirstin Dunst film, Marie Antoinette.  What do you think of?

When you view Parisi’s abandoned theater below, there are so many images that surface and superimpose themselves on it figuratively in your head.  Our brains store images the way a computer files them away in File Manager, associating them with words, ideas and emotions.  Parisi titles his photos, “Il mondo che non vedo,” which translates as “the world I do not see.”  That accounts for the absence of life, but not for our desire to fill the void with our own associations, memories and emotions.  And when you look at an image like this, it’s hard not to see the ghosts of past occupants.  Although the building is empty and decrepit, there’s an impression that remains of the life that was once there.

There is the sense of loss and the mind’s desire to fill the void.

Fabiano Parisi, "Il mondo che non vedo"

Fabiano Parisi, “Il mondo che non vedo”

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Written by Jenifer Mangione Vogt

May 30, 2013 at 11:15 am