As a conclusion of The Blacks I proposed an exercise to Ginzburg himself that was a bit particular, which consisted of searching in his memory in order to collect mental images that had proven to be determining images in his life, without necessarily being present in his research, in particular, those that came from listening to or reading a story.
On September 29, 2012, I met the historian in Bologna. Right from the start, he clearly manifested his conviction regarding the irresolvable dissolution between text and image, as well as the discomfort that this exercise had caused him. He admitted that some of these images existed vaguely in his mind, but that he preferred to maintain them in a sort of permanent obscurity. He pointed out that by trying to evoke them, he would risk substituting them for the originals, which continue, in a certain way, to work inside him. This declaration, although negative, reminded me that the experiment was not as insane as all that.
The encounter in Bologna turned into a long conversation on the power of the image and the tension that exists in its relationship to the text. Little by little, almost without realizing it, Ginzburg started revealing several of these scenes that I was looking for. Starting with the description of a character of C’era una volta [Once upon a time], one of the first illustrated books that he had read during childhood and that had a big impact on him. He continued, evoking when Werner Herzog asked him to think about the actor that would play Menocchio in a possible adaptation of The Cheese and the Worms, after having spoken about the supposed relationship between the muscular character of Titian’s painting, Bacchus and Ariadne, and the representation of the Laocoon.
The conversation was recorded but the historian asked me not to render it public before he had had a chance to reread it. The mental images described by Ginzburg had given rise to the idea of sculpting each of them in bricks in order to then break them into fragments and create new organizations, thinking about this construction material as an element that was capable of constituting infinite structures which would be able to be Split up or replaced by any other one.
171 pieces of sculpted and molded bricks,
7 drawings made by Arthur Lien.
color pencil and marker on paper.
Produced by Fundación Botín.
XIX Visual Arts grant.
With the collaboration of Davide Zanutta and Aldo Colonnello. The assistance of Oscar Garduño, Ulises Figueroa and Alejandro Anguiano.