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Tales of Mayim

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Gallery of pure photography, without modifications.
Printing is limited to 7 copies IN ALL, mainly in size 100x66 cm mounted on Dibond with Plexigass in front.

The photos of this section have been obtained by photographing the reflections of the sun light on the water of rivers and streams that run over rocks coloured by Nature. I choose inclination of the lens and such times of the shutter so as to obtain bright traces. The original photos are all on reversible film, and no manipulation of the form of the “writing of light” has been carried out.

A work begins to speak to us through an emotion that words can not express, but who wants to know the mind of the Author can read the text that follows.


In the beginning God created not only the Sky and the Earth, but also the Water.
In the beginning he created Mayim, the primordial water (Genesis ,I.1).

Only afterwards came the first day, on which He created light.
And this child, the Light, that had just been created, played with the water, running and darting, writing and drawing as it reflected itself.

In these pictures there are water, solar energy and rock/dust. From this the life was born, unto us who have a body fit to contain spirit and conscience to look into the water beholding beauty and reminders.
Beauty and reminders that lead us to the Creator.

With photography, which more than any other art can link logic and imagination, observation and contemplation, reality and creativity,
we can today transform into images what we can see and hear in those waters.

These works wish to be a reminder, a tribute but above all the return to that first meeting,
and so from the great Creation of water many other miraculous creations are born,
namely ” Ours”.

Maybe not.
Maybe it's Mayim that in front of innocent photographers, jokes playing with her little sister: the light.


Gigliola Foschi - Carlo Delli  The Tales of Mayîm

The beauty of creation is not an attribute of matter in itself: it is a relationship between the world and our sensibility (…) something beautiful doesn't contain any goodness outside of itself, of its entirety, as it appears to us. We go towards it without knowing what we will ask of it and it offers us its own existance.
Freely translated from Simone Weil,  Waiting for God

Perhaps the earth doesn't know it but it needs to be recounted; it needs someone to meet it and to sing it with words or images. “The earth doesn't have a mirror, we have to be the mirror for it,” wrote the philosopher Duccio Demetrio. Carlo Delli is fully aware of this: this is why his work goes beyond discourses to defend nature – the ones usually used by ecologists – and is transformed into a spiritual impulse, into a poetic feeling. In fact the earth doesn't deserve to be treated and examined as an abstraction or to be represented as a wounded body to be cured and protected. Instead the earth asks us to listen to its visual and explicit appeals as well as the buried, hidden and apparently insignificant ones; it asks us to suffer for the wounds that we inflict on it but also to allow ourselves to be enchanted by its beauty; to be aware that the holy language of the sky is bonded with that of the earth because the “home of the sky” is also down here, among the ears of wheat, the brooks, the tufts of wild grasses.
As a naturalist photographer close to the spirit that guided the great Ansel Adams, Carlo Delli writes, “God is not only heard or seen in church, God is also and especially seen in Nature. It is difficult to doubt that the Universe and our planet's Nature are the work of a supreme and single Being.” Only if nourished by a feeling of cosmic belonging and religiosity with regard to Nature, can mankind narrate the earth without being limited to its representation. Only in this way can mankind create art works that channel the mystery of being and bring out something that is not conductible to the certainties of thought.
Therefore it is no happenstance that Delli titles his new series of photographs The Tales of Mayîm. In fact in the opening verses of the Genesis it is written, “In the Beginning God created the skies and the earth. The earth was empty and without form, darkness covered the countenance of the abyss and the Spirit of the Lord soared over the surface of the waters (in Hebrew: mayîm).  God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. God saw that the light was good and he separated it from the dark.”  Light, created before the division between the “expanse” of the sky and the “dryness” of the land therefore played with the water (mayîm)  and it was reflected there as it ran, splashing but also writing and drawings, writes the artist.
Therefore Delli's photographs want to celebrate the greatness of God, creator of heaven and earth. At the same time he wants to create almost a new canticle of that first meeting between light and waters newly freed from their blanket of darkness. Differently, however, from the great Romantic artists of northern Europe, Delli is far from the expression of the natural sublime that can be found in their art works. Of course it is fundamental for him, also, to express the experience of the spirit and of transcendence via nature taken as a manifestation of God. But Delli doesn't juxtapose the individual's fragility to the overwhelming immensity and  grandiosity of the universe, nor does he create mysterious atmospheres that suggest an other-worldly dimension (as seen in the works of such masters as Friedrich or Turner). He chooses not to turn his gaze towards the infinite sky but rather looks right down to the ground, almost grazing it. An earth that has been watered, bathed by brooks and by light. It is a light – as Dante described it in his Paradise – that is married to happiness and not to the disquieting melancholy of the Romantic artists. In Delli's images we feel joy, the rejoicing of the magical and unstable meeting between light and water. We intuit his ability to commune with and to second the changes of brook water's flowing between rough and smoothed stones.  For Delli, feeling the religiosity of the earth means to use a gaze that is willing to pose in wonder on every tiny thing in nature. Every thing that can be observed up close, trodden, touched. This is a gaze that stops looking upwards or enclosing its range in a reassuring space where it only encounters what it knows already. It is a way of looking that is able to leave the dark and guilty disenchantment of nowadays to open itself towards the infinite terrestrial spells, the enigma of being.

“We can never be quite strangers or inferiors in nature. It is flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone,” stated the American philosopher Ralph W. Emerson in the mid-nineteenth century.  And, in full agreement with that feeling, Carlo Delli gets down close to the earth – not just to see it – but to live it, to listen to its breath. So the artist walks alone through the landscape searching for silence until he finds a state of grace that can open his eyes, too often veiled and resistant to the beauty that nature offers us even through a single ray of light that flickers on a brook. Looking is not seeing. In order for looking to change into seeing, the philosopher Silvano Petrosino has written, it is necessary for “the act of gathering to be exercised according to the order of receiving.”  The vision must be supported by an attitude of care, by a gaze that is willing to welcome and safeguard. Thanks to Delli's way of seeing, which is capable of wonder and care for his images, there is no need here for tricks, alterations or manipulations. The images' highly vital magic originates strictly from his silent encounter with the beauty of nature, from his ability to capture the fleeting flicker of light as it dances on creek water creating bright graffiti similar to diaphanous letters of unknown alphabets, flights of invisible butterflies, notes from a nonexistent musical score. Thus his images originating from a simple and direct extraction of reality escape the banal logic of a flat representation of nature. Rather they become a mimesis of silences rather than of forms, they recall more strongly what is invisible rather than what can be seen. They become alchemy; they transform the body of nature into the living language of poetry. In this way photography becomes a path of love towards new finding, a new feeling of empathy.

Gigliola Foschi, Milan, February 2014

Professor of the History of Photography at the Italian Institute for Photography,
member of the MIA fair committee (Milano Image Art fair).

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