One cannot truly understand the European culture without going to Switzerland. I've just realized how little did I understand myself. No Wagner, no Caspar David Friedrich, perhaps no Nietzsche. And significantly, I enumerate the ones closest to me since my beginnings. I didn't understand them, I disposed of no scale to comprehend them in due proportion. This missing standard resides outside culture, in the natural conditions. More obviously, I might expect that a live experience of the desert would help me to read old Arabic poets. But I missed this crucial point for Europe and its alpine heart. Yes, I had a kind of revelation, a mystic moment of rocks and water, that surprisingly brought me close to its opposite, the Nietzschean desert. I find no words to explain it here, essentially it was a moment of becoming one with, incarnating the strength of the torrent falling down into a gorge. There was death and desert, and yet life and superabundance of water, and unstoppable growth, expansion, exuberance: Stein knirscht an Stein, die Wüste schlingt und würgt. / Der ungeheure Tod blickt glühend braun / und kaut –, sein Leben ist sein Kaun... This is the secret of a masterpiece, or a fulfilled mind, "uncoopted by higher synthesis", as I read about it in Said's essay: things splitting apart, contradictory, and yet coincidental, and yet without coexistence. There is this sense of catastrophe, of "lost totality", that nonetheless remains splendidly complete, complex, tectonic. This is the key of being a European, as I see it, and when I see it from the perspective of the Desert - the only true counterpoint to Europe.
Observing myself, I can see how a kind of personal myth emerges, in the sense that Charles Mauron once gave to this expression. Certain symbolical themes not only become increasingly present, but also form specific networks that contextualize them and build up their idiosyncratic meanings. The Desert, the rock and the water mean more and differently in my own language than in the general one. On the other hand, the aspect I can never accentuate enough, the crucial secret, is the link between this symbolical process of creation and the immediacy, the materiality of the world. This is why since a long time I've been trying to document my latent, inner reality with a medium that might seem paradoxical in this context: photography. To show the palpable roots of a dream. But at the same time, I should say on the third hand, there is the link between elaborated symbolical systems such as literature, art or philosophy, and the sheer, naked life: matter, sensation and the emotional endowment in things. On one hand, on the other hand, on the third hand: all what I want to say is that there is a triadic structure of communicability: me, my predecessors, and the things.
What I try to show on the picture is the rock on which I try to build: concrete, material, observable roots of the metaphors and the recurrent themes that are "personal" in the sense of being idiosyncratic. And then, there is on one hand the idiosyncrasy of the inner reality and, on the other, the laborious search of communicability, that goes down to those observable, inter-subjective roots of experience. What I look for is not just reading, i.e. deciphering symbolical constructs in Nietzsche or in Caspar David Friedrich. I try to participate in their source experience, because this is how I expect to discover the utmost secret of their inscription. This is why I travel, just like Basho, to the shrines and certain pine trees described by ancient poets. I want to discover how the thing is made present in the work of art. In the Middle Ages, to understand a courtly rondel meant to discover the way how the poet inscribed in it the name of his Dame: my own name. I read Nietzsche and Friedrich exactly like this: I try to guess how did they manage to inscribe me, I seek my own reflection in their mirrors. Two at the same time: my experience and their mirrors, my cognition of myself, and finally, my own communicability. With them, and through them, to others that come after me. Mirrors reflecting mirrors? Not at all. Rather the experience that is communicated through absentminded subjects.
Some people believe, or it was fashionable to believe some years ago that the term "identity" is essential; that all humanities are about "identities". But of course this is an extremely naive view. This is an empty term. Even the personal mythologies à la Mauron don't constitute identities; they constitute communicabilities, languages, symbolical systems that surround a sphere of emptiness. Pessoa would be an excellent example, but by no means unique: at the empty center of creation there is a non-entity. Personal myths, if we want, but without an identifiable person. The creative I is only a pronoun used to design a mirror-like instance, a reflective surface. Isn't it like this that all pronouns work? They don't designate identities nor persons, only instances of discourse, roles, interrelated places that may be occupied by whoever.
Touching the humid rock over the waterfall, becoming one with its strength, I finally discovered what was missing: the longing for my own fulfilled self. I managed to anticipate it, to incarnate it, because I found all kinds of fulfilled selves in the predecessors. The example of Caspar David Friedrich offers me a glimpse, a premonition of myself as a fulfilled artist. I needed to see this image, at least in a glimpse, to love it and to long for it. I needed to taste how it is like. And here I am what they have been. Through the rock, I communicate not only with them, with what they have been, but more essentially, with what myself I am to become. As I see the water fall into the gorge, as I see the old poets and painters, I also see myself in my old age and in my late style, I anticipate my own tectonics and my own stage of unreconciledness and permanent catastrophe.