Ophelia (art) - digital painting of a doll by Barbara Agreste


Cyanide: running towards the void

My film Cyanide has had a peculiar beginning. It originated from a period of my life of extreme depression, and uncertainty, and it was an action I was performing every day that made me think about developing the more predominant images of this film.

I was cycling in the winter through a path covered in dead leaves. I found myself going many times back and forwards along the same path: the leaves had fallen over it from the trees that grew at its right side, and there were so many of them arranged in a rather ordinate way. They cached my eye many times, they nearly became a fixation to me: the vision of these leaves coming towards me and passing by, as I drove away, became very important.

They surely must have had a meaning which I could not grasp, but they were also nice to look at, and shiny. I could not find an answer to many of the questions about my life at that time, and usually, when things get so hard, I tend to turn to images for a possible explanation, or an answer; it might sound silly, but things, objects, images, places can talk to you, even if they do not communicate through spoken language, neither they are rational or clear, even if they only give you a hint, or a confused indication, they can help you to put the events you are experiencing in a different perspective.

I do not know today the meaning of those leaves, but looking at them was enough to make me develop Cyanide.

Maybe Cyanide is about the world that’s being poisoned, but there is more to it. It is about acknowledging death: observing up to nausea everything you do not understand, or that bit that puzzles your mind. Many leaves on the footpath may mean a repeating pattern, a recurring event, the same signification over and over through a crazy  journey. Once you have printed into your consciousness that particular shape you can start to remember about it in order to recognize it the next time it crosses your way. That is why the many leaves wouldn’t go away… Even if they are the supreme detached element, it is their image that would not really detach. A residual part of the dying thing had to stick to my head as departure and separation is always a painful experience. It is possible that the sticky image of whatever is “gone” is just an anchor, a secure place, for the stability of what stays close: that bit that cannot afford to go within the subject. There are no limits to what can go wrong, in fact in this video, as well as the many repeating patterns, occasionally other frightening elements appeared on my imaginary way: those red bones are reminiscent of previously consumed meals, crashed mirrors of impacts, and keys are the possibility of a way out. What is left within the self, together with all its impressions and images, is the way out to freedom. It is very hard to see freedom into such a dark and constrained scenery, with trashed particles, and that unbearable sense of claustrophobia, there is no clean rain here to clear dust from the mourning stage, and the rain is black and mean, in fact the last action does not suggest freedom at all, it rather looks more like a total eradication of the “walking being”, the viewer/author is pushed away together with the large amount of leaves, the search for a way out is only an imagined  possibility here, only a hope behind the door…

Pessimism in art is always an attempt to make viewers aware of the worst possible unfolding of the events.


Cyanide: correndo verso l’abisso

Cyanide non è soltanto un viaggio in un mondo avvelenato. E’ anche la rappresentazione di un luogo dove ossevo fino alla nausea delle forme che non capisco, o meglio delle forme che apparentemente capisco ma che sono lì per rivelare qualcos’altro di ignoto o imminenete. La ricorrenza dell’immagine delle foglie, tantissime foglie che continuano a venirmi incontro durante il cammino, mi fanno memorizzare un’impressione della loro luminosità e zona d’ombra così che quando apparirà nuovamente la riconoscerò. Anche se le foglie cadute e morte in questo video sono staccate e rappresentano tutto ciò che si può staccare da un corpo, sono li per continuare ad esistere e quindi a non affrancarsi mai completamente dalla memoria con la loro immagine. Esse sono un residuo di cio che nell’inconscio dell’osservatore non può mai andare via completamente bensì è li per fornire un indizio su dove i prossimi passi lo condurranno. In questo video si incontrano strani elementi, tutti indice di un possibile evento inaspettato, degli avvisi di pericolo sparsi sul sentiero. Un osso rosso che ricorda un pasto consumato, una chiave che apre uno spiraglio di speranza di uscire dal circolo vizioso, dei dadi che indicano che un numero è giusto però gli altri sono sbagliati, dei cavallini giocattolo di un luogo d’infanzia muto e dei frammenti di specchio come generati da un’esplosione ambivalente: tutta una serie di premonizioni su un sentiero che sembra percorrere sempre i suoi stessi canali, ma che alla fine trova l’osservatore trascinato e trascinante un vortice di natura priva di senso oltre che caduta dai rami. Il dado che mi viene incontro significa che sono io l’oggetto del gioco, e le scarpette rosse sono quelle che in realtà l’osservatore e l’autore stesso indossa: chi ha le scarpette rosse ai piedi non possiede piu’ il controllo di se stesso e degli eventi che accadranno, chi le indossa percorrerà il tunnel dell’ignoto e non potrà fare altro che osservare se stesso danzare freneticamente sotto la pioggia nera, quella che da il nome a questo video: “Cyanide”.






Leave a Reply

Join Barbara Agreste on Facebook
Dolls - Ophelia (art, paintings) series by Barbara Agreste