Goethe-Institut & Fondazione Carige, Genova, Italy, 2005

Magnificence and Luminescence behind Gates

 

Genua is a city whose numerous narrow, centuries-old alleys with houses wind themselves alongside the hills. On summer days, the heat and humidity are captured here. Sometimes, there is a light breeze and I try to dry my wet forehead by turning my head to put together a clear thought.

 

I did not come to this city from the harbor or the open sea. My first impressions were from the air. From a taxi into the city - over mountain roads similar to those where I live - through tunnels which they would like to build back home – I landed directly next to the Via Garibaldi.

 

Many different ideas drove me into different corners of the city. Some of them I wanted to tackle, but all of a sudden I was captured by this city and my commission. My profession held me tightly between the palace walls – into a city, into another time and into the buildings whose thick gates seemed to block me from entering.

 

In the broad streets of the Via Garibaldi and Via Balbi, it was a different type of confinement. The mighty palaces bore witness to power and wealth, stood in a straight row and stretched their thick walls toward me. I went through the large gates and any thoughts I had of narrow depressing alleys between high walls all vanished. It was as if I were stepping into an ethereal lightness. Stepping through these courtyards, flights of stairways and galleries was similar to drifting into a magnificent and affluent past.

 

Glaring sunlight, shadows between the arches and columns, a light breeze and thick walls that defend against the heat - voices died away to a broad mumbling in the courtyards. Old doors fell into their well-oiled locks. Gates spiked with defensive points did allow entry to the visitor.  Behind many a door shone the magnificent and light worlds of palaces from another time.

 

Often, a friendly porter would nod in response to my questioning and bobbing photography movements, and I could thankfully invite these palaces to dance with my camera.

 

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