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Attilio Maranzano and  Serse’s visit to the Brion tomb, a monumental complex a few miles from Asolo, in the province of Treviso, built by Carlo Scarpa between 1969 and 1978, was the starting point for the project now presented at the Massimo Minini Gallery.

The tomb’s complex architectural make-up was the result of a lengthy process to which Carlo Scarpa devoted himself wholeheartedly, as his numerous preparatory drawings reveal. The minute detail, the solid spatial relations between the various structures, and the frequent symbolic references to eastern spirituality and western rationality were the result of numerous studies, which the architect intended to include in a book (unfortunately never published) that would have presented his rapid sketches and notes as well as the construction drawings of the work. Still bearing witness to his intentions is Memoriae Causa, a collection of photographs published by Valdonega, the inspiration and conceptual reference for ‘photographite’.

In the same spirit as the late 18th century romantic travellers, Maranzano and Serse paid several visits to the Brion tomb, fascinated by the opulence of the architecture, and eager to capture the aesthetic value and the cultural and human depth that the work encompasses. Their visits soon became a sort of pilgrimage during which the two artists tuned into the surrounding landscape, became part of the local community and frequented people always willing to stop and chat, and recount a tale or two.

Maranzano and Serse interpret – through photographs and drawings, respectively – the systematic intermingling of the interior and exterior of Scarpa’s work, capturing the whole spectrum of the beautiful and sublime it reflects, the indissoluble themes of conjugal and divine love, expressed by symbols such as linked rings and the sacred almond. Starting with pencilled notes on the architecture, the landscape and reflections in the water, they developed careful reflections, transforming the light of the sky into black lunar light, and conveying a metaphysical appearance to the architectural mass of concrete, marble, metal and glass. Slowly, following an unusual path and continuously re-elaborating their early sensations and notes, Maranzano came to take the photographs and Serse produced the final drawings on paper.

Thus, while Scarpa managed to play down the funereal concept and transport the sepulchral area into a “sweet idle city” or, more precisely – as Scarpa himself defines it – “a game, an Eden recovered”, Serse and Maranzano bring together light and shade, instead of opposing them, re-evoke Arnold Böcklin’s Island of the Dead, erase the distinction between dreams and the real world, and prevent similar works and similar sensations from disappearing into the mist of a freshly-painted landscape.