Today I repeated the word ‘wood’ to myself various time. The real truth passes through the woods (W.H.)
The human relationship with Nature is an approach to the Infinite, to the immensity that horrifies and attracts us at the same time. In the Critique of Judgement, Immanuel Kant explains the relationship with the hostile nature through the concept of the Sublime, which is intended as the feeling that arises in ourselves from something adverse and that the human being, in his finiteness, cannot control but to whom he feels strongly attracted and galvanized at the same time. Since the soul is at one time seduced and repulsed by nature, the pleasure of the Sublime is defined as a “negative pleasure”.
Nowadays we consider the wood as an uninhabited, barely outlined place. An unexplored space to be afraid of with its vegetation left to an uncontrolled growth. The wood has, in fact, a rich symbolic value: it is generally considered as the place of the non-culture and magic. A mysterious inhabited by witches, fairies and animals of all kinds. From the imaginary point of view one should bear in mind all the examples taken from literature and cinema. Intended as a sort of beyond in reference to the inside of a house, it is the Irrational, the eerie Outside itself that hides dangers and injustices, where runaways find refuge and the animals are left to their nature. […]
In this series of photographs we are drawn into the interior of forest places. At first glance they might appear as a reworking, a quote from German Romanticism, particularly the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, where the pure vision of nature puts in contrast its infinity and the finiteness of the human spectator. Beyond metaphysical matters, the research in Woodland finds its punctum in the problem of estrangement as far as vision is concerned, that gets dispersed in something difficult to understand (becoming impossibility, when related to the photographic medium, of representing and documenting a reality). […]
Read more about this project here.
Andrea Papi (1978) was born in Rome, where he lives and works.
all images and text © Andrea Papi