Rêves – Coullaud&Koulinsky Paris


Alessio’s dreams

Can the works that Alessio Delfino presents as an expressive characteristic of his ‘dreams’, through the series of his latest photographs, be related to the oneiric somatic sources, those that Freud calls hypnagogic? The answer is both yes and no based on what the artist states with respect to the ability to memorise, even visually, the smallest details of objects in a state of souplesse, while, having to pay vigilant attention to physiognomies, such precision of detail spills over into a perception that is sometimes indistinct and ill fitting.

Similar to the observations on the aetiology of dreams by the father of psychoanalysis, the rêvées images by Delfino blend into “a multiplicity of objects that are similar or completely identical”(1), but, on the contrary, instead of being concerned with interior sensorial stimuli in a state of relaxation, they focus on the attentive and objective intentionality of wakefulness.

These are more akin to daydreams that seek an explanation from the ‘night’ of Mnemosyne than the hermeneutic analysis of her daytime after-effects upon reawakening.

In any event, the small-sized compositions seem to utilise the same rhetorical ingredients that can be found in the unconscious oneiric work. In any case, they are concretions of corporal postures – the artist always interacts with nude models, with a preference for women – joined together based on a selection of different movements that he extrapolates, using digital instruments, from sets of poses consisting almost always of more than one hundred shots in each work session with each subject.

Each snapshot represents a position of the model’s body that basically acts like the starting theme of the ‘dream’, which will become a definitive image while ‘condensing’ the various other moments of its position, that has moved according to the artist’s directions, into a «collective person»(2). Like the conductor of an orchestra, he defines the motor sequence according to a definite path, following and freezing it, point by point, through the camera in successive instants.

From this material, Delfino reaches the final structure of the ‘dream’, choosing the dynamic combinations that most closely match his expressive idea, ‘harmoniously’ recomposing the various figures into an unexpected or unique group or assembly ‘drawing’.

Even the use of cotton paper, to print the photographs, helps to make the profiles of the figurative allotrope seem as if they were traced with a pencil or pastel, and so much so that the imaginary construct seems to fade away toward the opaque hues of the background almost as if to highlight the uncertain and mysterious consistency, owing to the vigilant evocation, of the paths of the oneiric logic.

Even temporally, the constructive dynamic put into effect by the artist is inherent to the discontinuous action of the dream intent on interlinking the different situations. In fact, each reconstituted figure ‘consolidates’ in itself, in the hic et nunc of the definitive and unique artifactual resultant to be displayed, different instants of time, i.e. partial moments of life that can still be identified, within the final amalgam that historically conforms them to the artist’s poietic decision, only after an attentive and accurate analysis.

The “rebus” effect, that permeates this series of photographs, can be found instead in the difficulties, in most cases, of ‘morphologically’ positioning, in a contextual manner with the originating ‘bodies’, significant anatomical parts (buttocks, breasts, genitals and limbs), by now fluctuating as important unrelated items in the mutual orgiastic inherency with each possible skin surface.

To psychoanalyse Delfino, it follows that the metaphorical nature of the condensation, that he proffers to the spectator, like an allusion, behind the mirror, must be linked to the infant’s total desire to merge with the body of the mother.

Allowing this easy approach to continue, the real message of the artist could then be considered to reside in the allusion, by translation, to the fetish nature of the work, through which the polymorphous infantile perversity finally finds a socially ‘presentable’ direction.

This interplay, which is even fun if practiced on the surface, cannot be completed, however, because it is the details, apparently marginal to the anatomic parts related to the insistence of desire, that help to understand that a movement can in fact be noted thanks to such details.

And so these metonymic components, while they provide references through the visual synecdoche in which they are introduced to satisfy the artist’s desire to reconstruct the body of his model, provide proof, on the contrary, that this is a secondary objective with respect to his real intentions.

Alessio’s dreams, through the bizarre corporal architectures with which they are presented, are in reality metaphorical exercises or figurative expedients that provide us with information about the physical substance of the work (of art).

This physicality (or ‘skeleton’) of the work is allegorically suggested through the formal reorganisation of the kinetic continuity of the nude body of the models, carried out by ‘baring all’ and underscoring the fact that it consists of the two fundamental tropes of the metaphor and the metonymy.

In addition to the paradigmatic value for the language of the unconscious, that even Lacan on the trail of Freud took up again to illustrate the peregrinations of desire, metaphor and metonymy have always been the framework of the ‘linguistic’ accoutrements with which the artistic expression has supported imagination in its efforts to coalesce into a definitive form.

Now, with the manneristic deviation of the Conceptual, widespread during the Post-Modern period, contemporary art seems, owing to the persistence of appropriation and citation, to have taken leave of the instance of creation of a new imaginary sense, limiting itself to a ‘sensible’ illustration of reality in which minimalism and emphasis, understatement and shouted expression co-exist; in other words a resurgence of a neo-Baroque rhetoric of form and content.

Alessio Delfino’s aesthetic proposal would seem to move in the opposite direction of this main current of tiresome ‘repeaters’ of the existing, and his ‘dreams’ allude to a possible horizon of what are certainly ‘metaphysical’ meanings.



1)     S. Freud, Opere, vol. III, Italian translation by C. Musatti, Turin, Boringhieri, pg. 38.

2)     Ibid. pg. 273.



GianCarlo Pagliasso


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