alessio delfino


The works that Alessio Delfino proposes to us as an expressive figure of his ‘dreams’, through the series of his latest photographs, can be referred to the scope of the dream somatic sources, those that Freud calls hypnagogical? To some extent yes and no, to want to understand what the artist says about the ability to store, even visually, the smallest details of the objects in the state of souplessewhile, having to keep a vigilant attention to the features, this precision of detail is eroded into a perception sometimes indistinct and little cluttered.

Similar to the observations on the etiology of the dream by the father of psychoanalysis, Delfino’s rêvées images merge into “multiple similar or completely identical objects”(1), but otherwise do not concern internal sensory stimuli in a state of relaxation but the careful and objective intention of the wake.

They are more daydreams questioning the ‘night’ of Mnemosine instead of sounding the hermeneutic of its diurnal aftermath upon awakening.

However, the compositions, of small format, seem to activate the same rhetorical ingredients found in the unconscious dream work. Meanwhile, they are concretions of bodily postures – the artist in teragisce always with nude models, preferably female figures – united together on the basis of a selection of different movements that he extracts, thanks to digital instrumentation, from samples of poses almost always exceeding one hundred shots in each work session with each subject.

Each single shot depicts a position of the body of the model, which essentially works as the starting theme of the ‘dream’, which will conform in the final image ‘condensing’ in a «collective person»(2) several other moments of its position differently according to the indications of the artist. Like a conductor, he articulates the motor sequence according to a defined path, following it and fixing it, station by station, through the camera in successive snapshots.

From this material, Delfino comes to the final structure of the ‘dream’, choosing the plastic combinations that best suit his idea of expression and making a ‘harmonious’ recomposition of the various figures in a complex or ‘drawing’ of unexpected and singular set.

The use of cotton paper to print photos also contributes to making the contours of the figurative allotrope as if they were drawn in pencil or pastel, So much so that the imaginary construct seems to fade towards the opaque shades of the background as if to make evident the uncertain and mysterious texture, for the vigilant mending, of the paths of the dream logic precisely.

Even temporally, the constructive dynamic put in place by the artist is inherent in the discontinuous work of the dream in linking situations. In fact, every reconstituted figure ‘merges’ in itself, in the hic et nunc of the resulting definitive and unique artifact to be exposed, different temporal scans, partial moments of life that appear still identifiable, within the ultimate amalgam that historically conforms them to the poietic decision of the author, only after careful and accurate analysis.

The “rebus” effect, which circulates within this series of photographs, instead resides in the difficulty in many cases to place ‘morphologically’, that is, contextually to the ‘bodies’ of belonging, significant anatomical parts (buttocks, breasts, sex and limbs), fluctuating now as signifiers ensnared in the orgiastic reciprocal inertia to any possible epidermal surface.

Wanting to psychoanalyze the Delfino himself, it is consequential to link the metaphoricity of condensation, which proposes to the viewer, as an allusion, behind the mirror, to the infant’s desire for total fusion with the mother’s body.

By continuing this easy approach, the true message of the artist could then lie in the allusion, by translation, to the fetish character of the work, through which the polymorphic child perversity finally finds a socially ‘presentable’ address.

The china of this game, even fun if practiced on the surface, can not be traveled all the way, however, because precisely the details, seemingly marginal of the anatomical parts connected with the insistence of desire, make us aware that a movement action is just noticeable compared to the latter.

Here then these metonymic components, while referencing through the visual synecdotes in which they are embedded in favor of the artist’s willingness to rebuild the body of his model, On the contrary, they testify that this is a secondary objective compared to its real intentions.

Alessio’s ‘dreams’, through the bizarre bodily architectures with which they are presented, are actually metaphorical exercises or figurative devices to talk about the physical substance of the work (of art).

This physicality (or ‘skeleton’) of the work is allegorically suggested through the formal remodulation of the kinetic continuity of the naked body of the models, carried out by emphasizing and ‘exposing’ which is composed of the two basic tropes of metaphor and metonymy.

In addition to the paradigmatic value for the grammar of the unconscious, which also Lacan on the trail of Freud has taken to illustrate the wanderings of desire, metaphor and metonymy have always been the backbone of the paraphernalia ‘linguistic’ with which artistic expression has given support to the imagination in its effort to materialize in shell form.

Now, with the Mannerist drift of Conceptual, as it was during Postmodern, contemporary art seems, because of the prevailing appropriation and quotation, to have taken leave of the instance of creation of new imaginary sense, limiting itself to a ‘sensible’ illustration of reality, in which minimalism and emphasis coexist, understatement and shouted expression, in short, the resurgence of a neo-baroque rhetoric of form and content.

Alessio Delfino’s aesthetic proposal seems to go in the opposite direction to this majority current of cloying ‘repeaters’ of the existing, his ‘dreams’ allude to a possible horizon of meanings certainly ‘metaphysical’.

GianCarlo Pagliasso


  • Freud, Opere, vol.III, tr. it. a cura di C.Musatti, Torino, Boringhieri, p.38.
  • p.273.