DANTE – L’ENFER, talking about it

Chant XXI

Paper engraved and dry paste, 40 x 30 cm

Photo by Hada Ra

Release on march 21, 2024

Illustration of the XXXIV chants by Pascal Pistacio
Translation Emmanuel Tugny

Ardavena éditions (Collection Les Cahiers d’or)

Works by Pascal Pistacio

Et s’il vous plait de pousser plus avant,
Montez jusqu’à cette grotte : on y trouve
Une autre roche qui livre chemin.
(Traduction Emmanuel Tugny)

(And please to push further,

Climb up to this cave, where you’ll find

Another rock that leads the way.)

Which path is it? Where does it lead?
So we assume that the XXI chant is a kind of trigger, a starting point for the art to which this path leads.

The question of support for this has been clarified. It is a cave and a rock, and thus the rock art to which Dante refers.

Paper will be Pascal Pistacio’s creative material in order to create a space of representation, a projection of Dante’s story into another dimension.

He will incise the paper with a “firm and gentle” gesture, as he would on the wall of a cave, the very gesture of the sculptor as he develops it in his usual artistic practice.

“I sculpt blindly,” he explains, until the drawing appears, revealing unexpected shapes. This combination of material and random gesture makes it possible to render “the movement in the fixity that is the object of art” according to Claudel.

The omnipresent movement that animates the figures in rock art and gives them a particular relief.

Such is the case with the abundant forms present in Pascal Pistacio’s etched papers.

They fall, sliding down in a downward movement that echoes Dante’s infernal journey.

The use of dry pastel applied to the paper with a finger produces highly sensual chromatic effects that echo Dante’s pictorial narrative.

Just as the fragility and vulnerability of the human figure is the subject of Pascal Pistacio’s sculptural work. In this series of engravings, he confronts us with the human soul, its torments, the human experience at its most violent, cruel and inhuman.

But art means that “beauty and vibrancy are the only things that count”, he adds. Art, for Baudelaire, is the escape from hell and evil, the gateway to the infinite through beauty.

Amélie Pironneau
Art historian
Exhibition curator