[HORTUS CONCLUSUS – THE SECRET GARDEN]
PHOTOGRAPHY | CREATIVE CONCEPT | PROJECT
I’ll let you in on three little secrets…
First of all, as an architect, I am well aware of the fact that, for some of my peers, gardens are mere appendices. It’s one of the reasons why, in the past decade or so, we got used to throw-in a tree (or a proto-forest) into any “image synthesis” just for contextual purposes, while in fact focusing on parking lots and construction permits. Our nonchalance stems from our virtual abandonment of “cathedral thinking”: we only seem to care about the immediate gratification afforded by what can be built within months. Let the future beautify itself! Even a bona fide “landscape architect” will admit that whatever grows faster is better for the client. After all, a tree is just a tree – simply uttering the word will conjure up the correct botanical image in one’s head, right? There are no interpretations when it comes to a sapling – they all look the same, don’t they? And since we can render them multiplied, they are all the same, correct?
I’ll share another trade secret with you: for most contemporary photographers, gardens are pure catnip. This is not thanks to their geometry or scented color(s), but because they can be converted into Insta-clickbaits. It’s the slaying of obscurity committed by compulsive repetition: we can deliver one tree after the other cloaked in just a couple of filters, and our daily feed is done – and then you know what a garden is, right? And how organic is to trap that seemingly perfect lowlight and those nondegradable symmetries within a frame– they all reflect your very soul, don’t they? And let’s not even start talking about potential wedding setups… some of you click on those ones a little to often, correct?
There is a final secret that I want you to embrace. It’s about my B&W trees and waterfalls, enclosed in a garden that counterclocks all of the above. Well, most of the above. It rests upon a tradition that transcends centuries of spiritual quests [shall we start with King Solomon, “Song of Songs” (4:12)?] and architectural hankerings [when Carlo Scarpa comes to my mind]. It caters to cravings for meticulous luxury: you are safe, you are in balance, you are in love – and the safety, the balance and the love are not as seasonal as either the foliage or your forbearance. It isn’t about what you recognize. It’s only about what you beautify. Hence, no open skies, so don’t hunt for those… It is, for others have built it before I did, Hortus Conclusus.
…and a question.
What happens when some people can see different things in ordinary images and what happens further more, when the author deliberately present an image that should have different interpretations? The Hortus Conclusus project is one of these examples, a project that defines somehow things that I see and love in a world beyond imaginary, in a world of my dreams. My enclosed garden hides itself in a sensitive approach to the world of imaginary, when some forms can determine different interpretation, generating unique images, from birds to fairy dragons… after all a way of interpreting and recomposing a certain image or detail. Beyond medieval representations and holistic interpretations, Hortus Conclusus or the Secret Garden remains a conceptual reference, a metaphor of the heavenly paradise, a Garden of Eden, maybe like the one from Bosch painting, yet meant to be discovered. And yes, you’ll also see flying witches and fairy dragons… but maybe, you’ll see even more.