4’33ˮ is the title of a renowned three-movement composition by John Cage. While the audience may perceive it as four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence— since the musicians don’t play any of their instruments— the performance is actually made by all the sounds of the environments: the whispers, the tapping of fingers, the hum of the air conditioning, the moving of bags and limbs and chairs and clothes. Music as pure, essential sounds; music that quiets the mind.
Titling a photographic exhibition “Silenzio” (silence in Italian) may appear odd at first, maybe a little off. Nevertheless, we live in an age where images have become our shared language and most of the times are used to shout, to prevail, sometimes even to oppress; they are thought as disposable, ephemeral, they don’t linger as much as we scroll past them.
Paolo Roversi’s photographs, instead, are made of silence and secrets; they speak softly but firmly, inviting you to pause. The images in this exhibition are full of contradictions and evoke that very same spell that was so common in the dawn of photography, where these suspicious doubles of reality were looked with bewilderment and wonder. They are interludes of everyday life, cracks through which something otherworldly might gain access to the viewer’s subconscious— and they are meant to be that way. They are meant to be looked at, to puzzle and to fill you with doubts.
They require concentration and questioning, but they don’t force any meaning or interpretation. They are an open door, into a room made of silence.
CHIARA BARDELLI NONINO
Photographie : Luc Bertrand