Single Channel Video | HD | Loop | B&W | 2018
San Nepomuceno was a city located on the west shore of the Ticino river. During a night
a guy fell down from the sky.
The film is composed by one long take, the final perfectly coincides with the beginning. You can loop it and make it infinite. The main reference for this artwork are the aphorisms of Emil Cioran and his works on the theme of suicide and antinatalism. The main character of SAN NEPOMUCENO, as a sort of Sisyphus, is forced into an infinite pattern birth-life-suicide-birth. The staging, cold, surgical, motionless, without editing cuts follows an anonymous guy and the flow of his life.
This artwork has been created during the artist-in-residence program AIR Ar.Vi.Ma.
SAN NEPOMUCENO is included in the Ar.Vi.Ma. Contemporary art collection at the Collegio Cairoli (Pavia, Italy).
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (USA)
Centro Galego de Artes da Imaxe, A Coruña (Spain)
Galleria Fraccaro, Collegio Cairoli, Pavia (Italy)
Text by Silvia Ferrari Lilienau
Translated by Flora Mary Falcone
SAN NEPOMUCENO is the last piece of a triad: the first video clip is SANTA TERESA, inspired by a fictional Mexican city based on Roberto Bolaño's novel 2666. The second piece is SANTA MARÍA, which draws inspiration from the homonymous city that Juan Carlo Onetti writes about, an imaginary hybrid between Buenos Aires and Montevideo.
SAN NEPOMUCENO is the dreamlike version of Pavia – signed Emanuele Dainotti. After delivering the atmosphere created by the two South American authors, he now portrays his own new feel, although it is once again inspired by a literary source: the Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran, and especially his aphorisms.
Dainotti's language is video art, it's rooted in writing and blooms growing into a sort of non-didascalic illustration.
It's as if he concentrated the essence of the texts he moves from within a few minutes, which could potentially be stretched in an infinite loop.
For love of reduction, he's become sensitive to condensing the deepest meaning into only a few words – like aphorisms.
Something formally minimalistic but conceptually very intense takes place in the frame of the shot: if you decided to unravel the idea, the result would be a written text.
There's a sort of circularity between the starting point – i.e. literature – and the resulting video. You can move and return from one to another, and the loop gives the video an ideal timespan typical of the "unfinished". When you can start again after the end, you can potentially read time backwards.
Emanuele Dainotti shifts from the three asynchronous shots in SANTA MARÍA, set in a slum in Montevideo, to a single shot sequence in which he – both director and performer – appears falling from above on the shore of the river Ticino, he gets up, smokes a cigarette, looks around, and falls back in the waters.
Nothing much happens, he appears and disappears. The frame is regular, the night is clear, but the entrance is a bold foreshortening accompanied by a distant scream, and the jump reduces the compositional weight of it all.
A double violation of the frame, first the introduction of a spurious element, man – as opposed to nature and the river's waters – and its quick subtraction to the scene. An irregular action compared to the precision of the perimeter, maybe.
Arrival and departure: an arrival like a fall that discloses, a departure like a fall that hides from sight. The brief stay acts like a moment of disorientation in between the brackets. With a severe and sharp visual code he refers to Cioran's thoughts on suicide.
John Nepomucene, a Bohemian preacher who was drowned at the behest of Wenceslaus, is in fact a saint of the waters, and a chapel dedicated to him sits right in the center of the Ponte Coperto in Pavia.
The concept of the saint becomes a metaphorical place, it broadens almost like a dome, like Piero della Francesca's Madonna of Mercy's cape, and like that of the Madonna's it takes the shape of renaissance ratio – even if it's just the idea of it.
Emanuele Dainotti's piece shows the finesse and concision of a sculptor's work. The latter is that to take away and define a shape, the former to reduce the rhetoric of narration.
SAN NEPOMUCENO is an ultimate synthesis which grants no space to ornament, as if the artist ripped himself of any aesthetic vanity and turned the image into a moment for reflection, not the main purpose.