“A picture is not to be understood, but only observed,
open-mouthed, eschewing all intellectual effort” (SANDOR MARÁI)
Hidden in the sun-drenched, windswept landscapes of the island the Greeks called Ichnusa, which they saw as shaped like a human foot, among the wild thistles, patches of mastic and the powerfully scented helichrysum there are ancient, mostly abandoned, priories, monasteries and isolated churches. These are buildings that have been given the names of saints and were once part of human settlements that are now empty of men and their very remoteness is part of their captivating mystery. They are positive miracles of stonework, whose exceptional beauty makes them symbols of the land’s inherent sacredness.
This is the little-known Sardinia, far from the turquoise sea, where Giancarlo Pradelli finds his inspiration as he journeys off the beaten track. His eye does not dwell on the grand buildings on which the various cultures that flourished on the island left their mark, preferring to concentrate on more humble edifices made in different styles and plain, unassuming country churches, sturdily built by local labourers to withstand the strong winds and harsh Mediterranean climate. These have now often been reduced by the elements to ruins whose collapsed walls are pale reminders of the original architecture and have turned into wholly new structures with a charm of their own that are destined inexorably to continue their silent mutation.
Giancarlo Pradelli spent a number of years teaching photography before moving to the United States, where he perfected his black and white and portrait photography techniques. He has long concentrated on photographing architecture and landscapes, with a particular interest in ruins engulfed by nature. 5 Continents Editions has published his Eolie (2005), Pierluigi Ghianda (2006), and Home (2012). His photographs are present in several public collections, including Modena’s Galleria Civica; Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione, in the University of Parma; and Bibliothèque Nationale de France, in Paris.
Elisabetta Bazzani is an art historian specialising in ancient textiles. She worked for the Region of Emilia-Romagna’s Insititute of Artistic, Cultural and Natural Heritage (IBC) before teaching in the A. Venturi State Institute of Art, in Modena. She has co-authored numerous textile exhibition catalogues, and writes for the Turin magazine L’Indice, and in Jacquard, published by the Lisio Foundation, in Florence.