Bartolomeo Celestino and The Unattainable Surface of Things
- Valeria Giampietro
‘Seriality,’ as a leitmotif and a reason to create… or believe. Conceptual visual artist and photographer Bartolomeo Celestino chooses the notion of seriality in order to portray the pre-definite and unalterable rhythm of the terrestrial dimension. The sea, symbol of grandeur and recurrent theme of his work, conjures up several key elements that lie at the heart of Celestino’s aesthetics: life–death–eternity–solitude–pain–beauty. Each one of these elements becomes, not incidentally, subject and inherent message of Surface Phenomena, Celestino’s first photographic essay designed by Narelle Brewer and published by Perimeter Editions in Melbourne.
For this photographic project, Bartolomeo Celestino chose a very specific location, Bronte Beach in the eastern suburbs of Sydney in Australia, and there he returned, year after year, to observe and record the arcane, swirling yet entrancing movements of the sea from the top of a cliff. Against the utter minimalism and essentiality of an idea, however, Celestino contraposes the hypothesis of multiplicity and heterogeneity that hides behind (or beyond) the sea surface and, by extension, behind the existential cycle of life. The attentiveness and constancy with which he carries out his artistic research becomes, furthermore, an emblematic feature of a photographic volume that is more prone to insist on a fundamental aspect of the terrestrial dimension we inhabit: beyond the phenomenal surface of things there is always a cyclical, uncontrollable movement that is invisible to the human eye.
Only if we embrace vastness, Celestino seems to suggest, we can reach higher levels of knowledge. The sea surface may appear to us as infinite as calm and undisturbed. But only if we look beyond this majestic body of salt water, he implies, we can perceive the world as it really is: unlimited and inscrutable.