CIRCUS 2 : Bianca Sforni visits Federico Fellini

Rosanna Albertini about

 BIANCA SFORNI, FEDERICO FELLINI and JEAN GENET

— LOVING THE CIRCUS AND ITS ILLUSION OF DEADLY RISKS THAT TURN RIGHT —

“On n’est pas artiste sans qu’un grand malheur s’en soit mêlé. De haine contre quel Dieu? Et pourquoi le vaincre?” (JEAN GENET) You won’t be an artist without the big danger which goes along with an artist’s life. Which God would you hate? And why should you defeat him? [her? it?]

An odd burden hangs over each artist, over each of us; it takes at least two forms: the one in the mirror, we fill it daily with imagined qualities. The other is the image of us in other peoples’ eyes, the one who dances in their minds. They are both images.

Their truth fades away like clouds, never stops changing. But we all strive to shape an imaginary “us” as if we were acrobats. A tightrope-walker feels like dying before he walks on the rope, not when he falls. As Genet said, he dies before appearing.

Paris, 1992. Bianca had prepared her meeting with Federico with the same anxiety of an acrobat before the show. Six months were consumed by waiting, asking for a day, a time. Letters and phone. It was the dawn of fax machines. E-mails only for scientists in research centers.

Rome, Summer 1993. At Fellini’s door, she rings the bell. It sounds like chirping birds. They were maybe in her mind. Her folder with new CIRCUS photos tight under her arm, she is on the rope. When Federico opens the door the windows of the wall behind him spread a sweet light, slightly golden, typical of the Roman afternoons. “Bianca, ma quanto sei piccola” -he exclaims. Piccola means young, in this case. “How young you are.” Not a giant, but Bianca isn’t short neither.

He had probably imagined a tough professional photographer at the top of her career, if she had dared to be in touch with him and more, to ask him to write a text about her images taken during Circus performances. In front of him was a dreamer, a young woman petrified by fear. They talked about cats and monkeys. A bunch of cats were at home in that room, one was striped. Federico looked at the photographs and said “Yes, I’ll do it.” And he did it for sure, from up there in the sky, throwing words among the falling leaves. October 31 he left the earth.

BIANCA SFORNI, Circus 2, 1992, Hand colored gelatin silver prints, 23 x 17.5 cm Courtesy of the artist

BIANCA SFORNI, Circus 2, 1992,   Hand colored gelatin silver print, 23 x 17.5 cm
Courtesy of the artist

BIANCA SFORNI, Circus 2, 1992   Hand colored gelatin silver prints, 17.5 x 23 cm Courtesy of the artist

BIANCA SFORNI, Circus 2, 1992    Hand colored gelatin silver print, 17.5 x 23 cm
Courtesy of the artist

BIANCA SFORNI, Circus 2, 1992   Hand colored gelatin silver prints, 23 x 17.5 cm Courtesy of the artist

BIANCA SFORNI, Circus 2, 1992    Hand colored gelatin silver print, 23 x 17.5 cm
Courtesy of the artist

BIANCA SFORNI, CIRCUS 2, 1992   Hand colored gelatin silver prints, 23 x 17.5 cm Courtesy of the artist

BIANCA SFORNI, Circus 2, 1992    Hand colored gelatin silver print, 23 x 17.5 cm
Courtesy of the artist

BIANCA SFORNI, Circus 2, 1992    Hand colored gelatin silver prints, 23 x 17.5 cm Courtesy of the artist

BIANCA SFORNI, Circus 2, 1992    Hand colored gelatin silver print, 23 x 17.5 cm
Courtesy of the artist

 

il faut aimer le Cirque et mépriser le monde. Une enorme bête, remontée des époques diluviennes, se pose pesamment sur les villes : on entre, et le monstre était plein de merveilles méchaniques et cruelles : des écuyères, des augustes, des lions et leur dompteur, un prestidigitateur, un jongleur, des trapézistes allemands, un cheval qui parle et qui compte, et toi.

Vous êtes les résidus d’un âge fabuleux. Vous revenez de très loin. Vos ancêtres mangeaient du verre pilé, du feu, il charmaient des serpents, des colombes, ils jonglaient avec des oeufs, ils faisaient converser un concile de chevaux.

Vous n’êtez pas prêts pour notre monde et sa logique. Il vous faut donc accepter cette misère: vivre la nuit de l’illusion de vos tours mortels. Le jour vous restez craintifs à la porte du cirque – n’osant entrer dans notre vie – trop fermement retenus par les pouvoirs du cirque qui sont les pouvoirs de la mort. Ne quittez jamais ce ventre énorme de la toile.    JEAN GENET