Start of work: 1999
Francesco Pignatelli dreams with his eyes wide open.
When he looks in a mirror,
he sees stars and galaxies.
He is inventing me, writing this.
"I approached these photographs in the firm belief that I could fully comprehend their obscurest secrets, discover their mystery, reveal their background and manage to fathom the deepest ones. Each encounter, I said to myself, like this one with photography, always leads somewhere. Then I changed my tune: all that space and all those suspended things had somehow immobilized me.
So I thought of Joyce and I thought of total silence, of nothing, of writing for the cinema, film scripts, symbolism, Duchamp, the poetry of Duane Michals and the dramatic force of Robert Frank and I discovered that Francesco Pignatelli is a photographer of the imagination. His stories and sequences are anything but a pretext for recounting something else. The message blends with the contents and there is no possibility of separating the picture from its context. This keeping things together without revealing anything reminded me of J. Rodolfo Wilcock, who, in his introduction to M.P. Shiel's book "The Purple Cloud" wrote: "Just as the evolution of language leads to the elimination of communication, the evolution of literature always leads to the author making closet contact with himself. In other words, he writes for himself...".
I am not sure that Francesco has created these pictures just for himself. If this were the case, I would be delighted. What I am quite sure of, however, is that Francesco immediately appeared to me to be both destabilizing and enormously and consciously dissociated. Marginal in his centrality, he is anarchical in his capacity for planning. In his photography there is a way of seeing and presenting things that seems to be impromptu. The appearance of coolness is continuously being dragged along so that things heat up by friction.
In these brief scenes, in these short stories told through pictures, one finally senses the depth of silence that, by its very nature, belongs only to photography."
From the essay by Denis Curti. Milano, 2001