ELENA DAMIANI

 

 

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By definition a palimpsest is a manuscript from a scroll or a book in which text has been scraped off in order to be reused and written on later. It also refers to a plaque, which has been turned around and engraved on what was originally the back. This term has come to be used in several disciplines such us literature, history, architecture and archaeology. The idea of taking an original text and rewriting on top of it could be comparable to similar actions that take place within any contemporary cityscape. Architects use the palimpsest conception to define an image of what once was, comparing constructions and vestiges of previous edifications to ghosts or prevailing shadows that reveal traces of a built past.

In Present Pasts, Andreas Huyssen describes how people require memory discourses in order to comprehend the core structure of the world that surrounds them.  Here, Huyssen explains how urban palimpsests permit us to read a city in historical, inter-textual, constructive and destructive manners.

 

Palimpsests I


Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture
The Architects Collaborative. Collage. 2010
Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture
Dislocations Tav XIII. Collage. 2010
Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture
Towards The West. Collage. 2010
Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture
The Fallen Tav VIII. Collage. 2010
Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture
The Past is a Foreign Country I. Collage. 2010
Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture
Dislocations Tav IX. Collage. 2010
Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture
Lit Objects in The Black Desert, Nowhere. Collage. 2010
elena damiani collages ruins palimpsests architecture
The Sky is Falling, Nowhere. Collage. 2010
elena damiani collages ruins palimpsests architecture
Remnants Tav. V. Collage. 2010
elena damiani collages ruins palimpsests architecture
Strata Tav. III. Collage 2010
elena damiani collages ruins palimpsests architecture
The Changing Image of the City. Collage. 2010
elena damiani collages ruins palimpsests architecture
Partially Burried Sentinel. Collage. 2010
elena damiani collages ruins palimpsests architecture
Road to Mount V. Collage. 2010
elena damiani collages ruins art goldsmiths architecture
Tessellations I. Collage. 2010

 

Palimpsests I and II, is series of collages where diverse architectural and natural elements are merged together giving place to scenarios where all historical times and locations are flattened to a single layer. In these depictions, elements such as ancient ruins, minerals, geological formations and modernist architectures compose a collection of scenes that could appear both as retrospective and prospective visions of the landscape. It is within these disrupted and desolated territories where each construction looses its own geographical locality and place in time, becoming part of an archive that records a fabricated time.

The majority of the images employed for the elaboration of these collages were taken from found second-hand books; and others are photographs of the Natural History Museum’s minerals collection reproduced on the backside of found antique prints. As palimpsests the found material was altered in order to be recomposed into new bookplates were some of the original content - such as headers, titles and page numbers - remain as hints of their previous sources. The juxtaposition of imagery of different sources is clearly identifiable in some of the collages, whereas in others the different elements blend harmoniously in a layered composition that appears closer to reality.

 


Palimpsests II


Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture

Pillars under no shed, on an entropic site. Collage. 2010

Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture

The Hexahedron Sentinel. Collage. 2010

Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture

Study for a Symmetrical Dichotomy. Collage. 2010

Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture

Trenches, on a parched site. Collage. 2010

Elena Damiani art collage ruins architecture

The Past is a Foreign Country II. Collage. 2010