INCUBI et SUCCUBI – book signing

September 21 – h.19.00
s.t. foto libreria galleria - via degli ombrellari, 25 - Rome

Incubi et Succubi is the first solo book by the photographer Lele Saveri. Shot be­tween Europe and America, it is a collection of images that draws a path through religion, folklore, obsessions and phobias.

This visual tale combines ancient religious festivals in Sicily, haunted houses in Staten Island, different species of snakes in New Jersey, and the hidden catacombs in the Roman underworld.

The title refers to the Succubus figure that guides the viewer throughout the jour­ney, like in the mythological belief that the demons Incubus and Succubus appear in men and women’s dreams to seduce them—and then to take their souls.

Incubi et Succubi by Lele Saveri is published by Seems Books and edited by Serena Pezzato. The book cover is by Alessandro Maida. 86 pages, hardcover, matte text, B&W plus 8 full color spreads, limited edition 500 copies.

To present the book, Lele Saveri, together with the video-maker Giulia Maria Venturini, have produced a short film titled TO LIE UNDER, a homage to the avant-garde cinema of the 1930s, with original soundtrack by No Age. The short film will be projected during the book signing.


ON INCUBI et SUCCUBI

Photography was born to capture ghosts. I believe this to the extent that I decided to call my magazine Fantom. What appears in photographs is always something that isn’t there anymore and perhaps never was. What we see also points to that which is outside the frame and out of focus. Photography, from its very begin­ning, is also a ghost of itself: a mix of the truth, the fake, and the false. The last person to tell us about this kinship between photographs and phantoms was John Harvey, in his book Photography and Spirit. He writes: “The coming together of photography and spirit allied modern technology to ancient belief and apparatus to apparitions, reconciling reason to religion… They also united two expressions of faith: one in the existence of invisible realities, the other in the camera’s in­different eye and unerring ability to arrest the truth” (Reaktion Books, London, 2007). This is a theme that encompasses what I see in these photographs by Lele. Incubi et Succubi, is a trick with mirrors combining dreams and creativity, blend­ing staged images with snapshots, juxtaposing black and white with color, flash with natural light—all used interchangeably, when necessary. In the photographs, as in the dreams they recreate, there’s a careful incoherence, a free association of turmoils, surprises, sex, laughter, danger, fear, enigmas, exorcisms. The book—a psychodrama—instead finds coherence in themes and in emotions, in the sur­prising archaism of the figures that appear to him in dreams. The books is a reper­tory of archetypes, ancient ghosts with flowing gowns, atmospheres that, at times, reminds me of The Somnambulist by Ralph Gibson and, at times—the images of the infested houses of Staten Island—reminds me of Ted Serios’s “thoughto­graphs” in which he exposed the film with an obstructed lens, directly with his mind. It is often like that here: Incubi et Succubi “like the Veronica Veil and the Turin Shroud, were images made not by human hands, but by mysterious external forces” (Harvey again). And if it is true that the invisible becomes visible with the intent of changing our point of view, then it is also true that openly confronting our demons has the thaumaturgical power of making them vanish—at least until the following night.

Selva Barni, editor, Fantom – Photographic Quarterly

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All images: Courtesy Seems Books | Lele Saveri