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Book of the Week: Tim Carpenter


Book Of The Week I wish the world was even Photographs by Matteo Di Giovanni Reviewed by Tim Carpenter Matteo Di Giovanni travels north by car, cutting Europe vertically, through the winter. To look at the world through the eyes of Matteo means, in the first place, to be always immersed in the landscape, and to see it flowing along the sides of the road.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=ZH958
I wish the world was even. By Matteo Di Giovanni.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=ZH958
I wish the world was even
Photographs by Matteo Di Giovanni

Artphilein Editions, Switzerland, 2019.
80 pp., 10½x8¾". In English.

“Everything relies in fighting that nothingness,” Matteo Di Giovanni writes in the spare, elliptical text that accompanies the pictures in his essential book I wish the world was even. Yes, and amen. “[O]ur worst fear,” as Robert Adams told us, is “the suspicion that life may be chaos and that therefore our suffering is without meaning.”

Like all of us in our various ways, Matteo has suffered. The great achievement of this book is in the way he has used his specific suffering to make sense of the world, and that he not only shares with us the made results (the photographs), but also the actual lived experience of the sense-making itself (the book as a whole).

“Flatness,” Matteo says of his personal desire for form, “Thinking of a flat world is such a childish idea.” One sees the point: perhaps it is indeed naïve to consider our existence as manageable in any way whatsoever; to wish the world was “even,” to make it play fair just for once. And yet: Matteo does master his world – however fleetingly – in these pictures, these fragments shored against his ruins. They are somehow both miraculous and inevitable.

The front part of that Adams quote above asks: “Why is Form beautiful?” and the answer is because it helps us meet that fear of the chaos, the nothingness. I wish the world was even does just that.

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I wish the world was even. By Matteo Di Giovanni.

I wish the world was even. By Matteo Di Giovanni.
 
Tim Carpenter is a photographer and writer who works in Brooklyn and central Illinois. His latest book Christmas Day, Bucks Pond Road will be published by The Ice Plant in September.

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