friendship with Fabio De Sanctis dates back to more than
thirty years ago. In December 1965 I visited the Paris International
Exhibition of Surrealism, to which Fabio had been invited.
The show, the last which André Breton conceived, was indeed
his spiritual testament and was very properly titled L'Écart
absolu. The title came from a sentence written by the XIX
utopian philosopher Charles Fourier and aimed at stressing
the extreme distance and the insurmountable distance separating
the Surrealist vision of life and art from the common one.
Since then I have been passionately following De Sanctis'
complex, labyrinthal and multimedial itinerary. Any path
he starts seem to me an example of the conscious fancy with
which he answers the need of the "extreme difference" extolled
Surrealists like Fabio, that means a statement of faith
in women, poetry and revolution, and, as far as the creative
process is concerned, a systematic resort to the psychological
automatism, to chance, to the conjugations of opposites
and the so called irrational.
That is the reason why Fabio and myself, we have planned
a monograph consistent with the ideal of the "écart
absolu", and far from any trite convention. A new formula
was needed, and what could be better than the one suggested
by the psychological automatism cherished by Surrealists?
An automatism of the psyche, and consequently of the thought,
too, an idea calling the other just as it happens with cherries.
At the very first the idea has been to give free way to
a new kind of interview inspired to a verbal automatism.
In front of the sculptures (or of the photos portraying
them) we both have said what was coming into our mind.
Our thoughts have confronted one another, interpreted one
another, eluded one another. A dialogue has started where
each of us was following the train of his own thought. Sometimes
the trains of thought ran in parallel, sometimes they got
tied to one another so that hidden meanings could be recovered.
That is the way how my (but I should say our) introductory
text was born, with its title recalling to the memory a
triple journey, the one of Fabio's existence, the one we
have made amongst his works and the one of our conversation.
One idea calls the other, as we said. And the need was felt
to close the transcription of our conversation with a few
additional chapters which would allow the reader to get
to know other sides of Fabio's creativity. There are sides
indeed which we ignored or just hinted at during our meeting
just because of their rational character. That is why a
largely illustrated biography comes before "our text",
a section which will provide the reader with elements essential
to follow the facts and the works we described in our conversation.
After "The memory of the journey", illustrated
by a large number of plates, a chapter follows devoted to
what Breton used to call "le mystère du meuble".
Some of the most representative works De Sanctis has made
during that stage are reproduced and commented by significant
articles written by some leading Surrealist scholars, poets
and artists. In order of appearance: André Breton,
Philippe Audoin, Robert Benayoun, José Pierre, Jean-Claude
Silbermann, Radovan Ivsic, Alain Joubert and Joyce Mansour.
Once examined the itinerary through Fabio's plastic production
is over, his happenings are examined and his presence in
urban spaces. Here, too, a precious photographic documentation
allow the reader to take part, even if only virtually, to
such involving and lively activities. The filmography closing
the chapter devoted to De Sanctis' artistic production obeys
to the same criterion on which the structure of the whole
monograph is based. The rigorous reconstruction of events
is accompanied by a great number of illustrations: an image
is worth one thousand words, as a Chinese say runs.
To close the book, one act of compliance with convention
has been necessary.
Data related to Fabio's exhibitions had to follow together
with a critical anthology featuring articles by Enrico Crispolti,
Giorgio Cortenova, Radovan Ivsic and Annie Le Brun, Edouard
Jaguer, José Pierre. The bibliography and the catalogue
raisonné, perfectly edited by Arianna Di Genova,
are indeed a final, necessary and precious addition to the