Tommaso Durante
~ Australia (via Italy)

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RMIT University: “Dr. Tommaso Durante is a researcher in the Globalisation and Culture Program of the Global Cities Research Institute (RMIT). Durante’s academic research addresses the social (global) imaginary and its articulation with aesthetics and ideologies. More specifically he is interested in theorising aesthetic of global change through visual images, to understand the relationship between nation-state, ideological power and globalisation processes. His research combines critical theoretical analysis with fieldwork and case study methods. He adopts a transdisciplinary approach, drawing on a background in art history and theory, extended to ‘urban iconology’. Tommaso is also a professional visual artist and a freelance lecturer of Art History and Theory focused on Europe and Italy. As an artist, Tommaso Durante produces sculpture-installations, paintings and artist books.”

By Tommaso Durante and Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Melbourne, Australia: , 2011. Edition of 15, plus 6 artist's proofs.

8.375 x 8.125"; 92 pages. 11 color inkjet pigment prints by Brian Gilkes on Awagami Inbe paper. Typefaces: Democratica, Filosofia, Frutiger. Bound in buckram and sewn with waxed linen thread by Elke Ahokas. Printed paper dust jacket. Signed and numbered by the artist and poet. English text with Italian translation by Mariella Barbara.

Tommaso Durante: "Limes was inspired by a visual and philosophical journey I took to Aotearoa (The Land of the Long White Cloud), New Zealand. At Rotoru Hell's Gate I collected a series of digital images that were so strongly reminiscent of Dante's Divine Comedy, particularly his Inferno, Canto III, that they remained with me long after the journey ended. Beyond Dante's allegorical description of sin and virtue, I have always been impressed by the aptness of his medieval meditation of current discourses around the 'liquid time' and ethics of the New Global Economy which characterize our own epochal experience of global transformation. For me Dante's Divine Comedy is a truly political and ante litterram global book whose warning that 'the darkest places in Hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis' today rings truer than ever. In this context, it is worth noting the ancient Latin word limes - a fortified boundary, and a delimiting system of ancient Rome, as well as a passage - can help us across the spatial, temporal, and cultural boundaries dividing Dante's Middle Ages from our Global Age."

Book Launch, Publicity statement: "LIMES is a creative collaboration between a visual artist and a poet who were inspired from the medieval imaginary of 'Inferno Canto III' from Dante Alighieri's 'Divine Comedy' to explore human nature in the context of the twenty-first century global culture.

"The title derives from the ancient Latin word 'limes' [limit]. By crossing space-time and cultural boundaries from Middle Age to Global Age and throug an aesthetics visionary journey of art and poetry, text and images, LIMES intends to put a philosophical as well as a political question about our phenomenological existence of being-in-a-global world.

"Tommaso Durante is a professional visual artist and a freelance lecturer in History and Theory of Art. As an artist, he works with a wide range of media, like sculpture-installations, paintings, and artist's books. Currently he is working as researcher in the Globalization and Culture Program within the Global Cities Research Institute of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. His research interests are focused on global social imaginary and on the relationship between images, aesthetics, and ideologies.

"Chris Wallace-Crabbe is one of Australia's most important poets, with a world-wide reputation. He has read his poetry widely in Europe, Asia, and North America. He is Chair of Australian Poetry Limited and is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne. His most recent collection of poetry was Telling a Hawk from a Handsaw, published by Carcanet in Manchester."

Gabriella Coslovich, Senior Arts Writer, The Age (excerpt from LIMES book launch speech, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, Australia, 7 April 2011: "What impresses me about Limes is its artistic integrity. The quality of materials is exceptional, the heavy Japanese paper soaks up the inks so well that Tommaso's photographs are like sculptures in themselves, they are three-dimensional, they burst from the page with such clarity that at times you are almost surprised that you cannot feel the gravel and the earth, or that you're not singed by the heat, or that you can't hear the bubbling and gushing of the steaming water. The book is the perfect marriage of Tommaso's sublimely beautiful and apocalyptic images and Chris' wry evocation of a contemporary world that is losing touch with what it is to be deeply human, and that instead seems hellbent indeed on materialism at the expense of our planet's health, and at the expense of our spiritual well being."
$2,100 (Last Copy)

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The Silk Road Project
By Tommaso Durante
Melbourne, Australia: Tommaso Durante, 2010. Edition of 18.

8.25 x 8.25"; 114 pages. 10 color pigment inkjet prints by Brian Gilkes (Pharos Edition) on Awagami Inbe. Typefaces: Democratica, Utopia Standard, and Adobe Song Standard. Text in English, Italian, and Chinese. Handsewn binding: cloth over boards. In illustrated dust jacket. Signed and numbered by the artist. Edition of 18 includes 15 numbered editions and 3 Artist's Proofs.

Introduction: "The project takes inspiration from the historic Silk Road [that more than 2000 years ago stretched between Chang'an (Xi'an) and Rome, connecting the East and the West], viewing it in a contemporary context as a metaphor of a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary communication and exploration.

"By means of a collection of pictures I took during my journey in China (from Shanghai to Xi'an and throughout the Shanxi Province), I explore the connections and disconnections in a network of traveling cultures, the different conditions that structure the artist's experience and the aesthetic strategies related to the issues of cultural identity, memory, and place.

"The bookwork considers the problem of cultural identity in a global society and homogenized culture and visually explores the effects of displacement, alienation, hybridity and cosmopolitanism, all elements that we find in a country like China. In other words this bookwork explores what is called 'the third space,' according to the cultural and post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha. The third space refers to the interstices between colliding cultures, a liminal space 'which gives rise to something different, something new and unrecognizable, a new area of negotiation of meaning and representation.'

"As the mandala is used in the Buddhist culture and tells its own story as a metaphor for universal order, the Circle is used in the ancient Chinese tradition to serve the same purpose, and that occurs in many different cultures too. The graphic representation of this 'Sacred geometry' crosses the entire bookwork in the shapes of squares and circles with their electronic-manipulative tridimensional transformation and it plays freely with images and text.

"Without losing the pleasure of aesthetic and artistic exploration, this book is a synthesis of a wide range of visual materials to create a boo-object that simultaneously refers to Chinese and Western art and to popular culture.

"The bookwork, obliquely political, deals visually with the concepts of identity, multidisciplinarity, and contradiction."

Press release: "Tommaso Durante is a professional visual artist and a freelance lecturer in History and Theory of Art. As an artist, he works with a wide range of media, including sculpture-installations, paintings, and artists' books. Currently (summer 2011) he is working as researcher in the Globalization and Culture Cities Research Institute of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. His research interests are focused on global social imagery and on the relationship between images, aesthetics, and ideologies, and on several aspects of culture relying on media that have a crucial visual component, the hybrid electronic ones included."

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Skin, Surfaces and Shadows
Text by Chris Wallace-Crabbe
Melbourne, Australia: Tommaso Durante, 2007. Edition of 25.

8.5 x 10.25"; 80 pages. Set in digital typefaces Utopia STD Display, Italic and Bold, Frutiger 57 Condensed, 67 Bold Condensed, and 56 Italic. Printed by Brian Gilkes at Pharos Editions with 8 inkjet color pigments on Somerset Book White 175gsm. Section sewn around 3 tapes. Full paper binding with blind blocking on front cover handmade head and tail bands.Bound by George Matuolas. Dust jacket embossing designed by the artist and printed by Martin King on Rives BFK 250gsm. Edition size: 25 plus 6 artists proofs. Signed and numbered by the artist and the poet.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe: "The surface of things is often held to be a trivial affair. Merely 'superficial,' says the critic, looking down his long nose. But crafty old Bert Brecht knew better, turning up with 'What's so important about depth? It's only deep.'

"So when Tommaso Durante came up with the idea of our doing a joint book based on the three visible topoi - skins, surfaces and shadows - I was delighted. The trio had just that combination of the visible and the conceptual that feeds my poetry with vitamins. Accordingly, I got writing, and we worked together on the project: this lovely and harmonious book. The poems turned out to please me and the combination proved to be a delight. After all, the beautiful still has its place, even in the postmodern world."

Art Daily: "Skin, Surfaces and Shadows is the new artist book in limited edition by Tommaso Durante. It has a triptych structure with text by the leading Australian poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe.

"Skin, Surfaces and Shadows was created by Tommaso Durante in 2004 during his stay in Bundanon (gifted to the Australian people by Arthur & Yvonne Boyd - South East Australia) as international artist in residence and it was enriched during the artist’s stay in Broome (Western Australia) in 2005. On that occasion he collected the raw materials that were subsequently wrought to develop the actual bookwork.

"On the edge of the artistic practice and philosophical inspiration, Skin, Surfaces and Shadows transgresses the limits by pushing the boundaries of art, craft and design and by combining digital technologies with traditional techniques and materials.

"With the wrought images and design of the artist and the sculptured words of the poet, Skin, Surfaces and Shadows tries to explore the surfaces of things and the figurative dividing line of the shadow, with no fear to run the risk of beauty as a side effect.

"Once again a journey for the artist, but this time less autobiographical than the previous Terra Australis and more philosophical, inspirational and thoughtful."

Judith Hoffberg, Umbrella review: "With wrought images and design of the artist and the sculptured words of the poet, Durante tries to explore the surfaces of things and the figurative dividing line of the shadow, with no fear to run the risk of beauty as a side effect. In fact, beauty is everywhere–the paper is heavy and handmade to support the gorgeous imagery of prints which go beyond the double pages to the universe itself. The poet Wallace-Crabbe delivers in words that which the images exude–and is directly on target with words about skin, surfaces and shadows. From race, to global warming, to eye-catchers to the science of shadows, to cinema and photography and the search for truth, the poet follows the artist and captures with words that which is unspoken by the artist. It is a gorgeous duet in which the poet and the artist flit in and out of shadows, skin and the surfaces of paper and life."

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Terra Australis
By Tommaso Durante
Melbourne, Australia: Tommaso Durante, 2003. Edition of 900 (regular).

17 x 24 x 1.3cm with 104 full-colour and punched pages with punched cover page and 20 pages of text. Edition of 1000 with 900 copies softcover and 100 Special copies (numbered and signed, not for sale). Offset printing on Symbol Freelife Satin – 150 g/m2 - cover 300 g/m2. Sewn and glued binding. Printed in both English and Italian. An artist book by Durante with a collection of ten poems, presented in both Italian and English. Poetry written by Australian authors: Kay Aldenhoven; Peter Boyle; Jennifer Dickerson; Coral Hull; Jean Kent; Ruark Lewis; Chris Mansell; Phil Salom; Peter Skrzyneck; and, Chris Wallace Crabbe. Editor of poetical text Chris Mansell, Berry, NSW, Australia.

The series of images accompanying the texts suggest the bright reds, blues and variegated shades of black and grey, typical of Australia. From the introduction: "Terra Australis is an artist's book made of holes, stones and water, soil and air, traversed by time and pervaded by melancholy. Every page opens on the edge of a measured visual abyss where the invitation to venture through deep and impenetrable matter is both dangerous and real. Beyond the cold geography and frigid geometry it evokes, Terra Australis is an art work for geographers of inwardness. It is a work apparently engaged with on the surface - but it is an art work pervaded by a silent darkness in which something endless is hidden, or escapes the eyes."

Tommaso Durante,Umbrella, 2004 : "Terra Australis is an artist book that testifies my life move from Italy to the Antipodes. My approach to the 'new' land was strongly influenced by the great contradictions, the light, the big spaces and particularly, as an artist, by the materials. On the occasion of many trips I collected digital pictures of the soil, the rocks, the trees, etc ... and then I worked out all images through a digital painting, in order to express my feelings about this mysterious land having the matter as exploring starting point. The book is also physically punched by holes that change their position in the pages and evoke the Southern Cross in the Australian night sky. When the project was almost ready, ten important Australian writers offered their poems to be inserted in my artist book and they are printed both in English and in Italian."


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Visio Mundi
By Tommaso Durante
Verona, Italy: Anterem Edizioni, 1999. Edition of 1000.

17 x 24 x 1 cm with 104 pages. Printed offset. In the edition 100 were special (no longer available) and 900 regular in softcovers. This is the unsigned softcover edition. Printed on Symbol Freelife Satin 150 g/m2. Sewn and glued binding. Text is in Italian.

Artist statement:
Today the artistic and literary culture must take into account a world that is dominated by technology and the scientific research, that is the premise of the technology itself. A world in which the traditional thought categories disappeared because they were no more able to interpret the world.

The images of "Visio Mundi" were initially originated by an entirely handicraft process. Then they were brought to the utmost limit of their rarefaction through an electronic processing and finally they found the meaning of the reality of their existence through a touch of the computer mouse. The truth of these images derives from that suggestion which is their possible extension, the space where they cast their shadows, like if their iconic matter was created with the purpose not to exist.

These works represent a 'De pictura' to be interpreted as a 'vision without weight.' The text is a short philosophical reflection on the destiny of art and image in the digital society.

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Tenuti da nulla/In laude del nero
by Rubina Giorgi
Verona, Italy: Anterem Edizioni, 1996. Edition of 1000.

17 x 24 x 1cm, 104 pages plus covers. Printed offset. Of the edition 100 were special (numbered & signed by the authors); 900 softcover unsigned in the regular edition. Sewn and glued binding. Designed by Tommaso Durante. Text in Italian.

The title "Tenuti da nulla/In laude del nero" translated in English is "Held Together by Nothing/In Praise of Black." The themes of dark and light, presence and absence, solid and intangible are captured through the use of black and white images with accents of brown earth tones.

The alchemist spirit of discovery, journey and transformation is the basis of this 'Opus in black.' It is like a trip inside yourself. 'Tenuti da nulla/In laude del nero' explores the issue of transmutation of the elements with the conceptual investigation of the creation of images and words.

The poetical-philosophical text by Rubina Giorgi is a specific meditation on Durante's work and the reader/viewer is caught into a unique and evocative world.
$300 (Five copies remaining)

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Page last update: 08.16.14


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