For her latest Exhibit A Skye Sherwin closely inspects the drawing series After The Woods by Ernesto Caivano, as seen in the Another Art Book.
Ernesto Caivano’s drawing series After The Woods is an epic work of mystery and romance. It has been compared to everything from Genesis to Spencer’s Faerie Queen, Lord of the Rings and the obscure, 15th century Voynich Manuscript, full of images of flora, fauna and nude women, all annotated with uncrackable coded script. The world Caivano depicts in ink and graphite though is very much his own, as unique and intricate as a snowflake under a microscope. Its hero and heroine are two lovers, the knight Versus and the princess Polygon, lost in a wood, like the narrator of Dante’s Inferno or Adam and Eve in Eden. This doomed pair have been summoned there by the eco-system from which their species has long been sundered and then divided between courtly past and sci-fi future, destined to search in vain for one another. From there the not-so straight-forward premise gets seriously complicated, piled high with references to everything from abstract art to physics, CGI, the Internet, medieval poetry, DNA and on and on. Some of the creatures that appear in Caivano’s seductive, graceful images have a clear purpose in his narrative. The birds with their beautiful plumage are ‘Philapores’, and though they cannot fly are able to pass through matter, carrying messages from lover to lover in traces of genetic code. Often though we are left to wonder at the work’s ornate mysteries. Like the severed lovers, we find ourselves on a quest full of desire and yearning – searching for meaning in an infinitely complex universe.
Another Art Book is published by Steidl and out now.