Andante is a musical tempo characterized by ca. 80 beats per minute. It is a moderate tempo, prefiguring further musical developments and setting the stage for the action: several among Rossini’s scores go through this tempo, even if eventually, as we know, they end in a different mode. Half way between allegretto and larghetto, andante can also be con moto or con brio.
We imagined the existence of an Andante Lento, an arbitrary definition that in Italian may also have another meaning: it may be applied to the pace of those who travel fast enough to cover distances, but who are as well able to linger in places, on things, on those natural and human details that travellers recognize as the essence of travel. You go, but willing to slow down when the circumstances demand.
And slowness today is a quality needed in order for photography to free itself from the overproduction made possible and induced by digital equipment and to go back to being a meditative act, capable of narrating and moving: no longer the hasty theft of an image but a conscious making of a story. For this reason, photography requires the ability to observe and must have the leisure, when the context calls for it, to immerse itself into contemplation, an art impossible without slowness.
The twenty-four images that in this exhibit tell us about Italy - one story among a thousand possible ones - come from different works and for a long time they have lived together in the dim light of photo archives. From these files, physical or digital, they have been patiently extracted and selected, we could say distilled – a process also made up of time and patience - until their collection has given shape to Andante Lento, the exhibit in front of you. They are photographs of places well-known, but are not usual: faithful to the principle of going slow, the photographer took a few steps off the marked path, stopped, waited, contemplated, and took the picture.
The choice of the format is not accidental either: the reading of a panorama picture, like its composition, requires an extra effort to control all the elements, but is more respectful of the very nature of the human gaze that lingers through steps to take in the whole, the only possible way to understand the world.
Photos by Stefano Amantini, Massimo Borchi e Guido Cozzi