The Guardians of Silence
One hundred years after the First World War,
Andrea Contrini takes us on a photographic journey
among the fortresses of the Great Plateaus of Trentino
and the Seven Municipalities.
by Andrea Contrini
Preface by Antonio Gibelli
Historical texts by Fernando Larcher
Product Dimensions: 30x21 cm - 208 pages
Italian - German - English
A century after its outbreak, the war that marked the beginning of the twentieth century, shows its sharp and deep traces still, both in the outer and in the inner world, into our memory and in the landscape. Who visits those territories today, can still see the land crossed by walkways, dominated by the remains of fortifications, transformed in its morphology by the explosions. Andrea Contrini wandered in these scenarios with his camera focusing his eyes mostly on the fortifications. In his pictures, the majesty of the mountains and the immensity of the heavens are therefore the background and frame of the constructions of defence and offence that are at the same time distorted and violated. Contrini explored sites nowadays silent, where the grass and woods have regained their spaces with difficulty and, anyway, never entirely. He walked through tunnels and caves, he followed underground routes, captured visions recalling catacombs, stone sculptures and the deep cracks inserted into the territory thanks to the dynamics of destruction. They are often spectral, inert and bulky buildings celebrating the power of hate unleashed by the war in the Europe of nations. The photographer’s eye does not see, but suggests, the abyss of anguish that shook the fighters, crushed by the power of the machines and materials. The Great War started in the name of great emotions and great ideals. It was, instead by definition, the first total war, the beginning of a frightening series of increasingly destructive conflicts that overwhelmed Europe and the world. These cathedrals of war artillery seem to embody in their own way the incubation of the ghosts of the twentieth century. And these guardians of silence, now dumb, seem to evoke, by contrast, the deadly blasts which introduced the beginning of the century and returned to tear it into pieces over and over again.