Tappeti Volanti (Flying Carpets) catalogues the exhibition of the same name that took place at the French Academy in Rome, Villa Medici. The book includes an extensive collection of images that document the exhibition as well as insightful introductions by Éric de Chassey, director of the French Academy in Rome and Oliver Michelon, Director of the Musée des Abattoirs of Toulouse and a critical essay by the author, Philippe-Alain Michaud.
Bringing surfaces to life
While modern tradition maintains that the carpet was used as a paradigm for the affirmation of flatness in painting, the contrary may also be said; the flying carpet can be envisaged as a way of introducing movement in surfaces that, by using the properties of expansion and rotation, produces effects of floating, disorientation or disequilibrium. Much like the flying carpet, cinema can also involve properties or forces aimed at bringing surfaces to life – unwinding, projecting, editing – that go beyond the simple projection of a space standardized by the norms of theatricality.
Weaving and unweaving tales
Both the exhibition and catalogue bring together and compare real carpets and films. Carpets that, according to their function, texture or composition, produce an effect that enlivens the surfaces, and films that in this way can be reconsidered from the ornamental point of view: monochrome compositions evoking the undefined linear traces of Navajo blankets (Paul Sharits, Nothing), blades of grass, leaves and insect wings are directly stuck like a cinematographic equivalent of garden carpets (Stan Brakhage, Mothlight), positive/negative inversions producing an effect identical to that of retractable motifs (Peter Kubelka, Adebar), overlapping borders (Hans Richter, Rhythm 21).
Printed in Italy