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Francesco Merlini

Better in the Dark Than His Rider


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Better in the Dark Than His Rider – Born of a reflection on the nature of images and their nocturnal vocation, Better in the Dark Than His Rider is both a fable and a survival guide. Francesco Merlini’s collected work spans several years, sometimes quite far apart; taken on four continents, his images reveal the unique perspective of someone who, like a somnambulist guided by ghosts, is searching for something unspeakable. The title is taken, almost literally, from a 19th-century optics textbook. The original phrase – “[…] much better in the dark than its rider” – refers to a horse’s night vision compared with that of a human.

The selected sequence of images revolves around the transition phase between wakefulness and sleep, and focuses on hypnagogia as a sensory, dream-like mode of semi-conscious representation. Images constitute the psychic content of the mind. If, in dreams, self-consciousness is suspended and images seem real to the extent that we sleep, when we doze we can consciously guide them because we are partially aware that we are dreaming. In other words, in lucid dreams, we know that we are confronted with the content of our imagination, whose contours seem hallucinatory. Dreaming is a perpetual state that we experience both asleep and awake. Thanks to the imagination, the material of the dream becomes the real object of the mind.

  • date of publication : July 2023
  • language : EN / IT
  • pages : 80 p.
  • format : 31.5 x 24 x 1.5
  • impression : Offset UV
  • ISBN : 9788894462289
  • publishers : Départ pour l'image
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