The empty space is a theatrical space. In the world there is no real empty space. There’s always the touch of the world as all-embracing space, the invading nature, the air, light, the breath of history, the memory of an earlier moment, a human story.
The empty space as theatrical space contains everything that had been said before but also all that has to start. The emptiness is marked out but becomes from the first moment of reflection unlimited. Everything can happen now, we don’t know what. We have expectations because we are as empty as the space. Theatre in Greek means: seeing.
The theatre director Peter Brook begins in his book The empty space: ‘I can take just an empty space and call it a bare stage. A man is walking on this bare stage while someone else is looking at him, more you don’t need for the existence of a staging gesture.’ The empty space, the empty room, gives all the opportunities to speak out the first sentence, to touch this space with the beginning of a story, when we start to look.
That’s the way the first Piano Etude starts, I wrote: Image…piano…room…shadow…., the drama is completely on track: look at the ongoing shadow. But the shadow is also walking in front of the things. First the empty space itself, emptiness and a piano. The main character is a piano such as we have never seen before.
But the shadow of what? Is the shadow not emptiness itself, taking a dark form of something else, designed by light and the space it takes in. ‘A moving shadow light as a breeze from the sea’ I wrote in the plane about the emptiness of airport São Paulo, in which people are passants and I can be surprised or astonished by them, fantasying, photographing. Like the French photographer Lartigue as seven-years old boy, making with a snap of his eyes imaginable pictures of the lunching ladies in the Bois de Boulogne. And then to forget, to become shadow, leaving the space, becoming empty.
The moment came in 1987 at the Forum in Rome, photographing both stairs and shadow, everything came together: space, emptiness, shadow, stage, and geometry, landscape. What a theatre! The shadows tell the story of emptiness.
photo: Leo Divendal, Roma 1987