Dreams and needs




by Adolfo Ferraro

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.
Paul Valéry
The transformation of latent dreamy thoughts into manifest content is an example of transposition of a psychic material from one expressive form to another, from one that is immediately intelligible to us into another that we can only attain with skill and effort. As to latent and manifest contents, psychoanalysis divides dreams into three categories: those that make sense and are understandable, those that surprise us because we are unable to place them in our psychic life, and those that seem confused and meaningless to us. And it is in dreams belonging to the second, and even more to the third category, that we find Enigmas and thus Mystery. The dream, that is to say the transposition, contributes to deal with the need to solve the Mystery.
Seen from this perspective Art, in all its forms, is a transposition of psychic material into the language congenial to the Artist – which may be music or literature or manipulation of materials or something else again – always in order to solve an Enigma, which is in the final analysis that of life.
The decisive difference that distinguishes the dreamer (whether he dreams by night or by day) from the Artist is that the latter intends to bring the dream – or if we want, the inspiration – into reality, and to make it come true.
What are Paller and Casentini dreaming, in this sense, is a question Freud would ask himself.
The inspiration that moves them must be similar, and this is why I believe the two Artists are also friends, as they have told me. The actual execution, on the contrary, seems almost antinomic, as the one encloses the space in rounded lines, while the other defines it with rigid schematic lines. It could almost seem that Casentini and Paller, being twins yet different, feel both related and complementary precisely due to their need to inspire and contain one another, in a desire to attain the unattainable, to solve the Enigma by exploring their two different ways to use spaces and colours, in an attempt to understand and capture time. Paller with rounded, maternal and sensual forms, enclosed by a containment from which the forms try to get out or back in again (which is the same thing). But also with bird’s eye views of imaginary landscapes and with mysterious pseudo-human or pseudo-animal semblances, as when the horizon of mountains reminds us of something. Casentini with colourful schematic forms that define an internal nothing of lives that are coloured in various ways, where they need order, rules, lines that are straight and defined from one end to the next, like the bands on the lids of chocolate boxes. And the superimposition of different lives and the different colours of life dilates the space and enables him to create depth.
The relationship between reality and Art or – perhaps we should rather say – the relationship within Art between the irrational unconscious (consisting of a tumult of mainly emotional factors) and a limpid rationality anchored in the real world (between what was once called the Dionysian and Apollonian element) is always oscillating. Sometimes one prevails, other times the other, but neither ever completely gains the upper hand, because if one factor were to completely overwhelm the other, the result would be the very suppression of the artistic activity, and its replacement with something else.
Finally, the spaces within which the artists contain their transposition, enclose – with different but strangely similar borders – the dream and the need to explore the Mystery.