Imagines maiorum

Video projection, natural environment, 2018

In dreams begins responsibility. ” William Butler Yeats – poet, playwright, writer and Irish mystic


Images of our ancestors

Through her audio-visual work, Imagines Maiorum, Monica Camaggi takes us back to the artist’s private memories, to the memories of distant relatives and confused dreams where the space of the image is rendered timeless and evanescent. As the artist herself has stated: “The term ‘imagines maiorum’ recalls the portraits of our ancestors in ancient Rome. The wax mask, obtained from a negative cast of the deceased’s face, is one example, as are the busts in bronze or marble, and the portraits on tables or shields that imitate a person’s features. The transition from mask to bust or image is a fascinating process as it represents the overcoming of the image as a permanent imprint. Taking the place of the deceased person, the ‘imagines’ become a kind of ‘presence in absentia’, a kind of doppelganger. In the case of the masks, the link between subject and mask-object is direct, guaranteed by the relationship between imprint and matrix, which in turn guarantees both its similarity and its uniqueness. The link between the image and the person represented is such that the former magically takes the place of the latter, the absentee.

Your dreams, my wound

The front-facing figure of the sitting woman in the video is a temporary, fleeting presence, one that will soon be absent. The framing and the perspective recall the female figures of Piero Della Francesca or the women-idols of Francesco Giuliari. Camaggi continues to investigate the combination of human forms with natural landscapes, alternating in this case the profile of the Apennine mountains and the beaches of the Adriatic coast. As in her previous work, Suspensa Levisque, the female body sketches out a subtle and transitory limen, the sensitive confines of heaven and earth. Like horizons, the bodies become punctuation points that give rhythm to the sequence of the narrative.


Overlapping the images, we hear audio recordings of a Munich train station announcing arrivals, departures and delays. Exactly as if in a dream, the artist sublimates and condenses different memories, leafing through the family album and taking us back to our childhood, a distant time where we are reminded how much our lives, just like clouds, are always passing through.