For the centenary of James Joyce’s Ulysses publication, our Foundation proposes Ulysses by James Joyce: an itinerant consciousness, two ideal journeys to provide a key to the interpreting of this literary work: one to the places of its creation and the other to the eighteen chapters, set out in a dialogue between quotations and photobooks about Ireland from the collection of Artphilein Library, our public library of photobooks.
Joyce wrote Ulysses in four places: Locarno, Zurich, Trieste and Paris. None of these cities are located in Ireland, yet all of them are situated next to water: be it a lake, a sea or a river.
The Foundation invited artist Marco D’Anna to embark on a journey to these four places, in search of the light, the visual essence that James Joyce might ideally have found there during the seven years he spent writing, completing and reworking Ulysses. What can be seen in D’Anna’s works, reproduced in this Dossier, goes beyond the real, exceeding photographic documentation, and it constitutes the chronicle of a mental and philosophical journey, one also permeated by the particular arrangement of the text on the individual pages of Joyce’s manuscript. D’Anna’s images con- vey a sense of continuous movement, of departure without arrival elsewhere, for as Joyce said, “As it is, I am content to recognise myself an exile: and, prophetically, a repudiated one,” and in this he offers us a reading of Ulysses as an unended and indeed endless journey.
The second journey proposed is a reading with Ireland in the background, the main character from which Joyce did not want to and indeed could not emancipate himself, not even by physically leaving it. In all its complexity and multifaceted, Ireland is narrated through photobooks placed in dialogue with quotations from the eighteen chapters of the book: the result is a journey through words and cover images, steeped in suggestions, cues and references, aimed at offering the view- er an invitation to undertake a personal reading.
By Joyce’s explicit wish, there is in fact no possible univocal interpretation of the work: “I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of ensuring one’s immortality.”
The exhibitions are located at Artphilein Studiolo, via Pelli 13, Lugano and Artphilein La Piscina, via San Salvatore 2, Paradiso.