The images Cesare Fabbri made between 2005 and 2015 in his native Emilia-Romagna and Sardinia point out sweet and absurd fragments in the semi-rural landscape, scenes another eye might easily pass over. Collected in The Flying Carpet, a book published this month by MACK, Fabbri’s images record places with a distinctly Italian flavor. There are off-duty statues and fallow fields lined with birds and vines, all framed by buildings plastered in yellow and gold. Other images focus on the details of landscaping, fences and road signs, finding connections between man-made and natural shapes and patterns. The outlines of trees and simplified houses appear often, as do objects framed by sky. Careful sequences of images build meaning. Over the course of three pages, a blue eye painted on a shed wards off evil, a painting of a woman in a blue habit graces a stucco wall and a graffiti rocket ship, also painted in blue, sails over a collection of shopping carts, all alluding to the forces of other worlds.
As the book explains in a brief text, the title comes from a 1987 piece by Italian writer Cristina Campo, who states that the carpet, “like fairy tales and parables, stubbornly deals with nothing but the real, and only through the real does it reach the order of the spirit, of contemplative mathematics.” As the book continues, “Photography, so preciously ambiguous, both simple and mysterious, embodies the same magic. Sometimes, something too familiar becomes invisible. Photographs allow us to discover and see for the first time something that was right before our eyes.”