New English edition of Pier Paolo Pasolini: Corpi e Luoghi (Theorema, 1981) 

by Michele Mancini and Giuseppe Perrella

Published by Edizioni Patrick Frey (Zurich, 2017)

Curated by Benedikt Reichenbach

Translation by Ann Goldstein and Jobst Grapow

With an assert desire to overthrow the fear of translating without misleading, Benedikt Reichenbach brings back – in English language and thanks to the work of Ann Goldstein and Jobst Grapow – a book published in 1981 by Theorema entitled Pier Paolo Pasolini: Corpi e Luoghi.

Defined by some critics of the time the most Pasolinian publication to date, the book depicted 600 pages of black and white photographs; "signs" resurfacing again 40 years later with that same vocation – as Benedikt says – to bring to existence an absence meant to be visible, in constant tension and holding all the details together. A monumental work concealed under the mystery and the truth of these "bodies" and "places" that, in their succession, are a whole Pasolinian ecstatic rapture: organic, telluric and corporeal, built on a language that finds its territory in the mystic.

Speaking of "appropriation" as a practical use of any archive, both photographically and textually, is reductive – though true – in a book where images come back to life in a concrete manifestation, the same way director Pasolini wanted to bring reality into presence, moving away from any desire to conceptualize. And, as in his films, cinema became a physical experience of this reality, in the same way the frame brings back to life what Roland Barthes would define as "traces of absence".

An image that takes on the appearance of the effect, or the origin of an expressive movement that opens up a crack in the language, depriving it of its compactness in favour of the reality (Pasolinian) that presumes it is able to reproduce, communicate and enunciate.

“Why tried to give new life to the film frames and their impact on the imagination”, the authors say, in a sentence that summarizes the intent of the work: do not try to historicize, but actualize, calling to the present, as for Pasolini the past became a form of the living language. Here, then again – in the current edition of Benedikt – justified the inclusion of colour images.

A past that lends itself, as on a cinematic set, in a dreamlike physicality of the body/actors and in the materiality of the places, also living and sexual. And so, to quote the authors again, "what is written about life" – in Pasolini's film production – "reappears as a deposit of archaeological material", but animated by those same secret correspondences, typical of the language of the body.