top of page
Open city
A “quasi” story inspired by the paintings of Chiara Smirne
In the shadows that stand out clearly in the lamplight on a spring night, the glance of a solitary pedestrian moves slowly. He walks in the night letting his thoughts and his hungry and thirsty look run free to examine the crevices, the couples giving their last kisses…quickly…I have to go…they’re waiting for me, just outside the door, turning the corner in the alleys that face the large avenue. The night is the city of silence, a game of shadow puppets that tell true stories, dark dramas, fun evenings, filthy passions. As soon as you hear the rumble of a distant car and the headlights like spotlights illuminate fleeting moments while the walls of houses create the backstage of our comedy. The city is the open theatre of the representation of our dreams. Life or fantasy, it’s not important. We are the actors, we chose the masks, the stages, the script of the incessant happenings of each day. The drama, the comedy, the farce, in the streets, in the piazzas, hidden between the noble palazzos of the centre or among the sad public housing of the outskirts. Behind the shudders of shops with their mannequins lit only by the streetlights, or… I swear… those two in the window… moved… or…? and the face of that girl, the lost love, the longed for heirloom, the damned mistress, peeps out, studies you, appears and disappears in the phantasmagorical posters, there behind that window, it was her big eye, there in the palazzo across the way, only her ineffable smile, her mouth that can be both sweet and cruel.
Pouring out of dark corners, the slow processions of devils not for saints, but for he who still wants to live in sin, authentic salvation from paradise where the light annihilates feelings. Only in this desolate night, between the pavement and the walls full of graffiti, listening to our steps, can we find our soul and return to love. The city isn’t perhaps the paraphrase of our existence and the inevitable scene? And the night, where thoughts and hopes germinate, the placenta which lovingly envelops us giving us a new life with the inescapable beginning of a new day? This is what the author gives us, an open scene where we can construct the plot. Chiara Smirne says that she outlines precisely to avoid misunderstandings, places the light, chooses the colours, gives profundity, indicates the escape routes, alternative scenes, defines the location of the performance. Scenographer, architect, carpenter, painter. She leaves us the job of director, to choose the plot and actors. She doesn’t judge, she limits herself to creating a world that we can populate. With reality and fantasy. It’s the freedom of art, the magic theatre of painting, where anything can be or nothingness can dominate. Freedom to name the stage, define the city of our story. For some it’s Milan, for others Berlin or Smirne, nomen omen of our author. For others still Tokyo, Vladivostok, Buenos Aires. For some Paris…
when in the belly of Paris the voice of God suddenly envelops you with twelve violins and bows and…
When in the viscera of Paris a (amplified) gypsy guitar overwhelms and smacks you.
When on the treadmill of Chatelet a man suddenly changes direction and walks against the current, crying while the people insult him.
When in the crowded bistrot the hundred voices mix together and are your friends, your loves, your memories…
When the old professor falls in inevitable and impossible love with the twenty-year-old student, and his long grey hair turns white and becomes lost in the wind of dreams.
When in the full moon of December a single man feels the weight of all those abandoned.
When the elderly merchant glimpses among the waves of the Seine the red hair of his lost love (a sign or word would have been enough that day at the station and I…and I…It was all my fault…).
When you return home in the evening and the rubber soles don’t even let you hear that magical tick tack and there is only silence.
When a glass of Bordeaux helps you reconcile with the world and with a warm belly gives you back to the cold universe.
When at the end of the street you have sold your soul to God and you don’t know how the night will finish.
When the words of love scattered in the wind are confused with the rain, like your tears.
When the unmistakable smell of an old bookshop excites your senses and stimulate nostalgia.
When the memory of tired flesh after lovemaking is only a memory.When in the crazy city the men pour out like ants throwing themselves into a billion stories.
When you look at your face and ask yourself, “Who’s that? Who am I?”.
When a man turns and sees his own shadow become longer and longer…transient?
Stefano Cortina
  • s-facebook
  • Tumblr Metallic
  • s-tbird
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Facebook Classic
  • Tumblr Classic
bottom of page