Davor Sanvincenti’s Fringe Oscillations

Marina Viculin on Davor Sanvincenti’s work


Davor takes interest in the fringe fields of light. What does he find in them? Fringe frequencies? But there is no such a thing, cause frequencies always move on, metamorphosing from visible to invisible, from light to sound and, further down to the oscillations that make up the universe.

The given possibilities of our perceptions are what exists, they are the ones creating fringe fields. They are limitations that give us a chance to see. Let’s say we see only what we understand, and we understand only things whose borders we can comprehend. Maybe this is what all of our limitations serve for. Maybe we do not live forever, because then we could not grasp that we are alive…

Space-time dimensions are changing and getting slightly deformed at the fringes. The echoes of neighbouring space penetrate. There is no perfect border, as it would be opposing the concept of our world characterized by penetration and blending at all the levels. Even when they are very precise, edges are not the perfect border.

The hardness of borders is a crucial worldview issue, hence the approach, the plunge that reveals borders’ consensual nature is much more than a mere poetical experience. The sounds of dawn or the pulsations of spheres tune our receptors to the receipt of data that change insights. Pleasant recognition, by which some of Sanvincenti’s pieces win us over, is but a catalyst of cognitive process we are drawn into.

Through permeable membranes, which Davor Sanvincenti shapes for us, we experience some of the universe’s real nature. As if we press our ear to the wall and apparently hear something, sometimes even believing that we discern what the creatures from the other side of the wall talk of.

Listening In

Davor’s pieces often contain sound. Frequencies mingle. We find it easier to enjoy the non-articulated sounds than the poorly formed images. As if the ear is more nervous.  They say the eye is the most rational sense. Frequencies mingle and shift. Oscillations vibrate additionally, and our senses are unprepared for such a space of synesthetic chaos. How to see the earth’s very deep sounds? How to hear the pulsation of stars?

The fringe areas which Sanvincenti shapes for us are the places of decreased scopes which, like exercising devices, enable us letting the omnipresent vibrant nature to reach us without frying our cognitive system that is based on the existence of clear demarcations. He strengthens some of the radiations with multiple re-taping, where each new medium acts as an amplifier for a part of frequency within a recorded spectre. He decreases some of the latter by pulling over a foggy layer of unawake light.

None of this would be spotted unless we begun counting on these things, experiencing them, thinking about them! Borders are conditioned by our anthropocentric notion system. If we cease seeing world as a place created for us, people, most of these borders – that are mere ranges and reaches – will cease existing. Partly, this is a story that Sanvincenti’s pieces are referring us to. These pieces never demand the hours-long, days-long, months-long manual work! They evade that entrepreneurial, procreative definition. Everything that can happen lies within the sphere of recognition. All of the action is moving in the opposite direction, of non-doing. We, people, consent with this only when all of the other options have been taken away from us, when we are tied to the bed, when our life is in danger, when we run out of reasons for living. I do not know whether this is a question of culture or is it inbuilt in a pre-document of the species that was moulded by the ability of problem-solving. Perhaps a positivistic outlook could claim that we would never become erect if we didn’t have to reach the apple. I do not know!

Davor’s pieces demand us to slow down, to quiet our pulse, requiring even the absence of thoughts and emptied consciousness. Only such a background is able to receive some of the diverse contents we are speaking about.

And what do we speak about?  Is there anything in this emptiness at all?

Before the First Light

Davor gets up an hour or two before dawn: he takes his black & white polaroid camera and arrests an unknown piece of the exterior before first sunrays hit it. He does this in various places, anywhere on the continent, anyplace in the world where he happens to be.  This is a serious investment of vital energy in order to get up early and frequently take long, distant walks to meet the dawn.  It places a big demanding question mark in front of the black and white image that is supposed to be the result of it all.

Magical small fuzzy little images line up. The traces of human presence on them are small or almost nonexistent. Magic lays within the tenderness of the moment, the gentleness of the light whose source, at the moment of shooting, was still under the horizon. There are no shadows, no contrast and everything is drowned in a common happiness of diffuse light. There is no differentiation, no good or evil, the world is just being born.

They are very beautiful, cause they are very vulnerable. They always look transient, as if they are about to change here, in front of my eyes, right now. Watching them, I am almost never entirely sure that they are the same images. They are liquid as time.

As amazing as black and white instant photos may be, experience produced by them doesn’t seem to be proportional to the effort that has been invested in their creation. Not in the sense of what is represented in them. Entirely opposite to the meaning of the reason for which they are here, meaning not grasped by the gaze.

The main body of a mushroom is mycelium, its subterranean part which we forget because we don’t see it, and which can exist for decades without that merry stem with a cap. What we call mushroom is an excess condition of the subterranean creature which belongs to neither plants nor animals. This is how Sanvincenti’s instant photos, taken Before the First Light,  look to me – as the gorgeous excesses of a much more comprehensive and unthinkably more complex situation which is the real Sanvincenti’s work! And instant photos are merely its enrapturing ephemeral appearances.

They are truly transient. Developed from the exposed whiteness, outlined with innocent light of Mallarmé’s dawn, they’re changing in a slow-motion of light-shifts. They will gradually turn yellow and eventually, one day, they’ll disappear entirely, as pointed out by the author himself when he quoted a verse by Stéphan Mallarmé: Le vierge, le vivace et le bel aujourd’hui …

Davor’s piece Before the First Light  has its ritual segment too. When he goes hunting for the image produced by his innocent polaroid camera, he shoots but once and then, without checking, he hides it in some dark, secretive compartment, letting it to develop. Afterwards he chooses a moment to look at the photo. He chooses seclusion and buys himself some time.

Sanvincenti postpones a gaze. He postpones a meeting that already occurred, whose consequences, however, are yet unknown. He does not know what is documented, and whether everything „was in vain“. Why the postponing? Why the ritual of a single shot? The discreet charm of instant photos, same as the facts of their origination, point at a story much longer and much wider than the process of producing an instant  image.

In a certain sense, Sanvincenti’s instant photograph is a permeable membrane from the beginning of this narration. It contains all of the limitations that made it suitable and acceptable for recording the imprints of the fringe area. This time the fringe is posited between night and day.

In order to fully understand this Sanvincenti’s work, one should recall the true nature of each, including the instant photographic image. A photograph is a turning point, because it disputes duality through an entirely mechanic process of image’s origination. In this manner the solution of dualistic understanding of the world was found, hence new civilization is new also for the fact that after the photograph appeared it lost the manoeuvring space between spirit and matter, i.e. was liberated from the dilemmas of spirit and body.1

The image that was not manufactured manually and bears no mark of master’s spirituality as mediated by his hand’s trace, clearly shows it is possible to produce a print without a touch. And this is contradictory to the very concept of imprinting!

In his early-morning instant photographs, Davor Sanvincenti arrests that missed segment of the spectrum. Sometimes it is the  presence of the night in morning light, at times it consists in  too high or too low frequencies of the landscape vibrations, or of the yet unawake parts of a coming day. Therefore he shoots a single instant photograph, and therefore he does not watch immediately but later on, when the day forms entirely. The ritual of long walks in unknown landscapes, of shooting a single photo, separation from the stable reality of an ordinary morning at a place known, altogether strengthen the permeability of a membrane! The interesting thing is why does Sanvincenti’s open consciousness render an instant photography more sensitive to the frequencies outside of the ordinary visible spectrum?


 Tekst je bio objavljen u katalogu samostalne izložbe Before the first light, održane 20. 6. – 8. 7. 2012. u Galeriji Rigo u Novigradu.



1 Dimitrije Bašičević, Consequences of the Photography, 11th Digression on Culture and Art of the 1970s, form a catalogue of exhibition Innovations in 1970s Croatian Art, GSU, Zagreb, 1982,  pg. 85.

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