Gabriele Maquignaz - The door to the afterlife - critical text by Philippe Daverio

The men who live up there are sometimes very different from those who live downhill.In the plains, between the rivers and the lakes, it is cultivated, produced, manufactured;and then it is necessary to look at the horizon to guess the ways of the trade. Further on, on the shores of the sea, one dreams of fleeing to other distant shores, and if all goes well, as happened to Ulysses, one wanders lost and finally returns home. In the ports and on the edge of the fields there are the big cities where riches, ideas and artefacts are exchanged. Everything happens between men. The men who live up there are stimulated towards a very different destiny: they look at the summits. They send their thoughts far beyond the ridges, beyond the rocks. They discover the sky as a necessary frontier and rise to aim at the clouds, or the blue, or the stars, or the moon. Their next of kin are those who live in the desert, are dazzled by the sun and then, in the cold, dry night, scrutinize the sky to understand the secrets of the constellations. They have in common the men of the ridges and those of the deserts a unique condition. They’re isolated from the others and rarely meet them. Ancient loneliness exalts them. And since they are deprived of urban distractions, they concentrate on the sublimation of their metaphysics. Because beyond the physical, beyond the worldly appearance, beyond the buzz, there is the beyond.The mountains of the valleys leading to Monte Cervino are very far from the plains of the industrious merchants, they are very close instead to the pyramids of Cheops or Teotihuacan, sharp reliefs of the horizon that the ancients have placed in the shape of a mountain invented in the solitude of the desert and the plateau. They are relatives of the cities that the Incas have laboriously built on the winding line of the Amerinde ridges. They hear the arcane sound of metals beaten in the ice of Tibet. Rarefied peoples who live higher than others raise issues that are no longer earthly.They understand rules and mysteries that connect the chthonian world of the underworld with the universe above them. They seem not to be afraid of it; their shamanic drive reassures them. They disregard the subtle urban elegances and devote themselves to the zoroastrian brutality of the supreme energies.