Der Läuterungsberg/ 9ter Gesang

German photographer Werner Pawlok offers a modern-day visual analysis of Dante's The Divine Comedy that is beyond mere Illustration, adding an extra dimension to the Italian poet's classic verse. Pawlok created an entire series of Images to complement the Dantes Commedia project, a collection of 33 specially composed songs on three subjects: heaven, hell and purgatory. The first 13 of Pawlok's poetic Images feature in his Dantes Commedia catalogue, each plate published beside an excerpt of Dante's poetry. The photograph above is one Interpretation of purgatory. It appears accompanied by the words of Dante Alighieri: "These with the want of power perplex the will. With them thou haply mights return beneath. Or to and fro around the mountain's side. Wander, while day is in the horizon s h u t."

Photographic work on Dante's "Divine Comedy" is the subject of Werner Pawlok's picture cycle.  The Divina Commedia is a tale in poetic images which should primarily be formed in one's imagination and can only be dealt with as examples of elements from reality.  The subject-matter of Divina Commedia consists of metaphysical visions which can only be represented in allegorical images. Werner Pawlok has taken suitable pictures from the text of the Divina Commedia.  He cites these passages and construes analogous metaphors representing these linguistic visions.  The Divina Commedia itself provides the context, whereas latter remains relatively fictitious.  This is the exact prerequisite which prevents this picture cycle from becoming mere illustration since sufficient interruptions are provided between each lively and aesthetic realisation.  Hence, associative transfer from picture to picture is made possible along with personal involvement;  it is even possible to disassociate individual pictures from the overall context, and to view this as a single picture.  On the whole, the choice of colours, subject-matter and picture elements convey the same basic ideas in terms of content, as does the cited part of the text.  This does not involve uninspired reproduction - which would again be a matter of mere illustration - but rather involves the possibility of associating with the contents of the text.  This present artistic work is the start of Werner Pawlok's analysis of classic literature and poetry.  Therefore, his works on the Divina Commedia will be further complemented until an extensive work cycle has been developed.

BLACK + WHITE, Australia June 1999 No. 37

Bildübersicht Dantes Commedia von Werner Pawlok