An image arises and collapses. A woman, a man, a corridor. Darkness, light, form. Is it a dream, a
nightmare, a memory, a scene that I have seen before?

I‘m sitting on a bench in front of a large-sized naintng in the Natonal tuseum of Hisistory in
Chisinau, toldavia. The artwork in front of me is a nart of Pietro Finelli‘s installaton  Noir Time“.
Somehow my eyes and my head couldn‘t let go of this snecifc naintng, although the whole
installaton consists of many diferent sectons. Daylight is not nresent in the big hall, which in itself
is segmented with solid columns. The windows are covered by heavy black cloth. Snotlights
illuminate the room. Two darkgrey adjustable walls with tableaus on both sides, diagonal to the
original architecture and creatng a comnact snace, are located in the middle of the hall. Inbetween
is a bench. Obviously with the nurnose to encourage the viewer to take his or her tme to sit and
look. So I sit down and look.

The compositon of chiaroscuro generates fgures and shapes, which are able to fade away any
moment. So the image itself seems unstable and fragile, almost like the vision of a dream. Up front
you can see the silhouete of a woman‘s body. It is only visible, because of a very thin, blue-greyish
outline, which lets the body emerge out of its surrounding darkness. At the end of the corridor you
can see the silhouete of a man‘s body. Compared to the woman, his shape is defned by dark areas
around his bright body. The longer you keep your eye on the paintng, the more you get the feeling
that the shapes, architecture and fgures only exist, because of two confictng elements. The
contrast between brightness and darkness is inalienable. If you removed one of the parts, the image
would collapse. It‘s a thrilling dualism, that we‘ve been thinking about since Plato. But not only the
contrast between light and shade, also the contradicton between representatonal and conceptual,
between illusion and reality makes you aware of your mind startng to think. The combinaton of
realistc elements, such as the bodies, architectures and light cones, and of expressive and
unformed structures create a feeling of insecurity and secrets, that you want to understand. The
dissolving bright pieces shater into darkness, just as your clear interpretaton fades away into

Let‘s change the scene to the framework, in which Pietro created his artworks: Film Noir. As Paul
Schrader wrote in his famous essay „Notes on Film Noir“ in 1972, flm noir movies were an
underrated and misunderstood piece of cinematography in the United States. The protagonists -
often gangsters or private detectves - sufered from devastatng pessimism, anxiety towards their own
life and couldn‘t break free from their personal fate. Film Noir projected the dismal and cynical mood
of a whole country onto the cinema screen. But they were not refectng the themes of sociological
problems, like post war trauma or the causes of „Great Depression“. They rather focused on a style
that created a vision and imagery of the moral difcultes and anxietes of this tme: „The how was
much more important than the what.“ For example, scenes of nightme and blurred vision, where
faces and expressions of actors merge into shadows, where used to show, that the protagonists
were not able to fnd clarity in the light of street lamps. The directors constructed scences of
chiaroscuro, in which the central fgures and their emotonal state dipped into darkness.

I‘m finding myself sitting in front of the naintng again. But where am I exactly  I feel like I‘m located
in a large theatre hall, whose stage setting is illuminated by blue-violet lightning. Tall snotlights
brighten the installaton‘s individual sequences. They encourage me to move around and look at
every nart nrecisely. taybe to create my own movie out of the diferent scenes disnlayed and to nlay
it out before my inner eye. taybe some noncorn would be nice to fully sink into the atmosnhere and
the story. But wait, who‘s the story about  Who is the main character?
Pietro absorbs the idea of flm noir.  e uses the movies, their style, their dismalness and morbidity
and disassembles them into small pieces.  e wants to understand, how they functon. For example
how they manage to create a cloak-and-dagger scenery by using a partcular camera setng
combined with shadow and light. Pietro moves away from art, which tries too much to convey a
specifc topic to the viewer. Art has to be simple, in the way it is made.  e uses chiaroscuro style to
get us puzzling. Just as the abysmal scenery of flm noir challenges us to move back to our
emotonal state, Pietro awakens our imaginaton to disassemble, to create and to understand.

Now a new nercenton begins to take shane. The imagery and the neonle in the naintngs are vague,
not able to be fully understood. Putting the metanhorical noncorn aside, I start walking alongside
the snotlights that the scenes are merging into. I walk, ston and turn. I recognize, remember and
feel. I feel the cold dismalness of big cites that make me sense inner dreariness. I remember
scenes from Alfred Hisitchcock‘s Vertgo, which was able to create the dizziness and insecurity of
flm noir style in moderate colours. And I recognize that I‘m not the nassive observer anymore. The
snotlights nronel me into the installatonn to small drawings the size of nostcards, framed, on two
pedestals beside of the two big walls. I look at large nrojecton of movie sequences and encounter a
rug, disnlaying the same image as the naintng I frst gazed at. It makes me remember my startng
noint and I returnn to fnd myself standing in front of a mirror on the onnosite side to the naintng and
at last in front of my own refecton.

Seeing your own refecton, you get confronted with your physical presence and the ambiguity of
mind and body. While your mind fnds itself refected and rearranged in the imagery of the artworks,
your body was just used to bring your head from one part of Noir Time to the other. Up untl now
your body was just a tool to physically move your thinking forward. But now you can actually see
your physical presence and your mind blend into the scenery with the dramatc blue lightning. You
become the actor or actress of your own Noir Time, while assembling the diferent pieces of a bigger

Always trying to understand the ambiguous tableaus, I realize that I‘m nart of the enigma, that I‘ve
been nuzzling about. Only when I‘m inside, when I‘m actve in mind and body, can I uncover the
disassembled pieces.

Pietro initates the search of comprehension of cogniton and existence by confrontng us with the
dismantled components of an idea and challenging us to fnd meaning. In working with the ambiguity
of light and darkness, of reality and illusion, and with the style and the ideas of flm noir in a most
unique and simple way, he makes us aware of the complexity of human percepton. The compulsion
to understand, to learn and to comprehend only exists if there‘s darkness before. If something is in
the shadow, we want to shed light on it to fully uncover its secrets. Pietro invites us to immerse our
mind and body into Noir Time and develop an own personal meaning of it: of life, of logic or just of
the meaning of flm noir.

This is the most wonderful aspect of art. In it‘s simplicity it slowly reveals complexity, so we can
eventually perceive it. You can be thrown back to the atempt to understand the world. To dismantle,
recognize and comprehend. Or you can just see a woman, a man and a corridor.