Alessio Pellicoro: Abisso / Abyssus

Alessio Pellicoro: Abisso / Abyssus


GUP Author

Antonino Barbaro


Abisso / Abyssus




Hardcover, 250 x 210mm, 76 pages



‘Abisso’ (‘Abyssus’) by Alessio Pellicoro (b. 1994, Italy) provides an unexpected rendering of the shoreline running through Salento – the hometown of Pellicoro, who is experienced in exploring the intimacy of urban landscapes and local traditions of Southern Italy. His debut book is loaded with personal memories, but this time Alessio decided to explore the area at night – when the things that he is already overly familiarised with become estranged from their everyday context. 

The abyss is, by definition, “a bottomless space enclosed within itself and into which no light can reach”. It is dark, frightening and never fully explorable, eluding any attempt of accurate description. More figuratively, it is a mental space in which we’d feel lost, lonely and in desperate need of resurrection. The abyss is a border between our consciousness and the unknown, a place in-between land and sea, where the ground meets water like emotions meet rationality. Sadly, there is no clear understanding of such an abyss. Will it ever vanish? At some point, though, and with some courage you might start to explore its width and depth. This is when a new (and perhaps even life-changing) understanding of the Self can appear.

Pellicoro set out to uncover what underlie the well-known places of his childhood, off the coast of Salento (Italy), in the night’s darkness; an introspective journey aiming at discovering the self by confrontation with the rocky surface of a shore when it is least visible with the naked eye. For the artist, who has frequented these places on a daily routine throughout his life – locations where he found rest, fun and calm – the familiar surroundings then become to be seen as uncanny surfaces once the sun sets and darkness takes over.

Equipped with a variety of flashlights, gels and UV lights, he documents a landscape that is deemed non-existent: a nightscape of geological mystery, vegetal fluorescence and biological enchantment. The result – designed by Klim Kutsevskyy and Martha Micali, and printed on a selection of three different papers – is a compact volume that contains a vivid recollection of unearthly atmospheres that speak straight to the viewer’s core, an invitation to look deep into one’s personal abyss to uncover what lies unseen below the frightening stillness of things.

Alessio Pellicoro started a Bachelor degree in Photography at the European Institute of Design in Rome (IED Rome) in 2016, graduating with honours in July 2019. Currently he is a student in Advanced Photography & Publishing at ISIA in Urbino (Italy).

Antonino Barbaro is a multidisciplinary artist whose documentary-based and experimental work sits at the intersection between various media. His production involves photographic images, film, 3D, archival research, and text. Antonino holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Milan and a MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the London College of Communication.