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Salvatore Arancio, Où le soleil recompose sa géométrie de lumière (Where the Sun Recomposes its Geometry of Light), 2012, ink and colored paper on book page, 9 7/8 x 7 1/2".

Salvatore Arancio

Rowing

Salvatore Arancio, Où le soleil recompose sa géométrie de lumière (Where the Sun Recomposes its Geometry of Light), 2012, ink and colored paper on book page, 9 7/8 x 7 1/2".

For his 2012 artist’s book, Wonders of the Volcano, the Italian artist Salvatore Arancio reprinted a work of nineteenth-century popular science, transforming the engravings that illustrated it into geologically implausible fantasy landscapes, the better to bear out the promise of the book’s title. Though fanciful, these modifications are in keeping with the character of the text itself, which is filled with purple passages and makes no pretense at objectivity. Geology and exploration may have been heralded as ways of understanding the world, but they are also, paradoxically, ways of perpetuating its mystery. Arancio’s interventions mirror and exaggerate the responses of awe that are elicited and manipulated in such “scientific” representations, suggesting that they have always been present in the natural sciences.

Wonders of the Volcano was available for perusal in Arancio’s recent

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