Building Sights

254 The story of the evolution of humankind is also the story of great construction sites. Over thousands of years, pyramids, castles, fortresses, cathedrals, and all the buildings resulting from civil and military engineering have created communities, cities, kingdoms, and empires, defining spaces that before then had been borderless. They instituted frontiers that subsequent constructions would break down, driving people to “found communities.” The photos that Edoardo Montaina has taken for Webuild in recent years, crossing geographical and cultural frontiers, bring to light this ancient meaning of our being in the world as “forming forms.” An interweaving of dreams and intelligence, driven over the century by an atavist yearning to build. Montaina went beyond the ever new conceptual and visual frontiers. His trajectory is akin to a river capable of flowing in different riverbeds, capturing the best opportunities to be able to flow out toward the open sea of expression that is free, instinctive, emotional, yet rigorous, narrating the objectivity of complex phenomena discovered in the life of a construction site or in the building phases of decisive works, that can change the flow of goods and people so significantly as to have social, economic, and geopolitical repercussions of historic bearing. Montaina’s photography evolves within a voluntary “seclusion.” It takes its distance from the fads and the debates to conduct research in the field; this is made easier by the fact that construction sites are closed-off worlds dominated by their own progressive and process-oriented rationale, by specific timescales and ways, in contact with the seasons and meteorology. Montaina’s goal is to rediscover the purity of the child’s gaze that once was, to go in search of an ingenuity of the gaze that will allow him to enter the construction site and be amazed by everything. The history of photography and of Impressionist, Cubist, and Surrealist painting remain at his disposal should there be a need for loans or inspirations to try out with the camera once he has arrived in the places whereWebuild works. The effort of the work joins the pride of the faces of every race and nation. People smile, on those sites, they look into the camera with pride, or amusement. The consistencies of the building materials are often the protagonists of the pictures thanks to which the author explores the intrigue of the ephemeral geometries and architectures that are created during the building phases. Color is his most important ally. Montaina often tends to capture in the forms and the tints of reality certain geometric and chromatic compositions byway of a sublimation treatment thanks towhichwe can actually touch—through vision—the invisible structure of the real. If you observe the construction site on the frontier where work encounters contemplation, it offers a vastness of details and visions that make it a forest of symbols, a book made up of signs and sensations that Montaina’s shots render in an integral way, constituting together a great metaphor: that of human existence and its widest and deepest destiny, the destiny common to our species. Man is at the center, the master of everything by now. We live in the Anthropocene which imposes new challenges, while with preoccupation we celebrate perhaps the last conquest: that of a new horizon that depends on our choices, especially on the industrial and productive policies of the greatest nations. In this book, multiple stories cross paths and the photos stimulate reflections. The Works of Edoardo Montaina NICOLA DAVIDE ANGERAME