Andrea Barberini is an artist residing in Italy, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. After discovering the collage book of Max Ernst, Une Semaine du Bonte, he set out to create a book of his own using a similar collage style. He created the background and characters for his tale from images he found in the Encyclopedia of Diderot and D'Alambert from the XVIII century--the first encyclopedia in history. From there, he cut and pasted illustrations "according to my mood and fancy," using anatomy books, history books, and anything else he could find. After several years, he decided that the book should have a text, and he created this fictional "autobiography" with its very surreal flavor. I discovered the book when he made a video of it on YouTube, under the screen name "shivabel." On his page, he has also made available generous selections from several artistic texts, such as the Ernst collage book and also the Codex Seraphinianus (Luigi Serafini), and the Parallel Botany (leo Lionni), setting them to music with great sensitivity. His YouTube Page is thus a great resource.
His Mitobiografia, followed by a translation of the text and some of its images, is here:
"The Mitobiografia is totally imaginary, so please consider every reference to facts or persons, first and foremost my person, as merely casual or arbitrary.
1- In the beginning was the fortuitous meeting, in front of a respectably bourgeois house, between a slime of liquid fire and a naked snail. Never far away was the archetypal sacrifice of the young supplicant.
[The liquid fire and naked snail are sexual symbols, their meeting leading to a birth. This is the recurring cycle of life: birth and sacrifice...]
"In Front of a Respectably Bourgeois House..."
2- The scream of the sacrificed froze the world for the eternity of a moment.
3- Little by little, I felt myself swelling and expanding past what seemed possible, while confused yet tangible presences insufflated me with the breath of life.
4- The shapeless being that I had become was then cheerfully tortured by pitilessly well-intentioned persons; they carefully and attentively used obscure and secret devices about which only they were knowledgeable.
"Pitilessly Well-Intentioned Persons..."
5-My seraphic mother was blissfully unaware of the tragedy of my childhood.
"My Seraphic Mother..."
6- Every morning, at daybreak, my severed head watched its executioner break my body to pieces in a constant, repeated nightmare.
7- The environment in which I grew up came out very soon as a place of perdition, an ambiguous den for degenerates where, behind a mask of respectability, the most vile and vicious persons arranged to meet.
8-One day, i took advantage of the inattention of a guardian and i ran away into the wild, far away from these horrible places.
9-I was welcomed among wild and thoughtful persons. They offered to me a nourishing meal and a contagious joy. For the first time in my life I felt I was happy.
10-But I was discovered and, sadly, I was forced to return to my house. There, I took advantage of the frequent quarrels of my parents to devote myself to obscure trades which allowed me to explore my true nature.
11-Irresponsible and presumptuous friends continually harassed me during the hours i dedicated to study, urging me to think more in line with what would help me attain a respectable job.
12-Anxious and naive, i warmed myself at the flame of Truth burning my fingers and, feigning indifference, i tried to hear the pressing questions of the Cosmic Mother. But, not a word from the silent oracle, nothing but incomprehensible noises.
"At the Flame of Truth"
13-Behind a mask of shadows, I wildly watched the obscene miracle of the temptation.
14-My anguish prevented me from showing to all people the innocence of my crime. Shy and childish, i hid myself in the most secluded places from the faintest hint of another's presence.
15-In these unhealthy paradises, the heavenly wine of ecstasy was ceaselessly distilled, and I drank of it to inebriation, a blissful victim.
16-But as soon as I closed my eyes I could clearly hear the words full of poison pronounced by a female voice. A sad and cruel lament. My head burned.
"My Head Burned"
17-Recovered from the fever, I opened my eyes and I was dazzled by Beauty. Mad with joy, I stripped myself of all decency, and crazy for passion, I was able to take Her away from Her prostrated parents.
18-She was my prisoner, and I showed Her pale and silent face to the few privileged only, stingily.
19-Restless, every day I questioned the mute simulacrum, the black mirror of my desire. And She questioned me.
20-I was satisfied even if I only observed her, happy and playful, in my study.
21- With time, i can only ascribe to a divine gesture the awakening of a new sensuality, more sweet, more delicate, which filled my heart with secret joys. I returned to life.
22-At last, we decided to set off to a long journey. But first we consulted the strange animal of a gipsy child. After hearing the response, we abandoned the last pretense, and we run, full of fear and desire, to the open sea.
23-The phantom of paternity was already waiting in my future's dreams..."
Recently, his sister visited some caves in Italy and took many magical photos, showing a natural landscape that could easily have influenced Max Ernst's famous "frottage" style, most clearly seen in "Europe After the Rain," and "The Eye of Silence." The video of those photos, set to music by Diamanda Galas, is here:
Max Ernst, "The Eye of Silence":