Echo has a claim


“…sed, quod sinit, illa parata est exspectare sonos, ad quos sua verba remittat”  

(Ovid 3.377-78)

”…and so she waits for what her state permits:/ to catch the sounds that she can then give back/ with her own voice”

This was the state of the nymph Echo, after being cursed by Juno, for helping Jupiter cover his infidelities. Echo could only express the others’ words, with her tone and voice though. She leaned towards the world around her and melted herself in to the others. Echo is alterity without identity. She consumed herself for being rejected by Narcissus, her bones transformed into a cave and her body into a lost voice.

In my work and in the daily life, I spend hours looking at other people’s faces. I read their expressions and like a sorceress I capture every subtle tension of their body, the quick wiggle of their eyes, the involuntary movement of their facial muscles, the crease of their mouth. In the relationships I gather all these data and produce a response in a millisecond that looks for a way to their heart. This magic has a high price though and every time this happens I lose a piece of myself. The more I observe the others’ wills the more I ignore who I am.

Thus I thought it was time to bloom into a Narcissus. According to Tiresias’ prophecy, Narcissus would have died if he would have known himself. And this happened with a simple gaze, when he looked at himself and he finally knew about his essence, his beauty. In his self-obsession he is full identity without alterity.

Likewise I decided to turn a careful eye to myself and recapture a little piece of my own land. I observed my face, indulging in it, and tried to read every wrinkle and shadow. The judgment is suspended, for some time I only explore and regain acquaintance with myself, not detecting what happens around me and only focusing on me . From the darkness, this self-portrait came on the surface.

It is a self-portrait without masks.

Echo is claiming some space and she wants to be herself, for a little while.


self portrait

Self Portrait without masks

June 2018

Watercolour on paper

20×27 cm


All images © 2012 2018 Rosanna Gaddoni

All rights reserved



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