• anaesthesia abenavoli akina
  • anaesthesia abenavoli akina
  • anaesthesia abenavoli akina
  • anaesthesia abenavoli akina
  • anaesthesia abenavoli akina
  • anaesthesia abenavoli akina
  • anaesthesia abenavoli akina
  • anaesthesia abenavoli akina
  • anaesthesia abenavoli akina


Valentina Abenavoli


“Anaesthesia is a lament of several voices, a symphony of the evil in us, cinematically edited screenshots from videos, an engagement with the media, an open criticism to war and terrorism, a declaration of neutrality, an act of rebellion to the ego, where one stands alone prevented to feel anything else beyond his own finitude.
Nothing would be more painful than not suffering anymore, dropping the burden of sensations, withdrawing from living and bonding. In the lyricism of the agony of mind, in the longing for a break in the inner solitude, what is more ambiguous than the desire to feel others? When confronted with others, personal pleasure as much as personal pain become absolute and universal. What remains is the love for horror and the horror of love.”

a book curated and edited by Valentina Abenavoli

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Product Description

“Anaesthesia presents us with moments of horror; it unflinchingly confronts ‘us’ with ourselves and our modes of encounter with others. It seemingly demands that you—the viewer-reader—engage with spectacles of violence and ask who your ‘self ’ might be such that it desires a clear separation from the apparently monstrous ‘other.’ The work is haunted by the suspicion that horror might be the name we give “to the perception of the precariousness of human identity, to the perception that it may be lost or invaded, that we may be, or may become, something other than we are, or take ourselves for; that our origins as human beings need accounting for, and are unaccountable” (Cavell 1999: 419).
In short, the editorship of moments of horror announces the fear that we may be vulnerable to the
recognition of our own monstrousness in scenes of annihilation and with it, the precariousness of the distinction between self and other, ‘them’ and ‘us’, ‘good’ and ‘evil’. If horror is indeed what is at stake, is it any wonder that we would rather not experience it?”

from the foreword “The horror of love” by Veronique Pin Fat


“Wounded, swallowing blood and sperm, being digested without even realising and spat out again. This is how broken the moral monster is. The Leviathan crawling within all of us. To understand evil is to accept human finitude. Perpetrating immorality is a prerogative of the impossibility of comparing oneself to another, of truly finding oneself close to another.”
Interview appeared on Photocaptionist

“When the perception of the other happens filtered (by laptops, tablets, mobile phones, TVs, printed paper), the first experience of empathy falls in distance and gets accustomed to the short attention span the news are usually absorbed with. In the case of a terrorist attack in a Western city, the same news is adorned by the typical elements aimed to provoke the required empathic reactions: obsessive and private images, repetition and emphasis, personal details of the victims, sounds and voices for videos.”
Interview appeared on Urbanautica


“Anaesthesia stands as a thought-provoking book, and its cinematic flow is both troubling and mesmerizing. It smartly interleaves rhythms of images and ideas, balancing the push and pull of thinking about and reacting to its disturbing content. In the end, the notion of original authorship is secondary – Abenavoli has crafted a harrowing journey out of these scavenged fragments, creating an intimately unsettling experience”. Review by Olga Yatskevich for Collector Daily

“The fact what sits between my hands is rumination on real events makes me feel nauseous. I am haunted by the weight of this responsibility. There are several moments throughout the book where I shrug my shoulders in despair: “This is not a world I wish to be a part of” I hear myself mutter. The bitter truth of Anaesthesia is that it’s real. There is no turning away because the images stay with you like a tenacious stain. This book makes me angry at the state of humanity and this is an emotion I have never experienced with a photobook”. Review by Laura El-Tantawy for Phmuseum

“This book is hard to go through, in that sense that it makes unbearable the horror that has anesthetized us for too long. We can consider that this is the ultimate book, the aestheticism as a book (the book is beautiful) about horror, forces us to look at reality in the face: this duality is also ours. This book enters, for me, instantly in the category of major works”. Review by Christer Ek

“Anaesthesia is a sharp and emotional enquiry into our relationship with war and terrorism through the filter of the media. Abenavoli uses screenshots from videos that she amplifies and lays out along the pages in order to restore the horrific charges of the images that we consume on a daily basis”. Review by Magali Avezou for Yet Magazine

“By far the most impressive work I have seen using YouTube footage, it is personal, political, and sensitive. It takes on the tropes of violence, the image and the global paradigm of our violent nature and needs, that inhabit seeing the results of our executions, collectively”. Review by Brad Feuerhelm for British Journal of Photography

“Valentina Abenavoli publica un libro negro, que nos deja sin aliento. Cuestionando la autoría con imágenes sacadas de diversos medios de comunicación en la web, nos coloca frente al terror , la violencia y crueldad, el mal.  Imágenes de guerra y de tortura frente a las cuales no podemos escapar. ¿Somos capaces de sentir dolor , entendimiento y compasión? ¿Como reaccionar al flujo de imagenes de horror que vemos a la largo  del día,  anestesiados , incapaces de sentir humanidad? ¿Somos nosotros mismos parte de ese mal?” Review by Gabriela Cendoya (in Spanish)

“C’est du grand cinéma, une symphonie musicale, une lamentation, mais c’est surtout la réalité, la nôtre, celle qui touche notre propre rapport à l’horreur, à la guerre, au terrorisme, et ça fait mal. “Anaesthesia” de Valentina Abenavoli : une chirurgie visuelle le coeur à vif.” Review by Nathalie Hof for OAI13 (in French)

Una serie de placas en negro con una línea de texto en la base de cada una dan comienzo a Anaesthesia.
Hojas en negro como opuesto metafórico de la hoja en blanco.
Valentina Abenavoli elige la apropiación como modo de documentar.
Selecciona y deconstruye extractos de documentales y noticieros que pueden verse en línea. Review by Manuel A. Fernandez for TURMA (in Spanish)

Un viaggio a ritroso alla ricerca delle radici del male, demistificando lo scontro di civiltà, oscuro specchio perverso della sovraesposizione mediatica alla violenza da cui ogni persona è quotidianamente assalita e consequenzialmente anestetizzata all’altrui sofferenza. Article on The Mammoth Reflex (in Italian)



JEST, Torino (Italy) 27 Oct – 13 Nov 2016 “Anaesthesia” – Solo Exhibition
CCCB Centre de Cultura Contemporania Barcelona (Spain) 17 March – 27 August 2017 “Photobook Phenomenon” – Group Exhibition
O3ONE Gallery Belgrade (Serbia) Belgrade Photomonth 7 – 17 April 2017, “Uncensored Books”, curated by Natasha Christia
Fotobookfestival Kassel Best Books 2016, Istanbul Photobook Festival, 28 – 30 April 2017, Group Exhibition
VOID, Athens (Greece), 22 June – 6 July 2017, AMORE, curated by Natasha Christia – Solo Exhibition
GETXO, Photo Festival, Getxo (Basque Country, Spain), 30 August – 30 September 2017, “Anaesthesia”, curated by Monica Allende – Solo Exhibition
PHOTOFUSION, Seen Fifteen Gallery, London, 8 September – 1 October 2017, “Burning with pleasure”, artists’ book exhibition, curated by Archipelago, Magali Avezou, Group Exhibition
MEDPHOTO Festival, Crete (Greece), 15 – 24 September 2017, “Uncensored Books”, curated by Natasha Christia

Best photobook 2016 for Laura El-Tantawy
Best photobook 2016 for Gabriela Cendoya
Best photobook 2016 for Mariela Sancari
Best photobook 2016 for Yumi Goto
Best photobook 2016 for Federica Chiocchetti – The Photocaptionist
Best photobook 2016 for David Fathi
Favorite photobook 2016 for Rémi Coignet
Favorite photobook 2016 for TIPI Bookshop
Best photobook 2016 for Brad Feuerhelm on The British Journal of Photography
Best photobook 2016 for Lars Willumeit for Kassel Photobook Award 2017
Shortlisted for the Photo-Text Award for Les Recontres d’Arles 2017