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A limited edition, gloomy illustrated book about a young boy who enters a grotto to stay there forever.
Published:
"Nella grotta" ("In the grotto") is my first illustrated book.
 
Loosely based upon the lost, same-titled story by the austrian psychiatrist Wenzel Aar, Nella grotta is composed by twelve short episodies in which twelve black and white linocuts illustrate the gloomy story of a young boy who enters the grotto "to stay there forever". There, in a timeless atmosphere, "in absolute silence and darkness", the boy explores an (inner?) world of disturbing events and characters.
 
The tale, of 28 pages, is written in Italian and comes along with a same-page english translation. The book is professionally printed on offset premium paper, and each copy of the limited, 90 copies edition is bound personally by me using a sewing-machine and discretely numbered on the last page. The silkscreen cover is hand-glued.
 
NELLA GROTTA 
by Vacon Sartirani
based on a tale by Wenzel Aar
with illustrations by Vacon Sartirani
english version's revision by Melanie Shann

15 x 22 cm
28 pages
Text in italian and english
Silkscreen cover
Hand-binding
90 numbered copies
 
The book in on sale at my Etsy store
Following are the twelve linocut illustrations. The captions are brief extracts from the actual english text.
IN THE GROTTO
"After an umpteenth quarrel with my brother, on the morning of the first of May in the year 1882, at the age of eleven, I entered the grotto to stay there forever." 
FOREIGN HANDS
"My strangled body laid for twenty years in the grotto, while my hands, detached from it, with their veins, were gone."
MY NEW HEAD AND MY NEW MIND
"Very soon some of my thoughts, my boldest thoughts, grew weary of that defeated skull, of that engulfed skull, and being allured by the novelty and vitality of my new head and my new mind, seeped into the flesh, the tentacles and the fog–swollen lumps, giving birth to a new brain and a new spirit."
THE DIVER
"With plodding aquatic movements, which looked ludicrous to me, the diver roa- med the grotto and investigated it deeply with the feeble light of an oil lamp. During one of these visits he managed to see me unmoving in the darkness."
THE LETTER
"[…] Then I made the mistake to close them in a box where, the fateful day, I found them all dead."
THE FLESH FLOWER
"[…] soon the sprout grew to the point of tearing apart my abdomen, and as soon as it was able to, slithering like a worm and with very pitiful spasms, it came out of me to take root in a particularly remote and damp corner of the grotto, where it immediately bloomed into a splendid flesh flower."
GENESIS
"They stayed away a very long time and on their return, I found out from them that they had traveled up to the dawning of the Earth. "
THE STUMP
"My new head and my new mind had laid their war trophy, my old skull, right in the middle of that stump and my old skull now on that stump overlooked the grotto as does a goblet on an altar overlooking a chapel."
THE LITTLE UNIVERSE
"I used to keep this little universe of mine hidden in a shoebox in the basement, so that my brother couldn’t find it, but on the day of my getaway my brother found it, and in spite or maybe even with envy he showed it to my parents whom angry, together with my brother, naturally ate it […]"
THE BEAT OF A GENUINE LIVING HEART
"The will to get rid of the vexing beat of that genuine living heart – every beat called me by name, and I couldn’t forgive it for having violated my refuge forever – was my only obsession for a long time […]"
TRAILS
"My parents had searched for my hands relentlessly, and began, as they should, by trying to decipher the trails that had always flowed from my brother’s eyes and mouth, but which always and invariably led to a dead end."
THE BLOOD MAN'S SONG
"[…] And so the music filled the grotto breaking its infinite silence."