The sublime is an aesthetic category described as a controlled fear that draws the soul, present in qualities like the immensity, infinity, emptiness, loneliness, or silence. It expresses, ultimately, a feeling of pain, distress or fear, that join with the awareness of our smallness and weakness in front of the immensity and the chaos.
“The passion caused by the great and sublime in nature, when those causes operate most powerfully, is astonishment; and astonishment is that state of the soul in which all its motions are suspended, with some degree of horror”, with this words Edmund Burke defines the concept of the sublime on his aesthetic treatise A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). In it, he pragmatically examines certain physical aspects of nature and its effects on the mind, to try to explain the situations that produce in a man the sense of sublimity.
Maselli, in this photographic project, appropriates some of these concepts to develop his own investigation into the sublime; such elements like the vastness, the darkness, the hugeness, but especially an attribute that Burke called artificial infinite, which it is the succession and uniformity of the fractions; in other words, an element that is repeated many times in a constant and uninterrupted configuration generates in the viewer a sense of infinity. To get this effect, Maselli spends several days in the mountains, making vibouac and taking pictures of the same mountain range from various angles and later, in his studio, he rebuilds those parts into a new landscape, imaginated, trying to get, through the repetition of these images, the artificial infinite effect and dealing with the concept of the sublime as was defined by Burke and the chance of translating it into the contemporary artistic language.
In order to reach these inaccessible places the photographer had to take several courses in mountaineering and trained hard in order to load all necessary equipment to perform these lonely climbs. The Artificial Infinite series is therefore the sum of a conceptual and physical labor, in which the artist lives close to the essence of the virgin nature -one of the few places where it can still find the concept of the sublime in its purest form – and where he manages to instill in to the viewer, through this large format montages, the experience of the sublime, starting from an invented nature, which is artificial but also infinite.