La Repubblica promuove lo sviluppo della cultura e la ricerca scientifica e tecnica. Tutela il paesaggio e il patrimonio storico e artistico della Nazione. (art. 9 della Costituzione della Repubblica Italiana)
polystyrene’s sarcophagus, metal scaffolding 260x240x220 cm
view at the exhibition, Museo Riso, Palermo – American Academy, Rome
“..Italy owns 65% of the artistic heritage of the world ..” All this sounds quite rhetorical and disarming. One thing is certain: the estimated percentages are perhaps not realistic, but surely Italy owns a large portion of sites recognized and protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It takes little to realize how much beauty and culture we are surrounded by, beautiful landscapes rich in history stun our sight and traditions of the places “feed” our consciousness. From the deep south to the far north, there are many towns and cities rich in history. This makes Italy one of the nations with the highest percentage of historical and archaeological resource.From the ancient Etruscan and Roman examples, to the medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, modern and contemporary ones. This was one of the subject of discussion at our residence in Labico, in the course of a project that has compared convivial artists, curators and guests on various topics: landscape and agriculture, political, social and culinary liability. Unfortunately, experience tells us that, despite the wealth of history and traditions of which we have referred, the image of our country is not adequately promoted by a political power, distant and uninterested of the management of artistic problems to the point of reducing our immense cultural wealth to a postcard setting, weakening our critical skills “.. everything must change so that nothing changes.” [Il Gattopardo, 1958 – G. Tomasi di Lampedusa] The city of Pompei can be considered as an example of this insane policy. “Pompei” in the past was a flourishing Roman colony made rich from the export of oil and wine. The high level of economy and culture favored the attention and the taste for art (even erotic ones) and architecture, as evidenced by its numerous and luxurious villas. Pompei has come down to our day perfectly preserved due to a natural disaster that struck in AD 79: the eruption of Vesuvius Volcano. In fact, two thousand years ago, the rain of ash, dust and lapillus crystallized the city thus allowing its preservation to the centuries. This “miracle” is now in danger of being reduced to a pile of rubble thanks to a short-sighted policy, unable to protect one of the best preserved treasures of our past.
One example is the collapse in 2010 of the Schola Armaturarum, the school of gladiators, which occurred due to structural failure due to lack of adequate conservation measures. Inspired by these events and taking them to a metaphor, at the conclusion of my experience in Labico, I planned on doing a fragile and light sarcophagus, a small finding that mixes ancient history and contemporary realities, monument and radiography of a political and social landscape just like the city of Pompei, crystallized over time, and because of third-party negligence finally collapsed. My project is based on an examination of time suspended between past, present and future, which combines culture, tradition, education and responsibilities; some of the issues on which we have long debated in Labico, and that concerned me deeply, not only during the residency, but also and above all, time thereafter.