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L’uccisione di Priamo

L’uccisione di Priamo
Video, sound 00,17,04 min
2015

 

In August 2013, due to technicians’ negligence, a masterpiece of Neoclassic Italian art has been destroyed, i.e. Antonio Canova’s plaster work, L’uccisione di Priamo (Priamo’s Murder), created in the late ‘700. During the removal from the wall where it was attached for preservation, the artwork crashed into the floor, breaking in pieces under the incredulous eyes of the technicians. In this project, a Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machine – a tool able to convert a digital design into an object, engraves and digs the contours of the Canova’s work destroyed in 2013, reproducing the masterpiece in all its details. The machine follows a computer generated digital path, whilst the robotic arm with its rotating tip sculpts the artwork’s shape, in a gesture similar to that of a musician reading the notes in a pentagram. Through a series of algorithms the machine generates the coordinates, which represent the mapping of the lost sculpture. However, in this specific case, the machine’s activity does not solve any mathematical problem. In fact, the only certainty that gradually manifests is the absence of a solution. Without a concrete result, everything is vain and the outcome is only a sculpture of nothingness. Hence, the vulnerability of the work takes shape through its memory, i.e. an intangible matter. An object, a gesture, an idea make sense when they are materialised, becoming witnesses in time, historicised to be present and immortal. On the contrary, if lost or forgotten, it is as they have never existed. Priamo’s drama is the story of a man who assists to the vanishing of all his efforts; a man whom ideals collapse, due to a series of events he is not responsible for.