*Featured photo: Francesca Rossello Antill II inchiostro calcografico su mussola di cotone cm-90×20 metri @ZouhairBellahmar
For several years now, Todi, in Umbria, has made cultural offerings – from theater to contemporary art – a priority factor in the growth and development (including economic) of the territory and the community that inhabits it and that is not only increasing but also increasingly international. The investment in the contemporary has rewarded the administration’s courage, and today Todi’s is a highly attractive and dynamic reality, capable of enhancing the historical and traditional heritage while ensuring continuity and evolution into the future.
This lively context is also the setting in which the fourth edition of Todi Open Doors, the project conceived by Silvia Ranchicchio and Michele Ciribifera, kicked off on Sunday, August 28, with a great turnout of visitors. As in previous years, various curators and artists were invited to confront the hybrid spaces of the hallways of historic buildings, non-places on the border between public and private, and, at the same time, to experience and share the local reality during the residency that includes site-specific installations and precedes the opening of the doors to the public.
This edition also confirms the focus on artistic practices ascribable to the textile medium with the spaces of Palazzo Pellegrini, Palazzo Friggi Spazzoni and Palazzo Morghetti entrusted to Margaret Sgarra, who curated there, respectively, the installations of Laura GuildA, Giun.go Lab and Francesca Rossello.
A work with environmental dimensions that of Laura GuildA who redesigned the place through the intervention with the signage tape evoking the restrictions that followed the dissemination of Covid 19 that changed the function and usability of sites, even those once familiar; a traumatic shift in our perception of the world we inhabit and that surrounds us, a disorientation that has made us strangers to our own everyday life. The knot, the weave, the macramé with which GuildA modifies the architecture of the hallway by transforming a curtain into a fake door that leads nowhere or a chair into a seat on which one cannot lean return to the observer in an immersive dimension the ambiguity of the experience we have gone through, leaving open the reflection on how the events of the last two years have affected our existence.
The sacredness of water, on the other hand, is the theme of the installation by the Apulian collective Giun.go-lab, an art collective founded in 2012 and composed of Giuseppina Longo and Fabio Bianco. Mater, 630 km of wire has the form of a Madonna bathed in suggestive red light, a figure that takes shape from an electric wire that seamlessly defines its contours and emerges from the depths of the palace’s ancient well. Mother because of her ability to nourish life, to be indeed an essential prerequisite of it, but also an ominous apparition in the fiery light that alludes to the alarming condition of our planet’s water resources, the work celebrates the miracle of water that could ideally reach this source by flowing the 630 kilometers that separate it from Taranto, the two artists’ hometown and, alas, a land heavily compromised by pollution derived from human action. The multiple dualities of this work in which industrial material and natural matter convey the sacred and the profane, the placid flow of life and the threatening devastation of indiscriminate exploitation of nature, leave open the question of where the thread leads – really and finally – and what is the responsibility of each individual on the destination of this journey.
Instead, carpenter ants are the protagonists of Francesca Rossello‘s large installation, social insects that dig endless tunnels in wooden structures. With the refined grace that distinguishes her practice, the artist gives us back the hidden geometries of these infinitesimal labyrinths, a tribute to the wonder that nature holds in its most hidden folds, below the apparent surface of the landscape. Along a twenty-meter sheet of cotton muslin, a fabric traditionally used for baby bedding, Rossello brings back the forms of wood marked by the traces of the path of these tiny creatures to which he restores a monumental centrality, guiding the viewer’s gaze to the grandeur of small things. His research denounces the dangerous drift to which our planet is heading, the extraordinary and irreplaceable micro-universe of which unconsciously – but no less guiltily – human beings risk depriving the planet. He does so through a language that has its firmness and strength precisely in the whisper of levity.