Mauro Staccioli is the protagonist of Intersezioni sixth edition.
Just like in the previous two editions, the project titled Cerchio imperfetto (Imperfect ring) will include two expositions: one at the Scolacium Archaeological Site and the other at the MARCA Museum in Catanzaro. Both events are curated by Alberto Fiz, the Artistic Director of the MARCA Museum.
In the museum are represented the Seventies through a selection of concrete works of art, while Scolacium Site hosts a monumental and especially exciting exhibition composed of a series of new installations created for the occasion by one of the most significant protagonists of contemporary sculpture.
As Alberto Fiz explains: “Intersezioni 2011 is a step forward in the creation of an event which is every year more and more ambitious. To design the large 10 metres high installations, the artist had recourse to engineering and architecture principles and employed them to create an exhibition that unsettles vision parameters. The Site history and memory are not external any more, but rather integrate into Staccioli's works. The place for archaeology and the one for contemporaneity are presented on the same level in absolute simultaneity. There is no before or after any more, but rather a here and now.”
The visitor is greeted by Anello Catanzaro ’11 (Ring Catanzato 2011), an 8 metres high and 12 tons weight sculpture in COR-TEN steel that the artist dedicated to the event, as the title shows. Through this work of art nature space and history space communicate and is established a connection between the olive grove and the Basilica devoted to Santa Maria della Roccella. The cross-eyed vision evokes the unity of the place. As Staccioli says: “Creating sculpture means to exist in a place”. This immanence inside Scolacium park is conveyed through a series of monumental works from which surfaces the essentiality of geometry.
The Norman Basilica itself, the most impressive ancient monument in the park, is the setting for another particularly difficult installation created especially for the event: Diagonale rossa (Red diagonal), a more that 25 metres long plinth in multilayer wood which crosses the nave and metaphorically breaks down the ogive on the front facade. It represents an ancestral mark showing the infinite line without renouncing its physical and material presence.
Another particularly significant work in Intersezioni 2011 is Cerchio Imperfetto (Imperfect ring), a huge 10 meters high red square with curved corners which re-establishes the borders of the Forum that was the central square of the ancient Minervia Scolacium. As a result of this artistic action the place undergoes a critical examination. The exhibition is titled after the work Cerchio imperfetto, which forms its symbol according to a research where a margin is detected between the platonic ideal of perfection and its fulfilment. “Language can develop only through imperfection and by doing so it avoids to freeze in a sterile and useless perfection”, declares Staccioli.
In the Forum are situated three 4 meters high rounds in concrete which create a synergistic area and unpredictable variations inside a space which recovers its dynamism through a linguistic alternation with many consequences. As Gillo Dorfles says, Staccioli gives birth in the park to a particularly significant wide range of signs.
The Roman Theatre as well is transformed through the addition of a large 15 metres high arch which evokes the semi-spherical pattern of the ancient building.
Alberto Fiz explains: “Staccioli never abuses of history, but rather traces and underlines it with a series of elements which seem to frame it in a time without time”.
This sculpture titled Da sinistra a destra (From left to right) stands out like the symbol of exchange, the peremptory crossing of a border in constant relationship with the world. The arch communicates with Prismoidi (Prisms), 11 sculptures described by Staccioli: “They seem to be dices thrown on the table in a casual manner to define the multiplicity of orientations and points of view in a bewildering precarious arrangement”.
Beyond to the installations in the Scolacium Site, the MARCA hosts an historical exhibition of Staccioli's works of art, a series of rare concrete sculptures, models and drawings focusing on the Seventies, the period during which the artist stood out thanks to highly provocative and often aggressive plastic experimentations which aimed at challenging the social system. Short after this period, was born the renown installation Muro (Wall) presented at the Venice Biennale in 1978. With this work the artist focuses on the impossibility to communicate by creating an access barrier to the place where art is: “My artistic education gains weight in the way I feel politics like a poetic reality, not like the praxis politics”, affirms the artist. He specifies as well: “The creation of a sculpture aims at finding the meaning of existence, space and time, giving a significant form to my and our landscape”. This statement seems to perfectly summarize Intersezioni 2011 project.
The two events, at the Scolacium Site and at the MARCA, allow the visitor to interpret the work of a great maestro, one of the few who remained faithful to the idea that art is the only great utopia.
In the previous editions, Intersezioni hosted some of the most eminent protagonists of Italian and international sculpture like Mimmo Paladino, Jan Fabre, Tony Cragg, Antony Gormley, Stephan Balkenhol, Wim Delvoye, Marc Quinn, Dennis Oppenheim and Michelangelo Pistoletto.
The exhibition is completed by a catalogue in Italian and English (published by Electa) of more than 250 pages which also includes historic pictures by Enrico Cattaneo. The catalogue displays also the installations at the Scolacium Park and at the MARCA Museum. In addition to the essay by the curator Alberto Fiz, the volume includes a wide analysis of Staccioli's artistic path by Lorand Hegyi, the director of the Museum Saint-Etienne as well as a critical reappraisal of the Seventies by Marco Bazzini, the director of Pecci Museum in Prato. The catalogue also comprises Claudia Mennillo's examination of the projects not carried out and the analysis of the significant discovery of the amphitheatre in Scolacium Site by the archaeologist Maria Grazia Aisa. Together with a selection of writings by Staccioli, the volume offers an interesting interview by Gillo Dorfles with the artist and a prophetical essay by Giuseppe Panza di Biumo on the relationship between the Italian sculptor and American Minimalism.
Mauro Staccioli was born in Volterra in 1937. The first steps in his artistic life are firmly linked to his teaching experience as well as to his activity as an intellectual and politician. After a period during which he experiments with painting and engraving, at the end of the Sixties he focuses on sculpture and especially on the relationship between art and society. In that period he conceives an original project which establishes a connection with space, both from the physical and social point of view.
In 1972 Staccioli develops the idea of organizing a series of “sculptures-actions” in Volterra; the exhibition Sculture in città (Sculptures in the city) marks a change and brings in urban areas what had been till then limited to closed spaces such as galleries and museums. Staccioli creates a sort of “sculpture-sign” which springs from the careful interaction with the place. The 1972 exhibition generates the event called Volterra ’73 which marks the beginning of a new way to interpret sculpture. This new approach is fully expressed in the exposition Lettura di un ambiente (Reading a place) organized in Vigevano on 1977, whose title itself states the principle. After a series of exhibitions organized in galleries and private halls, in 1976 and 1978 he is invited to the Venice Biennale. For the latter edition he creates the renown Muro (Wall), an eight metres concrete wall which obstructs the view of the access path to the Italian pavilion producing a critical and provocative sign. The Eighties open with a significant installation: A rip along the floor of the Studio Mercato del Sale in Milan whose aim is to provoke the visitors and make them think and get involved by crossing the work itself. After creating a large concrete installation in the park of Villa Gori in Celle di Santomato, Staccioli's work meets with increasing interest in the international scene. As a matter of fact, his “Idee costruite” (Built-up ideas) are required in Germany (Stadtische Galerie - Regensburg; Fridericianum Museum - Kassel), in Great Britain (Hayward Gallery - London), in Israel (Tel Hai), in France (ELAC - Lyon). During this period, the artist develops new plastic forms and gives birth to works which challenge static equilibria creating estrangement effects in the visitor. Some examples are the form in balance on the stairway of the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome (1981) and the large plinth suspended on the stairway of the University Gallery in Amherst, Massachussetts (1984) that was created for his first solo exhibition in the United States. Facing architecture and city space, he conceives new solutions by designing large turned over arches created inside the Rotonda della Besana in Milan (1987), in front of the Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci in Prato (1988) and in the main square of the Olympic Park in Seoul (1988). His activity in the States continues with an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego and a series of installations in the park of Djerassi Foundation in Woodside, California (1987-1991). These works are followed in the Nineties by new performances and significant displays, among which the one at the Shoshana Wayne Gallery in 1993.
In the Nineties the artist keeps on experimenting new shapes: Rings that bring out the landscape like in Ordino d’Arcalis in the Principality of Andorra (1991) and in Munich (1996); circles confined to the halls of Mudima foundation in Milan (1992) or in precarious balance like in Fara park in Bergamo (1992); and spheres that nearly metaphysically appear in Ozieri plain in Sardinia (1995). The artist establishes a deep and productive relationship with Belgium, where he is asked to carry out a work for the Fondation Européenne pour la Sculpture to be placed in Parc Tournay Solvay in Brussels (1996). Here he performs many installations in public and private areas, among which Equilibrio sospeso (suspended equilibrium) at the Rond Point de l’Europe in Brussels (1998). In the same decade, Korea fosters many public interventions such as the creation of the Contemporary Art Museum in Gwacheon (1990).
Staccioli's fruitful research recently materialized in numerous installations both in Italy and abroad: Lapiz Building in La Jolla (San Diego 2003) representing a steel beam which crosses the building facade, Taiwan (2003), Porto Rico (2004), Carrazeda de Ansiães (Portugal 2008), Voisins-le-Bretonneux (France 2008), Greve in Chianti region(Italy 2009), Parco della Cupa in Perugia (Italy 2009) e Impruneta (Italy 2009) where the artist employs terracotta for the first time.