Pompei e Santorini ‘L’Eternità in un Giorno’
Scuderie del Quirinale, Roma. Oct 2019 – Jan 2020
Curator: Luigi Gallo
I am honoured to be showing Iddu – study in 60 degrees (2010) within the context of this high profile show in Rome.
Meticulously curated by Luigi Gallo, this exhibition portrays the horror of violent volcanic activity seen through the two not dissimilar eruptions at Santorini and Pompei. For the first time priceless treasures will be exhibited outside Greece from the excavations of Akrotiri, a thriving port city on the island of Santorini abruptly destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1628 BC. These Hellenistic finds will be shown alongside some of the most emblematic vestiges of Pompei, overcome by an identical catastrophe in 79 AD, 1700 years later.
The exhibition architects have skilfully created a series of intimate spaces, transporting the viewer back to different aspects of the two cities, each of which was buried in a few hours under tons of volcanic ash, paradoxically preserving them for millennia. To savour are the immersive reconstructions of environments, frescoes, jewels, furniture and everyday objects. These are sensitively juxtaposed with artistic works from Joseph Turner, Pierre Jacques Volaire, Renato Guttuso, Andy Warhol, Alberto Burri, Giuseppe Penone, Richard Long, Damian Hirst and myself demonstrating how volcanic activity has consistently nourished the artistic imagination.
Iddu connects to the show by way of its ability to place the viewer in close proximity to the volcanic crater to experience nature’s raw power, simultaneously balancing it within the realm of all four elements. Stromboli, where Iddu was filmed, is one of the three active volcanoes in that area – Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius, which are all interconnected.
The resulting exhibition successfully conveys the tragic experience and disappearance of these two once prosperous cities.