As Simple as Your Life Used to Be
2007–2009
Proposal of four sculptures for an under-performing school in Rome. Each one is the result of a series of conversations held with elderly Italian politicians, on how ‘sacrifice’ might be visualised.

Image: Repeat Horizon, As Simple As Your Life Used To Be

Repeat Horizon
2007
Airbrush on oak slats. 250 x 280 x 5 cm.

Proposed by Emanuele Macaluso (1924), a prominent member of the Italian Communist Party and member of parliament from 1963 to 1992, when the Party collapsed. Speaking of personal sacrifice, Macaluso mentioned how ideals and ambitions are subjugated, and drew an analogy with trying to reach the horizon which eternally recedes into the distance. The resulting artwork adapts a mathematically derived visualisation of infinity by the geometrician Thomas Banchoff, for application on a series of window blinds that would span the length of a classroom.

Warm Hermaphrodite
2007
Aqua resin, airbrush. 15 x 80 x 10 cm.

Proposed by Oscar Mammì (1926), member of the liberal Italian Republican Party. He served as Minister for Posts and Telecommunications and was the author, of the infamous “Mammì Law”, limiting concentration of media ownership. Mammi proposed an hermaphrodite to symbolise the sacrifice Italy makes under its coalition- style political environment whereby laws rarely remain pure to their original inten- tions. A flower of the anthurium genus is chosen, which contains both male and female flowers in its characteristic single ‘spathe’.

School Netball Uniform
2008
Silkscreened fabric. Size 38.

Proposed by Giulio Andreotti (1919), three-time Prime Minster of Italy for the centrist Christian Democratic party. Andreotti spoke of sacrifice in terms of pre-meditated restraint – from a lifetime’s maintenance of an ‘appearance’ that would deny people insight into what his true feel- ings and thoughts were. He compared this to holding up a lit match and – rather than starting a fire – simply watching it, while it consumed itself. This emblem is applied to a schoolgirls’ netball uniform.

Portrait of Thomas Carlyle as a Climbing Wall
2007
Airbrush painting on paper. 100 x 140 cm.

Proposed by Giulio Caradonna (1927– 2009), who sat in Parliament from 1958 to 1994 as a member of Italian Social Move- ment-National Right – a neo-fascist party formed in 1946 by supporters of Mussolini. Caradonna believed it is a sacrifice to Italy and to the education of its young that the writings of Thomas Carlyle (whom he regards as a precursor to modern fascist ideals) are not widely published in their country. He spoke at length on the concept of heroic leaders focussing on ‘the will’. For the school climbing wall, which forms a profile of Carlyle, Caradonna wished for the handholds to bear a resemblance to pruned stumps – in a simple analogy of strategic sacrifice – sacrificing part of a tree in order that it grow bigger and stronger.

Portrait of Thomas Carlyle as a Climbing Wall
2009
Wood, cement, ral.
Dimensions variable (min. 400 ◊ 320 cm).

Realisation of climbing wall at Objectif Exhibitions, as part of solo exhibition Take a Bureaucratic Bow.

 

The School of Improvement
2007
Mini dv. 4'30"

A teenage couple at a secondary school in Rome: he seems distracted ( for his mind seems to be in the control of an unspecified political agency), and she – though smitten – seeks her best friend’s advice on whether she should sacrifice the relationship and turn him over to the authorities. What other choice are you left with when your lover’s whis- pered sweet-nothings sound suspiciously like John Robinson’s 18th century text, “Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All Religions and Governments in Europe?”

As Simple as Your Life Used to Be was commissioned by The British School in Rome & Objectif Exhibitions.