Place, Memory and Matter
An interview with Toti Carpentieri, the curator of the exhibition
SEVEN ENVIRONMENTAL WORKS
RETRACE THE ALCHEMIC JOURNEY
OF THE BURNING KNIGHTS
Given the habit of always returning to the scene of the crime, either to erase traces or to find new clues, we are not surprised to find the curator of the exhibition, Toti Carpentieri, at the Castle of Gallipoli, wandering among the seven installations by Armando Marrocco that make up the “Cavalieri ardenti” (“burning knights”) exhibition. So, we seize the chance and ask him some questions.
AT THE HEART OF THE ARTIST’S PRODUCTION
THERE IS AN INEXHAUSTIBLE CURIOSITY
THAT CONSTANTLY PUSHES HIM BEYOND
How did the idea of this exhibition come into your mind?
From some conversations I had with Raffaela Zizzari and Luigi Orione Amato, who were then working to an exhibition on lamp oil and the leading role of Gallipoli in its production and trade since the early sixteenth-century, as well as from the knowledge of the role of lamp oil as a medium and message in Armando Marrocco’s works.
What are the structure and identity of this exhibition?
Obviously, the exhibition is structured in line with the axioms of Armando Marrocco’s creativity: place, memory and matter. These three elements are the pivots around which our original exhibition revolves, allowing the artist to wonder about his own role and his works to communicate with the observer in an immediate, reflective and complex way.
Which works have you chosen and how?
In line with the historical-critical screening of the artist’s whole journey, which started some time ago, we identified seven environmental works that represent the development of Marrocco’s constant investigation into anthropology and sacredness, art and science. These works, which were done from 1971 to 1992 (memory), clearly refer to the history of the castle (place) and to the use of lamp oil and fire (matter). They have been showcased in a number of places and events over the years, and are now put together in the rooms of the castle.
THE EXHIBITION STEMS FROM THE ANCIENT LEADERSHIP
OF GALLIPOLI AS CAPITAL OF THE LAMP OIL
THAT ILLUINATED THE WORLD
So, what is this exhibition really about?
This show is an act of revealing. It starts with the Sogno (“dream”), with the prophetic fluctuation of strips of cloth that are blown by the hot air of the fire; continues with Marrocco’s large bronze and marble Scudi (“shields”); the many “guardians of the Temple” (Guardiani del Tempio) that populate the castle walls; the dazzle of the Cavalieri ardenti (“burning knights”) and the tongues of fire of the Tenda del Convegno (“tent of the meeting”) and of the Luogo del ritrovo (“gathering place”); and ends with the light of Aurora (“the dawn”), which is understood as the “time of real dreams, when fears are dispelled”.
In your opinion, what is Armando Marrocco’s best quality?
Undoubtedly his inexhaustible curiosity, that is, that personal urge to go beyond what exists and is possible, in an attempt to answer questions and clear up his infinite doubts. He set out on an evocative alchemic journey that approaches nature and its energy through artistic creation, exploring and understanding the links between art and science.