That large hand with the writing “All is one” foretold the present
The city of Matera, which in 2019 was appointed European Capital of Culture, is free of time, as it holds the past and the future in a present of eternal suspension. It is no coincidence that last year it hosted Zyz Garden, an articulated monumental composition by Venetian sculptor Gianfranco Meggiato. This work, when we look at it in these times of pandemic, takes on the role of a prophetic interpretation of this period of extreme existential difficulty.
Think of the gigantic open hand that was placed on the Belvedere of the city. It is made up of five thousand bags that are coloured in the seven hues of peace; on them, there is a writing, “all is one”, in the thirty most spoken languages in the world. This hand, which for Muslims is that of Fatima, for Jews is that of Myriam, for Orthodox Christians is that of Mary and for Catholics is a sign of acceptance of those who are different, is above all a symbol of universal union.
A message of peace expressed in thirty different languages
In the centre stands an olive flower – a symbol of peace – whereas the six nimble and harmonious aluminium sculptures that rise in aerial lightness within the structure are precious food for hope. According to the author, they create a crescendo of emotions: The Meeting reaffirms that “life is made of meetings”; The Breath of Life is “an arch that stretches, a hint of DNA”; the Triad highlights how “the search for a balance between different components is inherent in our existence”; Beyond tells us that “we need to find the strength and courage to grow, to improve ourselves, to throw our hearts beyond the obstacle”; then, there is the invitation of The Fleeting Moment, “Life is a fleeting moment. Live it to the fullest because it will not return”; finally, The Flight states that “man cannot be satisfied with materiality alone, in order to feel alive he needs to soar high and grow spiritually, even and above all thanks to difficulties”.
We are now facing a precarious situation that involves the whole world and it is Art (with a capital A) that can suggest a solution that satisfies both the body and the soul. Meggiato says: “By its nature, art has to be rooted in its own time and find the courage to suggest a solution, in the awareness that the worst moments in our experience are the most important ones to understand and change”. After all, “we are all leaves of a same tree and, when the pandemic will be over, only a new approach to diversity will make us grow as a human organism”.
According to the author art guides us to overcome the most difficult events in our lives
So, art enters life; it interprets it and, in difficult times, it invites us to ask ourselves questions in order to discover and recover all those things that, in this frenzied age of ours, have been cancelled or constantly postponed. Today, we can open the drawers of our soul and see these hard times as “an opportunity for growth and enrichment”. From this point of view, the “great hand” of Gianfranco Meggiato, which opens to whole mankind, makes us understand that “all is one” – “we are all cells of the same diseased organism” and the physical and spiritual salvation of each of us depends upon the preservation of this belief.
Daniela Brignone’s opinion, curator of the exhibition in Matera
That Zyz Garden is so profetic
Simple words that take advantage of universal values and symbols in order to represent the great commitment of an artist who wants that each individual becomes aware of the most important global phenomena of our century. Gianfranco Meggiato speaks about the present starting from history and restating the social role of art, especially in exceptional periods such as the current one. A cry for union between people by virtue of a commonality that makes us aware of our common origins. “All is One” is the principle of all things, the message by which his latest installation, The Garden of Zyz, is inspired. A large hand was placed in the Belvedere in the Murgia Park, in an ancestral Matera (the 2019 Capital of European Culture). This is a hymn of hope. The hope that the individual vision will become a global vision; that superficiality and pettiness will be overcome and a social culture of coexistence will be born. An initiatory journey to discover the “principle” that was born in Palermo in 2018, on the occasion of the famous Manifesta 12 Biennale, with “Spiral of Life”, an installation that was dedicated to the victims of the mafia. Works that will continue their journey to other cities in the world, spreading their message.