Seventh Cycle

Overcoming the Ultimate Limit State with the Mind

And then we found ourselves in the midst of a pandemic. This pandemic that is changing every thing in infinitesimal timing. And in this infinitesimal timing it’s also changing people. This pandemic, of which we only have uncertain and contradictory information, without apparent violence, has brought about radical changes, maybe irreversible changes that we must oppose. The consequences on our economy, on our social lives and on our culture will be serious and dramatic, but even worse shall be the damage on the essence of our humanity. We will have to save all of our energies in order to react to this, conscious of the fact that somebody will profit from dealing with such disaster. We shouldn’t be “resilient”, this is a terrible term that signifies the notion of being “submissive”. Instead, we should be “revolutionary”, all together. We shouldn’t allow anybody to transform the rights of people of certain concessions.


I began to think of one last series, the last series of my work that I named “Overcoming the Ultimate Limit States with the Mind”. The Ultimate Limit State, a term that in engineering indicates the moment that precedes the collapse of a building artefact. Even the psychoanalysis, later on, in the 70s, indicated the fine line between neurosis and psychosis, between mania and insanity.

This is our current mental and physical state of being. It could be our ability to reason that stops us from physically collapsing and from going insane. Therefore, due to current events I considered the words written by Pier Paolo Pasolini in the article “What is this coup?” published on the Corriere della Sera on the 24th November 1974: “I know. But I don’t have the proof. I don’t even have any clues. I know because I am an intellectual, I am a writer who tries to follow everything that happens, know about everything that’s written about, to imagine the unknown or the unspoken, who coordinates facts, even those that are far from us, who puts together fragments and unorganized pieces of an entire, coherent political framework that restores logic where arbitrariness, madness and mystery seem to rule”. We should make these words ours: “we know but we don’t have proof. We don’t even have any clues”.


They suspended our lives, they put an end to them, froze them, they killed our willingness to grow together, to progress together, to change together a “wrong” kind of society. They imprisoned us one by one in our body, our mind and in our soul without being bound by string nor chains that hurt and to which one instinctively reacts with force and violence. They have wrapped us up in a soft spider’s web, so slight that with systematic and continuous progression, it prevents us from making even the slightest movement… before the spider comes.

Connecting Work

Demos cratos

We should consider democracy as a goal to reach even though, I’m not sure with how much good faith or how much ignorance, some Western politicians persist in defining ours as “accomplished democracies”.

I created a sculpture in travertine named “Demos Cratos”. It represents a partially defined face whose right side remains a shapeless matter whereas the left side lacks matter.

This is the face of “accomplished democracy”: the splinter of a complete rock, incomplete and uncompletable. This work connects the series “What Remains of the Development” with “Overcoming the Ultimate Limit State with the Mind”.

Sixth Cycle

The Short Term Governs the World

Each series follows and intersects one another without ever coming to an end. I follow one logic: understanding the problems and the facts from which problems arise. I attempt to represent them in my work as an artist. One must start from here to mark an alternative antagonistic, artistic and cultural path. I follow the logic behind emotions and reason, not the kind of logic that has no soul: that of numbers, percentages, algorithm, statistics, fake conveniences of the spread that decides for everybody. An artist cannot find satisfaction in presenting their own formal experiments, effects caused by events or own existential condition as works of art. Since 1947 the entire art scene has been entirely conveyed and managed by the political nature of”power” through less democratic tools available to us (For example the episode of abstract expressionism and the C.I.A). In this historic moment, art itself must be political, creating content through the works and more. Artists must put politics in the strongest sense, in their works. The entire artistic production that isn’t inspired by this principle, which is extremely important to me, must be considered outdated, diminished to a simple piece of decoration or to a terrible financial operation run by rich people for the rich people.


“What Remains of Development” is the series that consists of my latest works. The installation “Suits and Steel” is the most representative work in the series. A work dedicated to the population in the south of Italy: Taranto and its territory that, in the name of “development” was seriously and perhaps irreparably damaged. But the work must be considered universal because what happened to that city happens worldwide nowadays. And then? How should my work continue?


I was driving my car listening to a programme on the radio when the programme was interrupted: the “Morandi” bridge in Genova collapsed, entirely, in a matter of seconds. It was an apparently unpredictable tragedy that is still not properly appreciated neither in it’s grandeur nor in terms of human lives. I studied architecture in the seventies and I remember extremely well that in technology class we had studied and analysed that engineering construction to the finest detail. We had studied it especially for the technical innovation used (prestressed reinforced concrete) that enabled the construction of daring structures. In about 60 years, the bridge went from an example of modern technological conception to an entirely shapeless mass, “informal”, a pile of messed up rubble: iron and cement that isn’t put together by a combination of complex mathematical formulae anymore, but a pile of chaos that imprisoned human life.

It wasn’t difficult for me to pinpoint straight away a close relationship with the iron and steel plant of Taranto. Because after all, after sixty years, even that had become an example of development, of growth and wellness within a tool of death and destruction. Sixty years are less than the average life of a human being, they’re less than one “moment” in a human’s life. How is it possible that despite the progressions made by mankind over the last 200 years the effects of this progress were resolved in a mad sense of self-destruction? Simply because it was never about true progress, but about the development of the technologies.

If you don’t support the development of technology with an adequate growth in thought, it will inevitably result in damage. Nowadays it’s the short term that rules the world because it’s “profit” that rules the world. Profit requires quick results in order to make sense. In the last two centuries “profit” appropriated every expression of human life, influencing it. It even contaminated art. This is what led to my latest series, following on from the previous one and connecting with every other series I created (The Social Animal, The Construction of Destruction, Resisting Beyond and Saving Oneself from Shipwreck).


Men don’t know how to be forward-thinking. They don’t know how to think full stop. One condition, this one, that didn’t appear so natural was caused in exactly that way. The nowadays infamous “dominant class”, more and more scarce from a numerical point of view yet richer economically and, unfortunately, stronger politically, in order to continue to be so, to maintain and increase the power it has, must call off any critical capability of others and obtain their consensus.

In order to do so, one must begin with the oblivion of history; if necessary one should delete it from one’s mind or modify it arbitrarily depending on one’s particular interests. If you delete the memory of an individual, you delete the same story.
That’s how you get rid of their capability to relate to others, their critical capability and with that, their way of thinking, of planning the future, of understanding the process in order to change it. They will only respond to immediate requests and those shall be elaborated by those who have the power in their hands. Everything will be inflicted through subliminal messages scattered about with the new and refined digital technologies. It shall have to stem from the same dominant class that will manage the population’s disapproval only to steer it according to their own necessities and later narcotize it, empty it out into the petitions that made them who they are: no violence, no apparent repression, only the manipulation of awareness.

Connecting Work

The Big Paper

This work is in defence of the Italian Constitutional Charter. A sheet of paper that had been both torn out and moved by a strong wind. Tarnished by both clear and undefined stains that represent the clumsy and dangerous attempt to prevent the fulfillment of the fundamental principles, modifying its subsequent sections. The work has been placed as the connection between the series “What Remains of the Development” and “The Short Term Governs the World”.









The photos in this gallery are by Maddalena Vestrella.

Fifth Cycle

What Remains of the Development

I was born in Puglia and I am extremely fond of my land. I spent my childhood there and I have returned many times. My mother was from Martina Franca, a town not far from Taranto. This series stems from the memories back then to the memory that followed.


When I was a child, Taranto seemed to me like a strange city: two seas, a swing bridge, a pile of floating golden stones that divided the small sea from the open sea. Surrounding this was the colour green, coloured by the farms and olive trees. And then the fishermen with their wooden boats. Those were the sweet memories of Taranto.


I hadn’t returned for many years, even if I had spent most of my summers in Puglia. In fact, it was in 1964 during one of my holidays that my uncle suggested we take a trip to Taranto. I found this city had transformed, it was almost unrecognisable, chaotic. Cars and motorbikes crowded the streets, as did the sounds of engines and hooters. A chaotic city. You couldn’t detect the scent of the sea anymore. It had been one year since Italsider, Italy’s largest steel producer, had begun manufacturing. I returned to Taranto in 1978 as a young architect, for work-related reasons. As I set foot in the city I felt anxious and disoriented. What was the sense of those areas so close to the steel mill?


I couldn’t comprehend. Perhaps I should have been prepared, I knew very well what had happened and what was happening and maybe I could have imagined what happened consequently to that city, to which I returned towards the end of the 90s and again at the beginning of the 2000s. I came from Martina Franca by car. It was evening. I stood watching from the top of a hill that descended towards the sea. Taranto didn’t exist anymore. I saw hell made up of fire and smoke. The largest steel mill in Europe had eaten up the city, the countryside and drunk the sea. I walked back to my car and turned back. I didn’t want to erase my memories. They had to stay there. Now I just had to study in order to understand, activate my memory.

I began to think of the series “What remains of the development”, to the largest steel mill in Europe, first Italsider, then Ilva, now Arcelormittal and tomorrow, probably, nothing. I began to work.


Next to the structure two other monsters puffed out poison: the petrochemical plant and the cement plant. Why was there so much fury towards that city? Taranto is the example of what remains of the development. As Pier Paolo Pasolini mentioned, the “development” was to be compared to “progress”. The first focuses on technologies whereas the second, on humankind and their thoughts. As you study the history of Taranto’s development, you get the feeling that there, and I’m not sure how unintentional it may be, an experiment has been carried out: to verify the tolerance of mankind: can one go beyond life for work? In Taranto, people get sick – not only the workers but also the children: respiratory problems, heart problems and tumors.


As a result of the demon-factory 40.000 secular olive trees were cut down. What can stem from such a massacre?


The series is made up of different works. The central one is an installation: “Suits and Steel”.
It’s made up of ten panels each of which feature a lacerated metal sheet, tarnished with oxides and acids and set on fire. These are the suits of the workers who, after their work shift, deposit them in a sort of clearing room before entering the showers.

I treated the metal sheet in such a way as to appear as a rough anthropomorphic drapery to the observer. But also as the elegant, innocent and tormented soul of who wears those suits.

The ten panels have been inserted in just as many oxidised Cor-ten steel chests that represent the workers’ buildings; red like the poisonous powders and built just behind the plant. Other works from the series: “Twelve Sick Papers” and “What Remains of the Development”.

Connecting Work

The Grand Arches of the Fraternité, dedicated to Thomas Sankara

It’s a tree that has almost been uprooted and dried up by the negligence of mankind and climate’s hostility. The tree bends, it pulls, it almost breaks as it tries to touch the floor with its branches and becomes, anthropomorphically, a body (like Sankara’s), supposedly lifeless. But from that body, from those branch-arms that pierce through the dry earth, like marcot, stems a new plant. A monument dedicated to an African man who indicated the direction of development, not only to his own people, but beyond. He was born in Upper Volta and died in Burkina Faso in an attack carried out by the Western authorities.

In 1983, the year in which Sankara became president, construction began in Paris for the “Grande Arche de la Fraternité”, a monument dedicated to humanitarian ideals which concluded with its inauguration in 1989, two years after the assassination of Sankara. The work is a controversial reflection on how the rich world, in particular the western world, perceives freedom, fraternity and equality among humankind. Today, the “Grande Arche de la Fraternité”, perhaps due to a subconscious sense of embarrassment, is known as the “Grande Arche de la Défense”, and it’s the largest business district in Europe. It connects the series “Saving Oneself from Shipwreck” and “What Remains of the Development”.

Fourth Cycle

Saving Oneself from Shipwreck

Two works: “Detachment” (2002) and “Black Waves” (2011), already present in the series “The Social Animal” and “The Construction of Destruction”, launched a new series “Saving Oneself from Shipwreck”.


The theme of the Grand Exodus, or better still, the deportation of the southern population towards the north already moved me in 2000, but the true, dramatic nature of this event came to light at a later time and October 2013 marked one of the worst shipwreck episodes when just off the coast of Lampedusa, 388 people died.


This event spurred the central piece of this series named “The Black Island 2013 Annus Horribilis”. It’s a polyptych made up of twelve tiles which represent each of the twelve months in 2013. As I created them, I placed myself in the visual position of the migrant, aware that the small black dot, the Island of Lampedusa, a representation of hope for the migrants, is in fact, simply a ship sailing in the same storm.

Each tile caption the month, the year, the number of disembarked individuals and the number of deaths. This is how I wanted to underline the strange fact that not one single European Politician asked him or herself nor tried to understand why, in January 2013, 227 people disembarked and, nine months later, 9200 disembarked; yet it was evident that these numbers hid one reality: The unstoppable phenomenon of migration.


Through their work artists tend to ask questions, not provide solutions. And it was clear to me that, what appeared to be the exodus of desperate human beings who escaped from wars and famine in the beginning , was actually becoming a current, true mass deportation.


In a world that has been globalized by new capitalism, in which the focus shifts more and more towards the riches in the hands of a few, it became necessary to also globalize the workforce. I created other works in this series that I later presented in the exhibition “Saving Oneself from Shipwreck” 2016, Rome.

Connecting Work

The Venus of Palestine

This work connects the series “Resisting Beyond” and “Saving Oneself from Shipwreck”. It is dedicated to the civilians who died at war. The body of a woman in Palestine, land that has not seen peace in a long time. A body wrapped in a distorted, metal shroud that covers her face and pierces her stomach. A body laid on an altar which too had been violated. A body that emits a sense of sensuality in the meaning “a desperate vitality”.



The first photo of the gallery is by Afra, the others are by Massimiliano Ruta.

Third Cycle

Resisting Beyond

This concerned the idea of identifying personalities from the recent past who had an important role in opposing dictatorships and fighting for the liberation of poorer social classes.


I wanted to highlight certain, lesser known figures, who have declared the importance and the necessity for humankind to fight for freedom and progress, taking into consideration their own reactions as an exclusive bonus.

I created six works dedicated to these characters: “Louise’s petticoat” for Louise Michel, “Errico’s Black Wings” for Errico Malatesta, “Like the Wind in the Storm” for Amilcare Cipriani, “The Knocked-over Door” for Giuseppe Gracceva, “Dangerous Galleries” for Pietro Cocco, “Giacomo’s Three Roots” for Giacomo Corcella.

Connecting Work

Black Flag in a Suspended Cage

A flag is not a flag if it doesn’t move freely in the wind. This black flag, coloured with the colours of anarchy, the highest and most utopian ideal of freedom, is desperately waving solely in its memory. Closed in a cage that, on the contrary, it can only move by following only a few routes that have been defined and imposed by mechanisms studied specifically to allow simple and limited degrees of freedom. This work is the knot that ties the series “The Construction of Destruction” to “Resisting Beyond”.