Eternal Flame Mount Etna, Sicily, 2022.
Otherly surreal and romantic, Mount Etna’s landscape takes my imagination back to those early XVII c. travelers who ventured astray from their Grand Tour of Italy and found themselves wondering and walking on the lunar like landscape, filled with soft rolling hills dotted with black and red rocks. They would wonder what is underneath? The same conflicted sense of fear and excitement that terrorized and attracted humans from the beginning of time. Is this the place of fiery underbelly of mysterious the sub terrestrial world that birthed the many gods of Old. Where those the gods that defied the great stories that terrified humankind of the early days until today? The great mouths are the source of destruction and rebirth, they are the source of light and heat but also where the terror and the unknown lies and therefore fertile ground for storytelling. Eternal Flame is an artistic conversation on those alchemies and that fleeting moment of collecting the flame before turns into ashes.
The exhibition presented by Monira Foundation and Basaltika Cultural Association, is a two part exhibition with its first iteration in-situ at Mount Etna, Spring 2022 with the works by the artists Aleksandar Duravcevic and Giacomo Rizzo and its second iteration, off-site in NY Fall 2022 with the documentation works by Oriana Tabacco and Giacomo Rizzo.
Eternal Flame presents the work of two international visual artists in the surroundings of Mount Etna, one of the oldest natural heritage sites in the world. Such intervention is taken by the artists with respect and devotion to the volcano, understanding that this one is the source of all, ground, inspiration and even the materials used for their work.
Aleksandar Duravcevic’s proposal asks the viewer to slow down, seat and admire Mount Etna. By placing two benches right at the edge of one of the craters, Duravcevic’s presents Etna like the work of art, not his own. However, after a closer attention, the viewer can see that Duravcevic’s benches are shaped as two eyes, the eyes that see it all, the omnipotent eye. In them the text KILLING TIME is inscribed. A play on the simple fact of seating down and letting time pass. Providing a place for contemplation. On the other hand, Giacomo Rizzo has a much more direct approach to the site. He has gathered old burnt pieces of trees that he has collected, wrapped and carefully placed in strategic spots around the site; almost as a recovery act of the nature that has been lost. The bundles erect from the ground as homages to their previous lives. A relic combining Rizzo’s themes of materiality, surface and geography of the site. An acute mediation of the order of all things and the viewer’s place vis-à-vis what is real and what is not. Etna gives and takes away a constant, self perpetuating, circle of life.