Still life (natura morta): A passage / Still life (natura morta) un passaggio, 2010

A constructed aisle in the castle of Pico della Mirandola (Mirandola, Modena, Italy) offers the possibility of passing through a neo-medieval arch, its edges covered with 500 rose roses that I inserted, threading the stem into wetting sponge, letting only the flower be visible. The whole inner surface of the arch is covered by roses, for the duration of the exhibition (October 16th to November 25th 2010).

For those walking down the exhibition path the arch represents a necessary step; the passage is relatively narrow, the friction between the viewer’s body and that of the roses is unavoidable. The material reality of roses used for the installation (already demythologised when they are bought in bulk in a greenhouse in Emilia) is that of an industrial product, with a market that wants them produced in large quantities (in my research I discovered that there is no problem, apart from the cost, in finding quantities much larger than I used) identical to each other by color, size and size of the petals, a beautiful “perfection” as much as a seriality.

And the caducity, another poetic truism related to the rose, also has a prosaic implication, specifically economic: the commercial value of a rose decreases much more for each degradation stage – quantifiable around 20% a day – establishing a cost, instead of a profit, for those who need to “dispose” of it when it is unsold and faded.

In Still life (natura morta): A passage the progressive unstoppable stages of degradation, are due both to the time and the friction with the viewer’s body. In this way the viewers share the responsibility for the change, producing an ambivalent and uncanny feeling of pleasure combined with displeasure.

The 500 cut roses wither, rot, and dry out, but not necessarily all in the same manner: petals come off, change their color and smell, and also are dispersed into the environment, moving away from the arch, perhaps carried away by the shoes of a visitor.


(Presented at Dei Pico Castle, Mirandola (Modena), Italy during Oltre lo specchio curated by Elisabetta Modena, 2010)