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Aporìa: Antonio Marras in New York

A site-specific installation inspired by an ancient land, depositary of old traditions, culture, and values.

An ancient land rich in knowledge and legends and crafts that converge and intertwine in Antonio Marras' work. 

SU PER LE ANTICHE SCALE is a work climbing up the staircase wall of the Italian Cultural Institute in New York made of ceramic, threads, and woods created to emphasize, underline, enhance the stairs of the famous building.

Discover the site-specific installation
On the occasion of the XVII Giornata del Contemporaneo, Italian Contemporary Art promoted by AMACI with the support of General Direction for Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry of Culture and the collaboration of the Directorate General for Cultural and Economic Promotion and Innovation of MAECI.

The artist and designer Antonio Marras has created a site-specific installation entitled “Su per le antiche scale" (Up the ancient stairs), unveiled to the public on December 6th. The opening hosted the performance “Andando Restando” (Going while staying) choreographer Marco Angelilli, based on drawings by Marras himself with Gabriel Da Costa and Francesco Napoli and the voice of contralto Maurizio Rippa, produced by 369gradi - AMINA>ANIMA (Soul) Project - Regione Autonoma Sardegna.

The rigor of the loom, a rational and orderly tool, is an essential tool in last century Sardinian houses. The passionate neurasthenia of ceramic is crafted by instinctive and unrestrained hands that move as if guided by a distracted god.

Oxymoron and apory are the key elements of Marras' work and part of this installation. An orderly and bright layout contrasts with the anarchic and undisciplined dimension of the elements incorporated. There is a dissimilitude between discipline, rhythm, and harmony in contrast with the passion and instinct that the scattered objects communicate.
Antonio Marras is attached to the loom, a tool preserved in the history of his land and, by the legacy with the Sardinian artist Maria Lai, a dear friend, a muse, and a protector. The love for myth and story combines with craftsmanship, for the warm irregularity of everything handmade.
SU PER LE ANTICHE SCALE is a multifaceted, three-dimensional, and material work. Wood and ceramic are objects bound by black threads that imprison and hold shapes like a spider that captures its prey in its web, wraps it. It appropriates it but does not destroy it; quite the opposite, it preserves and protects it.

Ceramic is shaped as sprawling hands like jellyfish with threads joining other pieces of ceramics in the shape of books or strips. The threads draw maps on the white wall like perpendicular, parallel or diverging streets. Angles and intersections create encounters and continuations to get to where it all begins.

It's the tale of memories entangled in the plot, held in the knots of the thread, like the memories of lives that migrate, take on new forms but do not lose the ties with their roots. It's an ancestral tale that speaks of paths, journeys, sufferings, and torment. It's a story known well to those who left and have become an "island." It's the desire to go and to stay at the same time. It's the desire to explore, investigate, search. It's the desire to return.

It's the desire to learn what's beyond the sea yet bringing with us "su connottu" what has been learned from the great old men, what each of us holds inside. We who have roots but are not trees, so we keep wandering laden with all our things so that we don't forget because we are witnesses of the time.
After all, Maria Lai used to say:" Man needs to put together the visible and the invisible, that's why he creates tales, myths, legends, feasts, celebrations, songs, art "(1999)
The performance follows the same themes of "Up the ancient stairs," giving life to the sentiment and strength of the actions.
A path that is also the impossibility of giving precise answers to a problem with two possible, although opposite, valid solutions: roots and restlessness, attachment, and the need to move away.
The first song accompanying the tiring journey of the two migrants is "Lacrime Napulitane” (Napulitane Tears). They wear heavy leather jackets that cover them but do not keep them warm. They are loaded with suitcases tied with torn and knotted white cloth but are empty.
The ties are sheets; they are kitchen towels; they are part of the home kit, a simple but precious material. The only wedding gift of poor women. And men go, across the ocean, between vicissitudes and tests of courage and tenacity.
Sardinian, Italian, European, African, Latin, Asian, and citizen of the world. Light and shadow. Order and disorder. Body and spirit.

The first song accompanying the tiring journey of the two migrants is "Lacrime Napulitane” (Napulitane Tears). They wear heavy leather jackets that cover them but do not keep them warm. They are loaded with suitcases tied with torn and knotted white cloth but are empty.
The ties are sheets; they are kitchen towels; they are part of the home kit, a simple but precious material. The only wedding gift of poor women. And men go, across the ocean, between vicissitudes and tests of courage and tenacity.

The last act is "The farewell." Goodbye from where? For where? It's the dream of going while staying.
Performance based on drawings by Antonio Marras
Curatated da Valeria Orani
Coreography by Marco Angelilli
With Gabriel Da Costa and Francesco Napoli
Contralto Maurizio Rippa
Produced by 369gradi - AMINA>ANIMA (Soul) Project- a round-trip journey to discover and reveal the universal value of Sardinia through contemporary art and cultural exchange
(PO FESR 2014-2020 - Azione 3.4.1 Bando IdentityLAB 2 – Regione AutonomaSardegna)