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6 metal grates, 3060 wires of organza, staples, cable ties, air flow 7~15m/sec 600 x 200 cm (236,4” X 78,8”)

july 28, 2012 - h 3.00 pm Corso Garibaldi 116 - Milan (site-specific installation) Website: Facebook: Vimeo: YouTube: © 2012 Manlio F. Tartara per ProvocActionArt

The breath of the city

The breath of the city, 2012

graphics : domenico sestito

Contrary to the legitimate need of a great part of art that aims to leave a mark on its own time, The breath of the city has an ephemeral nature. Its non-temporariness is given by its non permanence, or rather its appearance and disappearance without leaving any trace. In general, public art always gives rise to sentiments of fragility and transience, since it is often removed by authorities or is the victim of vandalism. The behaviour of The breath of the city instead evokes a delicate perception of “urgency”: although no ticket or any booking is necessary to enjoy its presence, the concomitant participation or fortuitous connection is, from its brief period on stage, after which the same surrounding environment is brought back to its original state. The realisation happens in a “borrowed” space, one which does not belong to art (and especially to sculpture), although it is there where it takes form, as if to celebrate, yet again, the 21st and 33rd articles of the Italian Constitution which, respectively, exalt the «[…] right to freely express […] thoughts in speech, writing, or any other form of communication» and the liberty of the «arts and sciences».

Three large areas of artificial turf – realised in organza – move in the “wind” of air coming from the Milanese underground. In that wind is the breath of tens of thousands of people who travel and live in the belly of the city everyday. The series of installations, The breath of the city, are not localised in a terrain vague where urban artworks (above all of a certain size) are usually able to be housed. The detournement of a municipal mechanical structure – in action with the change of air, like a sort of artificial lung – happens right in the heart of the centre of Milan. In its disarming simplicity it is precisely this “breath” – after having kept the passengers of the underground alive in the entrails of the earth – that feeds the movement of over three kilometres of blades of grass, up to a metre tall, which rise and stretch towards the sky. They dance and caress each other reciprocally with enchanting complicity as if it was a real lawn. The image of evocative lyricism that is drawn, although abstract, and the ancestral suggestion that is sensed, invite us to reflect on how much we are aware and willing to accept, everyday, the unnatural artificiality of the environment we live in.

The breath of the city is an installation that requires observation in action, to reveal an intimate interpretation.

The breath of the city (english)  
The breath of the city (english)  

[site-specific installation] 6 metal grates,3060 wires of organza, staples,cable ties,air flow 13~29 knots. 236,4” X 78,8” (600 x 200 cm)...