Fulvio Morella's solo show, Romanitas, is the first exhibition of the Scripta? cycle curated by Sabino Maria Frassà for Gaggenau and presented in Rome at Gaggenau DesignElementi (Lungotevere de' Cenci, 4) until 31 July. A reflection by the artist on the future of human existence and, with the new work Oculus, Morella adds a further piece to his project. The intention is to direct our gaze elsewhere, looking beyond appearances.
An intaglio print in pure gold
Produced in a limited edition and embellished with a pure gold central insert, Oculus is an intaglio engraving dedicated to the Pantheon, enriched with an inscription in Braille (translated into French, English and Italian) that reads 'Not always eyes closed sleep, not always eyes open see'.
Homage to human genius
As Sabino Maria Frassà, curator of the exhibition, explains: "Fulvio Morella has succeeded in creating a work that integrates sight with touch to narrate the unparalleled Pantheon, the monument that has put human beings in contact with the heavens for thousands of years. The artist, in a manner consistent with his vision of the eternal return, thus pays homage to the human genius that has found its highest expression in the Eternal City".
Oculus source of light
The Pantheon is a symbolic place that often returns in the art of Morella, who had already dedicated the first of the works of the Blind Wood cycle to it. What makes this monument unique is precisely the 9-metre oculus placed in the centre of the vault (and in the work Oculus made even more visible by the gold insert): not only is it the only source of light, but it also constitutes a calendar and astronomical instrument: in the different seasons, the sun's rays reach specific portions of the building, tracing the equinoxes and solstices. Moreover, the vaulting reproduces a heliocentric system where the sun is the central oculus. The coffered motif, arranged according to five concentric circles, represents the then known and visible planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn).
The real challenge that Morella proposes is not to stop at the surface of the works, embracing a multisensory experience that allows us to discover what lies 'beyond the curtain'; he himself says: 'Even in the darkest moments we must remember that the human being has so many times been able to show all his genius in seeing beyond appearances. The Pantheon's oculus is a window to infinity and is for me today a metaphor for the possibility and necessity of seeing beyond our eyes, of being beyond and regardless of our limitations'.
Visits, open to the public, are by appointment only: firstname.lastname@example.org
telephone 0639743229, mobile 3711733120.
Photo credits: ©Francesca Piovesan - Courtesy Fulvio Morella, Gaggenau e Cramum