“Ulassai is an extraordinary metaphor, because it is threatened by landslides, like the world. At that time there was talk of the atomic bomb… universal landslides. And then this tape that arrives... but what does a tape mean? It does not mean anything, it does not claim, but there, in history, in legend, it is said that that tape gave a direction of salvation. And then the whole country does this work, give an image of the new world and of art. Because art is like that ribbon, beautiful to look at but above all it is a direction of salvation”.
Legarsi alla montagna, Maria Lai, 1981.
The Call promoted by the Stazione dell'Arte Foundation in Ulassai, the artist's native Sardinian town, with the aim of telling and sharing online, through an image, a text, a video..., interpretation of the landslide concept (read here). The invitation to participate was welcomed by many people, in the wake of Maria Lai's message who supported the need to courageously cross the depths of the soul, identifying new forms of dialogue and artistic expressions.
“When everyone expected to see me at work, I invite everyone to get to work” said Maria Lai.
According to the philosophy of both the Sardinian artist and Stefano Boeri, who have made sharing and participation an essential component of their work, the Call La frana is an artistic process that becomes a moment of shared reflection. It was in fact launched as part of the online exhibition ii albero (Be Tree) – close to inauguration (read here) –, which will retrace, for the first time in Sardinia, the work and philosophy of Boeri in dialogue with the works and poetics of Maria Lai.
The set of contributions received constitutes a choral story and a composite reflection on the landslides that characterize our age: from climate change to environmental disasters, from growing inequalities to the depopulation of entire territories, up to the current health crisis. A sort of archive of memory, a common heritage of ideas, thoughts and points of view, from which to start again to ‘mend the various fractures of the world’.
The most representative works among those arrived can be seen here.
Among the more than sixty contributions, some prestigious names of the Italian cultural and artistic panorama, including Valerio Berruti, Stefano Boeri, Matilde Cassani, Loris Cecchini, Leone Contini, Flavio Favelli, Giovanni Gaggia, Marcello Maloberti, Elena Mazzi, Alessandro Melis, Narcisa Monni, Marzia Migliora, Matteo Sanna, Eugenio Tibaldi, Luca Trevisani, Francesca Randi, Vedovamazzei e Virginia Zanetti.
Participation was also record-breaking in terms of sharing – remotely, given the problems that cultural institutions had to face due to the pandemic. With La frana, the bond and dialogue with the users of the Stazione dell'Arte through the Internet has been strengthened: it is the call of art, understood by Maria Lai as “flashing light in the darkness of the world”.
After activating alternative cultural programming on its multimedia channels, from Monday 18 January 2021 the Museo Stazione dell’Arte di Ulassai dedicated to the art work of Maria Lai has reopened to the public: it allows visitors to access its spaces, safely and in compliance with the instructions provided by the authorities in charge , to admire and interact – again in presence – with the Maria Lai. Fame d’infinito (Hunger for infinity) exhibition.
“Based on physical and intellectual accessibility” explain Davide Mariani, director of the Stazione dell’Arte, “the exhibition allows the viewer to grasp, through the use of different senses (visual, sound, tactile), the value of Maria Lai's work. The artist has been able to transform, with skilful mastery, his daily life into an experience of a universal character, creating works starting from the reinterpretation of myths, stories and legends of his land”.
“The use of metaphor as a means capable of revealing the profound meaning of the works”, concludes the director of the museum, “is an artifice constantly implemented by Maria Lai to bring art to people and is also found in this exhibition, in which the viewer is called to interact and find his own personal interpretation”.