La stanza di Penna (Penna’s Room)

Centre of Contemporary Art “Le Papesse”, Siena 1999

In the new Museum of Palazzo delle Papesse in Siena I exhibited a work started in 1992, but never finished. One hundred book covers in small dimension were created with cardboard covered in white calf-skinned parchment showing two painted flaps inside. The covers were laid on the floor in a completely grey-painted room and it was made inaccessible by an iron railing placed at the entrance to the room, shutting off the entrance door. The composition suggested the shape of a city seen from above in late afternoon twilight with reverberations of painting that reflected on the whitish surfaces of the parchment creating a chromatic bubble that filled the atmosphere. The only source of light was a single bulb in a tiny crystal lampshade hanging from the ceiling. The work was inspired by an image of the house of the writer Sandro Penna, seen in the film Umano non Umano by Mario Schifano where the writer appears surrounded by books and pictures scattered all over the floor. From this originated the idea of creating a library of contemporary Italian poetry bearing his name, a chaotic library without any order and without the possibility of distinguishing one book from another. The work was conceived as the introduction, the first step in creating this library.

preparatory drawings and photo of the exhibition

Ph. Fabio Cirifino (Studio Azzurro) and Giovanni Santi


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