Piazza Centrale of Rionero in Vulture, 2012


My project entitled ‘Steps’ is an homage to Giustino Fortunato and to the famous ‘Manifesto of antifascists intellectuals’ written in 1925 by a group of Italian intellectuals (Benedetto Croce, Sibilla Aleramo, Corrado Alvaro, Giovanni Amendola, Antonio Banfi, Piero Calamandrei, Eugenio Montale, Luigi Einaudi), which also included Giustino Fortunato. The manifesto, written as a response to to the manifesto of ‘Fascist Intellectuals’ lead by Giovanni Gentile, expresses the urgent need for a democratic conscience: “the present political struggle in Italy will have the effect, for reasons of contrast, of renewing and making more deeply and more concretely understandable in our people the beauty of liberal orders and methods; it will make our people love them of a more conscious affection”. The same need for knowledge and affection towards those who wrote this text has moved me to propose this project, which has amongst its ambitions also that of making Fortunato’s work circulate more widely. The project is divided in three parts correspondent to the three areas of the Piazza, each aspect of the work synthesising aspects in the figure of Giustino Fortunato: antifascism, southernism, and the educational factor.
The idea has its genesis in the observation of the works on the piazza, which have almost been completed, and in the thought that this piazza can somehow remind us of a huge blackboard of black stone, upon which it’s possible to write, to make notes, to intervene. So for the first of these three works we will substitute ten paving blocks with ten sheets of ultra-clear crystal, soldered to each other at high temperatures. Each element will be the same size as the removed paving stones, and each one will be composed of various strata upon which, etched, will be the names of the intellectuals who signed the 1925 antifascist manifesto. Etched onto various levels, the names will fuse together forming a mass of names (41, to be exact) which seems to come to the surface from the depths of the piazza itself. The bottom of each crystal element will be fitted with a mirror, which will multiple the names, giving the sense of a sort of temporal depth which comes from the past and projects itself towards the future. Giustino Fortunato’s name will occupy a single element by itself, whereas the other forty will inhabit the elements in groups of five (five names per crystal sheet and mirror).



The work takes its place in amongst a series of installations which began in 2003 at Padula Abbey and which continued in various other locations (Novalesa 2003, Bologna 2005, Florence 2006, Pesaro 2007, Rome and Benevento 2007 etc); each piece in the cycle has a strong relationship with history (in Caesar’s Forum, Rome 2007), with politics (in Tito’s Bunker, Sarajevo 2013) or with art (National Gallery of Modern Art, 2011). ‘Gli Ori’ has recently published a volume chronicling the cycle so far.
Each and every moment in the cycle is realised with the same materials: security mirror, differently stratified each time (like history) by way of special materials, and layers of ultra-clear crystal treated in an oven in order to modify its structure through a process of thermal shock. All the material is held together by various layers of PVB plastic, the material normally used for anti-shatter glass; this is so that no detail of the glass can be removed from the uniform mass.