Sam Durant’s “Propaganda of the Deed” exhibition at the Centro Arti Plastiche in Carrara examines the Marble City’s Anarchist roots __________ DATABASE, 2nd Edition, 2013


“Propaganda of the Deed. I protagonisti dell’azione anarchica” is the title of Los Angeles-based artist Sam Durant’s one-person-exhibition opening this Saturday at the Plastic Arts Centre of Carrara. The show is produced by the City of Carrara and the Cultural Association Ars Gratia Artis, and is part of the ambitious DATABASE project which wraps up an impressive year of activities this December 14th. Sam Durant’s sculpture exhibition goes from October 19th to November 25th.

The project “Propaganda of the deed” is inspired by the history of the city of Carrara, and its centuries-long relationship with marble – Sam Durant participated in the city’s 14th Biennale of Sculpture and was inspired to return with this show. In Carrara the artist became acquainted with the artisanal workshops and sawmills of Carrara, and delved into the city’s heritage, and the close connection which links the history of marble quarrying with the history of the Anarchist movement at the turn of the 20th century.

Many leading figures in the national and international Anarchist movement were in fact born in Carrara, among which Gino Lucetti, – who is known for his participation in a failed attempt against Mussolini, and from whom the “Lucetti brigade” and a square in the centre of Carrara received their name. Another important local figure was Renzo Novatore (from nearby Arcola), a Futurist poet and leading member of the individualist fringe of the Anarchist movement in the province of La Spezia.

These men, along with other important figures such as Errico Malatesta, Carlo Cafiero, Francesco Saverio Merlino and Marie Louise Berneri – who attests the key role played by women in the history of the Anarchist movement – are the main characters in Durant’s project, which returns to its roots, in Carrara, after having been displayed at other venues, including at MACRO, in Rome

A “history of deeds” which Durant freezes in time, recounting its protagonists and events through sculptures of busts and replicas of the cases once used to store dynamite – artworks made from marble which restore a sense of monumentality and historical value to this ongoing tale – the tale of an Ideal which becomes Action in the pursuit of Freedom.

Deliberately unfinished, these busts remind us of the utopian nature of the Anarchist ideology. The exhibition also features an area devoted to the Anarchist movement in Carrara, which includes a screening of the documentary film “Non sono l’uno per cento” (2006) directed by Antonio Morabito.

As requested by the artist, the plaques beneath each artwork feature the names of the artisans and workshop employees who made this project possible.

One room in the Museum will also house an exact replica of the sculpture workshop Telara Studio d’Arte, where Durant’s pieces were manufactured: the Studio has provided plaster moulds of the heads of the anarchist characters, photographs supplied by the artist for the creation of clay models, tools and equipment, which will be displayed with the objective of documenting each phase of the artistic process.

The exhibition will also include texts written by the figures portrayed in the project, as selected by the artist: direct source material which will provide visitors with a deeper understanding of both the ideology and the personal lives of these characters.

The opening will also feature a concert by the internationally-acclaimed group “Les Anarchistes”, based in Carrara, as well as a talk between the artist Sam Durant, curator Federica Forti, and the authors who have contributed reviews to the catalogue of the exhibition: Giovanna Bernardini, the Arts and Culture councillor for the City of Carrara; critic Stefano Taccone, and artists Massimo Mazzone and Gian Maria Tosatti.

“Propaganda of the deed” is produced by Franco Soffiantino and curated by Federica Forti.



Sam Durant
“Propaganda of the Deed. I protagonisti dell’azione anarchica”
DATABASE 2nd Edition
From October 19th to November 25th, 2013
Centro Arti Plastiche, Carrara
Museo Civico del Marmo, Centro Arti Plastiche, Site-Specific Locations
Hours: Monday – Wednesday 9.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.; Thursday – Friday – Saturday 9.00 a.m.– 1.00 p.m. / 3.00 p.m. – 6.00
Entrance fee: 2 €, Admission is free on opening day

This exhibition is part of the 2nd Edition of DATABASE, a project created by Ars Gratia Artis in collaboration with the City of Carrara.
For info, updates, and events schedule: e-mail:
Facebook: Data Base Carrara

Previously on Art is Life:

The second edition of Carrara’s “DATABASE” features art in the Marble City’s art galleries, public spaces and marble quarries

Children’s workshops at the Museo Civico del Marmo in Carrara _____________ we post the “programma”

Anarchy in … Carrara. Avelino Sala’s art of activism and social critique confronts Carrara’s marble and its own history of political upheaval

We encourage you to let us know what you think! Fateci sapere cosa ne pensate!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s