“An ad hoc space for artists’ provocations, which should be seen as a resource by the city and not a catalyst for conflict;” these the words of Stefano Pierotti, Italian artist not a stranger to controversy himself. The artist’s work, pictured above is a not-so-gentle skewering of Francesco Schettino, Captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia. The text is a play-on-words conflagrating the Captain’s name and the italian word “scoglio” – rock. (The luxury liner ran aground, during an unscheduled “sail-by” of the island, and became a symbol for pretty much the state of Italy as a whole).
In recent months Pietrasanta has been “occupied” by artists keen to exhibit their work, but who failed to obtain the proper permits. (See links below). The contested artworks were promptly removed – and in one case, the artist was fined.
Pietrasanta’s Mayor, Domenico Lombardi responds in a statement located near Pierotti’s work, and the response itself appears to have caused some perplexity in the art community here. We translate: “No cause for discomfort: our full respect for Pierotti and his work, as we have the highest respect for whoever else proposes sculptures, works on canvas, or whatever else. I have always been” continues Mayor Lombardi, “on the side of those who commit themselves to culture; that said, we ask that we check ourselves: we can’t think that, for example, one can go into the Piazza Duomo” – the city’s main square and home to its main outdoor exhibitions – “place a sculpture there and then leave. If everyone did this, there would be chaos. And my comment comes from this perspective. We need to interact and share the path. Without censoring anyone, we must discuss with the artists a procedure to follow, even a minimal one. Putting the city’s administration face-to-face with a ‘done-deal’ can create even serious problems. Before placing, without authorization, any work of art that wants to provoke and create a conversation, it is essential that there be a dialogue between the artist and the Comune. And we always fully respect the artists’ freedom of expression. Nobody wants to put anyone in a cage, on the contrary, we want to make possible the conditions that allow everyone to speak. But with schedules and procedures that must be defined. That’s why I am thinking about a place – indoors or out – which would be destined to welcome the temporary artwork created to provoke a conversation, and to stimulate reflection. This discussion is open” concludes the Mayor,” I await the contributions from the artists.”
One artist we spoke to, who asked to remain anonymous, wondered how the Mayor’s own actions – last year he personally accepted and had placed on the façade of the Church of Sant’Agostino, a bronze “Annunciation” by Igor Mitoraj, without any public debate – might differ from those of the artists “occupying” the city’s public spaces.
We at Art is Life are impressed by Pierotti’s “provocation” and also support the Mayor and his efforts to “continue the conversation” on the subject.
Visit Stefano Pierotti’s website, linked here.
The photo above, of Pierotti’s “ad hoc intervention” in Livorno, is from the QuiLivorno website.
Previously on Art is Life: