Il fiume aspetta, August 2023

public art installation realized during the international artistic residency Vìs a Vìs Fuoriluogo, curated by Matteo Innocenti and Tommaso Evangelista, Limiti Inchiusi, Paolo Borelli and Fausto Colavecchia

Il fiume aspetta (The river waits) is one of the interventions on the removed aspects of the landscape, on the border spaces between human and non-human that Gabriele and I left in Lucito during the international residency project Vis a Vis in Molise.
The day after our arrival we discovered a ghost stream, a tributary of the Biferno river, which once crossed the town.
The stream, now reduced to little more than a stream in the concrete, was once at the center of the daily life in the town, it was used to get water, to wash clothes and some told us that there was a slaughterhouse nearby and in the stream they also used to wash the blood and entrails of animals.
But “the river waits, always” as Michele, one of the inhabitants, told us and the hidden stream returns to make its voice heard: during intense rains it swells, overwhelms and causes damage. Is there a more powerful metaphor of the unconscious, of the symbolic and real removal of the relationship with nature? Yet the river is alive, it inhabits the town’s imaginary and, with the passing of the days, we have realized and experienced first-hand how much this ancient bond brings with it problematic aspects, outcroppings and removals.
During the residency we decided to bring the presence and memory of the stream and the river back to the heart of the town by reuniting it with the domestic dimension by casting from real some pebbles collected with Antonio Pizzuto sul Biferno and hybridizing them with the casts of some parts such as handles, pourers and spouts of some vessels for the water wthat we have collected from the houses of the inhabitants of the town.

From the critical text by Matteo Innocenti:
Lucito is among the towns that the Biferno, one of the largest rivers in Molise, laps towards the valley. The exchange takes place with reciprocity, in fact some small streams, which also cross the inhabited area, flow into it as they descend. The formation of the settlement of Lucito historically, as usual, has a relationship with water: we know that where it flows and allows a series of activities, forms of civilization, whether extensive or contained, can more easily take root and proliferate. Local memory still retains memories of periods that are not so remote; a few generations ago, for example, slaughtered animal meat and linen fibers to be woven were washed in the aquifers. Subsequently, the direct relationship ceased, the stream was filled up for practical reasons and the current square in front of the church of the Immaculate Conception was obtained. However, as the seasons change, especially during heavy rains, the flow of water returns to be heard.
Here, this presence which was so strong in the past and which is apparently missing today – in fact it remains alive, albeit forced to an underground level – has served as a starting point for reflection for the two artists. Thus Caterina and Gabriele chose to propose an ideal connection between the space and time of the river, and those of the community. They have realized clay casts from some big pebbles collected on the banks of the Biferno, and then, at the end of the project, relocated there, these were fired and finished with color tones that made them completely identical to the original pebbles, although made of different material. Another element was then added to these ceramics. Having asked the inhabitants of the town, met over the days, to choose an everyday object useful for containing water or other liquids – and which at the same time had an emotional value, linked to stories and memories – the artists,after having selected some, with the same technique mentioned above, have obtained copies of the handles, to be applied to the casts of the stones. The series of four sculptures, composed as follows, form the work Il fiume aspetta (The river waits). For the installation, in view of the first public presentation, as many places were taken into consideration which, when united, would form a path starting from the area where the ghost stream passes – therefore, as mentioned, near the church, where there is also a fountain – proceeded towards the historic centre, before the Porta Maggiore and shortly after crossing it. In this way it is as if the water flows back towards the community, with the set of values and memories that are associated with it. These “strange” amphorae, which are evidently hybridized forms, testify to how every removal, rather than being lost, is reborn in a different form – enriched or sublimated – by sensitivity and imagination.
The installation stands as a symbol of a union between different temporal and spatial perspectives but necessarily in dialogue: the geological one of the stones, which is truly enormous, and the more limited axis of individual life and generations. Ultimately the aspect of the relationship also concerns the existence of the sculptures in the country: a public work of art, in that it isexhibited and materially available, always places itself in a direct relationship with the local community, it becomes, f, an element of the visual landscape, and as such it is subject to a process of acceptance, eventual or of varying degrees. This happens, of course, starting from the first days of the artists’ stay, but then continues, to reach an outcome well beyond the detailed end of the residential experience.

Il fiume aspetta

public art installation realized during the international artistic residency Vìs a Vìs Fuoriluogo, curated by Matteo Innocenti and Tommaso Evangelista, Limiti Inchiusi, Paolo Borelli and Fausto Colavecchia


four pieces in white painted and glazed ceramic

Caterina Sbrana and Gabriele Mallegni