Qui è tutto altrove e tutto è qui
public work, international residency Vìs a Vìs Fuoriluogo, Lucito, Molise.

During the spring festivity “festa del Maggio” in Lucito (Molise) a man covered with wild plants and weeds wanders around the town. He is a beautiful and disturbing presence, a wild man who reminds us of the many arboreal and ancestral cults of Southern Italy, such as “the wedding among the trees” which celebrates the symbolic wedding between two trees of different species, trough the assemblage of the crown of one with the trunk of the other.
We decide to celebrate a wedding too, but in this particular case between two wild plants: the Mullain, a native plant (even if it is arrived a long time ago from Asia) and the Ailanthus, an exotic and allochthonous plant, we decide to join them by the root in a high relief. This sort of big botanical table in terracotta, modeled with the clay from the Molise mountains collected in Sant’Elia a Pianisi by the ceramist Felice D’Addario
That of Molise seems like a still and at times intact landscape, perhaps Lucito, the name of the town in which we find ourselves, comes from lucus, “sacred wood” in latin, one of the many sacred wood of the ancient world that reminds us of Frazer in “The Golden Bough”.
But in addition to the holm oaks and olive trees, around the town and on the banks of the Biferno river, in the spaces abandoned by crops, we find many Ailanthus plants or “ the tree of heaven”, as Maria del Forno calls it, which declare the hybrid and contaminated nature of this landscape, a landscape in movement despite the first fleeting impression.
Ailanthus, like many traveling and weeding plants, represents a problematic presence in the landscape and in the imagination.
The two plants chosen for the high relief tell us about vegetal and human journeys, about the encounters with others, about a here and an elsewhere in which in Molise you can stumbles at every step.
It’s August and, as usual, many people from Lucito come back to the town, some tell us about their emigration story. In the evening at Bar Boys, the only bar in the town, we hear people speaking the local dialect but contaminated by different accents, “Here everything is elsewhere” says Gabriele “And everything is here” I reply almost without thinking.

Extract from the critical text by Matteo Innocenti:

“As anticipated, the aspects of hybridization and coexistence are also at the starting point of the work Here everything is elsewhere and everything is here. Caterina and Gabriele’ transitorial workshop was located in the Chapel of San Gennaro. It is where they dedicated themselves to the laborious and technically complex activity of creating sculptures; resorting, when possible and also when necessary, to local resources – for example, this was the case with the kiln for firing ceramics. The chapel also became a meeting point with the inhabitants of Lucito, an excellent place for mutual narrations: on the one hand the artists eager to share their ideas on the project, on the other the people who, generously, told the own history (often linked to departures from the country and returns, partial or definitive). What recurs everywhere, because it is part of human nature, as the possibility of improving the conditions of survival and residence – I am referring to movements and migrations, and the enormously complex elements that motivate and consequence them – has been conditioning the identity of Molise in an effective way for over a century (the same applies to other Italian regions). We must not simplify, the migratory movements of today, especially coming from the African continent and the Middle East, are very different, and completely unrelated to this particular context. In any case, observing the events from a broader perspective than that of current events, we can find at least one common element with respect to the various incarnations: a contingent proximity between people who find themselves in an almost opposite status, recognized as such both by those who emigrate and by those who are settled. On the one hand, those who need to obtain what they lack, on the other, those who claim the right to give up little or nothing of what they already deserve: this is where the difficult, often unfortunately dramatic, relationship between the extremes takes place.

We are generally not used to observing nature, even when its power thrives before our gaze; otherwise we would know better that hybridization, mixing, contamination – many terms can be used for the same concept – are constantly perpetuated in it. The desire for stability, which is legitimate and right, tends to limit our perception of the transience of phenomena; but we cannot ignore the fact that phenomena are always subjected to it. Sometimes a specific episode can take on a much broader, almost revelatory meaning. During their walks and explorations, the artists soon noticed the strong presence of ailanthus in the vegetation, whose name means “tree of paradise” because it can grows very high. Its origin is Chinese, but it is naturalized in many other habitats, from Asian countries to the United States, and in many areas of Europe including Italy. It is a resistant species, capable of thriving in adverse conditions and poor soils, even in ruderal ones. This characteristic, together with its origin, meant that it was considered an invasive species: an allochthonous tree (introduced from elsewhere) that steals space and nourishment from the native ones (original to the place). If the common position, when it comes to trees and plants of this kind, is towards felling and eradication, the debate in the botanical field is, fortunately, open and full of suggestions. Ultimately the question that arises is: when can we consider something, whether vegetal or animal, belonging to a place, and when not? Does the essence of the matter lie in the duration of the stay, or perhaps in the relationship with other species? Or in the type of exchange that occurs with the habitat? Shortly they are questions that, quite curiously, we could translate, without major changes, to human relationships.
Stimulated by these reflections,Caterina and Gabriele have created a terracotta high relief – made with a local clay – representing a branch of ailanthus and a branch of mullein, joined by the roots (a suggestion compared to the pagan rite of the “marriage of trees”). The work was conceived from the beginning for the oval niche, now empty, which is at the center of the façade of the Chapel of San Gennaro, right above the portal. I report one more passage written by the artists:

Ailanthus, like all traveling plants, is also a problematic presence in the landscape and in the imagination. We observe it in all its beauty in a green space in the village, near a mullein plant.[…] We also decide to celebrate a wedding, between two wild plants, and to join them in a high relief.

An image to evoke the vital character that the union of diversity has historically had for the birth and development of every civilization, albeit through a complex dialectical relationship between maintaining and acquiring. In conclusion, it occurs to me that the two works (produced during the residency The river waits and Here everything is elsewhere and everything is here, ed),so full of meaning, are part of a similar process, to be accepted and become part of the landscape of Lucito”.

Qui tutto è altrove e tutto è qui
public work, municipality of Lucito, Molise, ex-cappella di San Gennaro

high-relief, red terracotta collected by the ceramist Felice D’Addario in Sant’Elia in Pianisi, Molise.

Caterina Sbrana and Gabriele Mallegni