Brescia, at the Santa Giulia Museum the large steel globe by Emilio Isgrò, a gift from the artist

In Brescia, from December 15, the Viridarium Sculpture Park in the Santa Giulia Museum permanently hosts Mondo d'acciaio, the enormous globe created by artist Emilio Isgrò.

The story that binds Emilio Isgrò (Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, 1937) to Brescia is today enriched by a new chapter: from December 15, the Viridarium Sculpture Park in the Santa Giulia Museum will permanently host a new monumental creation by the Sicilian artist, entitled World of Steel. It is an enormous steel globe, the largest ever made by Isgrò, four meters in diameter, conceived as the final outcome of the unpublished exhibition dedicated to him - Isgrò cancels Brixia, June 23, 2022 - April 16, 2023 - and produced thanks to the engineering know-how of Feralpi Group, as part of an innovative cultural patronage project by the Lonato del Garda-based company for the benefit of Fondazione Brescia Musei and the city.

The work, donated to Brescia by the artist himself together with Feralpi Group, reproduces the terrestrial globe fixed to the ground by means of the earth’s axis, from which the network of parallels and meridians branches out. Waters are totally absent, which are in fact included in the gesture of erasure. On the opaque surfaces that delimit the landmasses and the various continents, Emilio Isgrò has intervened by erasing the names of nations and cities, excluding Brixia. A choice that not only emphasizes Brescia’s Roman origins, but also underscores how vital its Latin roots have been in the developments of its urban cultural history and continue to be a point of reference and strong civic value for the entire territory.

The project of Isgrò cancella Brixia, promoted by Fondazione Brescia Musei and the Municipality of Brescia and curated by Marco Bazzini, placed archaeology and contemporary art, history and the present, classical culture and its persistence in our time, in dialogue through an exhibition and a series of monumental installations (physical and digital) as well as the staging of an original theatrical performance at the Roman Theater, welcomed by the most important places of Brixia. Brescia Roman Archaeological Park and the Santa Giulia Museum. World of Steel is the second work by Emilio Isgrò to remain forever part of the city’s artistic heritage, flanking Incancellable Victory, the monumental installation of more than 200 square meters set up on the north wall of the ’Stazione FS’ stop of the Brescia Metro, inaugurated in 2020, created in collaboration with the Brescia Mobility group, as the incipit of the three-year collaboration between the artist and the city of Brescia.

The two works will remain as a permanent testimony of the dialectical relationship between Isgrò and the city: World of Steel, in which Isgrò spares only Brixia, is also symbolically the memento that Fondazione Brescia Musei leaves to the city for the Italian Capital of Culture 2023, which consolidated the centrality of Brescia and its institutions in the map of international culture. From the earliest planning steps, Feralpi Group, one of the leading steel producers in Europe, specializing in steels for the building industry, has collaborated with Fondazione Brescia Musei and Maestro Isgrò in all phases of conception and realization, providing the Sicilian artist with the technical and human support necessary for the execution of this work.

Isgrò’s intervention transforms the green space of the Santa Giulia monastic complex, a UNESCO site since 2011, into a true Sculpture Park, where works such as Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Third Paradise, Ariel Schlesinger’s Untitled, Formiamo umanità by Valerio Rocco Orlando, as well as archaeological finds such as sarcophagi, inscriptions and pieces of architecture from the Roman civitas- The Viridarium Sculpture Park is part, since 2023, of the Brescia UNESCO Corridor. The project is implemented as part of the Romeda legacy for the enhancement of contemporary art.


“I called my work World of Steel,” explains artist Emilio Isgrò,“ because this title can have two mutually contradictory meanings. The first immediately evokes a world of hardness-indeed, a world of steel-unwilling to compassion and love. And we know well how much love is needed in this season of conflict and war. The second meaning, on the other hand, brings us back to that resilience that steel possesses. We can face this terrible time in history with determination and courage because our morals are as strong as steel. Perhaps therein lies the deeper meaning of my play, and I am certain that the audience will choose precisely this second meaning, without any room for ambiguity. In essence it is a pacified world that art demands, and with art the human community in its entirety.”

“The presentation of Emilio Isgrò’s new masterpiece,” says Francesca Bazoli, president of Fondazione Brescia Musei, “is a moment of great celebration for Brescian art and heritage, but it is also personally, for me, given the profound gratitude I feel toward the great Maestro, who in these three years has lavished extraordinary energies in collaborating with our Foundation to enrich the city of Brescia with new artistic cornerstones. His overflowing enthusiasm, a true love for our city, and the work we are doing together to enhance our heritage are a daily gift to me. ”World of Steel“ seals a three-year period of enrichment for our Brescia civic collections with no less than three monumental installations-two physical and one digital-and fully crowns the work of a foundation whose primary goal is to protect and enrich the city’s cultural and artistic heritage. All this without the great generosity and enthusiasm of Emilio Isgrò would not have been possible. The second great thanks goes to the Pasini family and Feralpi Group, who have made it possible for the highest form of artistic patronage to be made available to citizens and the public and to become, from an individual collecting value, a collective civic value: a demonstration of great visionariness for a group that for years has been close to our cultural activities with the same enthusiasm that our Maestro Isgrò has shown from an artistic and creative point of view.”

“Maestro Isgrò’s World of Steel,” says Giovanni Pasini, managing director of Feralpi Group, “represents the point of synthesis of different paths. In bringing together the energies of Fondazione Brescia Musei, the Municipality of Brescia and Feralpi, it actually virtuously unites public and private for a work that, at the close of the year of Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture, corroborates the existing symbiosis between Brescia city of art and Brescia city of industry. It reinforces the link between the manufacturing culture of this area and the Community, in the belief that the economy creates work and well-being, prodromal to producing culture and beauty, which in turn are basic to nurturing the know-how on which industry rests. It expresses a crasis between the business world and the culture of philanthropy so prevalent in Brescia. For all this, as Feralpi, we wanted to make a gift of Steel World to the city.”

“With today and the placement of the incredible work Mondo d’acciaio by Emilio Isgrò,” says Stefano Karadjov, director of Fondazione Brescia Musei, “we bring an extraordinary contribution to the Viridarium Sculpture Park, the en plain air compartment of Santa Giulia dedicated to contemporary art. World of Steel ideally concludes the journey started by the vision of a new UNESCO Corridor connecting the Archaeological Park to the Santa Giulia Museum, making these spaces fully accessible and enhancing them thanks to contemporary art. Not only exhibitions, such as those dedicated to Vezzoli, Isgrò himself and Plessi, but great masterpieces of contemporary art that remain permanently available to the city. Maestro Isgrò signs with this work his loving dedication to our Museums: he did not erase Brixia from his world map, because - I like to think - the light we have radiated in these eleven months as Capital of Culture has guaranteed us a voice in the world for our cultural activities and for our stellar universal heritage, of which it is no coincidence that the place where we are now is a UNESCO site. Infinite gratitude to Maestro Isgrò and curator Bazzini, but equally to the Pasini family and Feralpi Group, without whom this intervention would have remained just one of my most yearned-for dreams.”

“This new installation,” concluded Laura Castelletti, Mayor of Brescia, “seals and consolidates the very happy union that has now been established between Brescia and Emilio Isgrò, a great master of contemporary art. After Isgrò cancella Brixia and Incancellabile Vittoria, with Mondo d’acciaio the Sicilian Maestro makes a gift to our city of a remarkably evocative and evocative work, which represents a very welcome tribute to our city and its origins. Its placement in the Viridarium, in an ideal dialogue with other works by contemporary artists and with archaeological finds from ancient Brixia, once again demonstrates the ability of our museum system to innovate and create connections between historical heritage and modernity. Therefore, a great applause goes to Fondazione Brescia Musei for strongly believing in this project that brings prestige to our city. I also sincerely thank Emilio Isgrò for this precious tribute and Feralpi Group, which provided the Maestro with materials, tools and expertise for the realization of this work. A work that represents an indelible trace of the extraordinary adventure that has seen Brescia as the Italian Capital of Culture this year.”

Brescia, at the Santa Giulia Museum the large steel globe by Emilio Isgrò, a gift from the artist
Brescia, at the Santa Giulia Museum the large steel globe by Emilio Isgrò, a gift from the artist

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