Dear Montemarcello, Alice Ronchi's site-specific intervention in the Ligurian village

As part of the third edition of Una Boccata d'Arte, until September 18, 2022, the Ligurian village of Montemarcello is hosting Alice Ronchi's site-specific intervention that involved the inhabitants in its creation.

As part of the third edition of Una Boccata d’Arte, the contemporary art project of Fondazione Elpis carried out in collaboration with Galleria Continua and with the participation of Threes Productions aimed at promoting installations, exhibitions and performances by twenty artists in twenty villages, one for each region, until September 18, 2022 the village of Montemarcello (La Spezia) hosts the project Caro Montemarcello by Alice Ronchi (Ponte dell’Olio, Piacenza, 1989). A site-specific intervention inspired by the history and identity of the place, born after a period of residence and exploration of the territory.

The installation involved the inhabitants of Montemarcello in telling their sense of community through a participatory performance and a steel inscription placed on the portal of the defensive walls. “My interest immediately turned toward the intimate relationship between the person and the place, not so much about history or architecture, which I had previously studied, but about emotions, bonds, and the whole emotional sphere related to memories and feelings,” the artist explained. “From the interviews with the inhabitants, contrasting images of the place emerged, but all of them shared a very strong love for Montemarcello; they spoke of the village as if it were a person. That’s where my idea came from to ask them to write a letter or a thought addressed to him directly, to Montemarcello.”

A choral and original project, born in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, Una Boccata d’Arte takes the form of a special cultural itinerary that aims to invite the public to discover twenty new Italian villages each year, rich in centuries-old traditions and scenic beauty. Thanks to their collected dimension, the villages become the privileged place to give life to an authentic and close encounter with contemporary art, made unique by the dialogue generated between territory, artworks, inhabitants and visitors. The installations created contribute to the growth of tourism aimed at inland areas, far from the main tourist flows and art circuits, and invite to rediscover, with a fresh look, stories and corners of beauty throughout Italy.

"Una Boccata d’Arte is a widespread project of national scope and collective participation in beauty and culture that, since its inception in the midst of a pandemic, has been able to progressively consolidate its initial vocation of encouraging local communities and the art world, until today it brings together a network of artists, curators, associations and local realities that is growing larger year after year," said Marina Nissim, president of Fondazione Elpis. “A dialogue that from Italy also increasingly opens its gaze to the current international situation, with the involvement of numerous foreign artists for this third edition in the beginning.”

Alice Ronchi’s project in Montemarcello is coordinated by Andrea Daffra, who wrote this introductory text:

"There are villages whose voices are in danger of fading in time, among dew swollen paths, impervious terrain, long starry nights and distant stories. Sounds of ancient hamlets nestled in the hills, where ’there seems to be nothing but stones,’ as Italo Calvino wrote. Here, the summer heat and winter frost inflict their pains on the bare walls and terracotta roofs, yet without ever consuming their essence, their true soul. Those who have time to listen, in fact, know that the silence of matter can be broken by the words of those who remain tenaciously, echoing stories of remote events. The inhabitants, narrators of places, guide the imagination of ’outsiders’ to ageless corners with a sweet and refined flavor. In Montemarcello, where poetry saturates the air, Alice Ronchi decided to get to know the place of her project by interviewing the very inhabitants. From the encounters emerged tales, mixed feelings and reflections that led the artist to ask the community to write an open letter to their village, to tell its intimate connection. The words spread through the air and on paper, embracing memories and emotions, sometimes layered over time like houses, sometimes embellished with a nostalgic veil. Dear Montermarcello, the project that recounts the feeling of authentic and genuine love that emerged from the interviews, speaks of this, of that sense of community and belonging with one’s own village, a land of the possible and a monument to diversity. The main work of the intervention, an arched handcrafted steel inscription with the phrase It’s love, lies on the portal of the defensive walls that embrace and protect the houses, as a clue to reveal to passersby what they will find among the perched lanes: love, community, beauty. Of the anonymous letters collected in the many inspections, read by the artist in the main square, traces will remain, not only in the memory of those present, among the stones and folds of the earth, but on an element to be jealously guarded within the ancient walls of that small village, from which the imagination and words of the inhabitants, the true soul of the place, spread."

Pictured: It’s Love (2022, stainless steel, 441 x 98 x 245 cm; Montemarcello)

Photo by Nuvola Ravera

Dear Montemarcello, Alice Ronchi's site-specific intervention in the Ligurian village
Dear Montemarcello, Alice Ronchi's site-specific intervention in the Ligurian village

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