Turns two years old for Gabriele Landi's Aurelia→SUD project

Eleven artists, eleven works, visible every day, 24 hours a day. Two years old, Gabriele Landi's innovative Aurelia→SUD project now features a new intervention, by Armida Gandini.

Twenty artists, twenty works of art, in an unusual place, which is neither a gallery nor an exhibition space, at least as commonly understood. Gabriele Landi’s Aurelia→SUD project, which started in September 2021 and has been able to gather so far several of the most interesting artists of the contemporary Italian scene, all called to measure themselves against a particular genre: that of thestreet sign, has turned two years old. Each artist who took part in the project, Gabriele Landi, an artist himself, who turned curator for the occasion, was asked to revisit in his own way the sign of his studio in Via Aurelia Sud 19 in Arcola (La Spezia).

Everyone produced a work in a format that is anything but simple (Aurelia→SUD is in fact a... light box measuring 355 by 67 centimeters), but clearly visible from the street. A site-specific work, one might say in technical jargon. More simply, an installation open to all and available 24 hours a day. An alternative project, far from the canons to which those who frequent the art world are accustomed: being a bottom-up and anything but formal initiative, Aurelia→SUD has never planned either inaugurations or finissage. Initially every two months, then every four, a different artist was called upon to contribute to the project. All passersby on this busy street, a major thoroughfare in the province of La Spezia, at any time of day could see Aurelia→SUD’s works.

And a different interview was produced for each work. The first artist involved in the project was Umbrian Mario Consiglio, who filled the space of Aurelia→SUD with his writing Cercatevi. This is how the artist recounted it, “My partner’s son,Vincenzo, when he was nine years old burst into the studio where I was drawing and said, ’Do you know a writing you should do?’ He spreads his arms and says ’LOOK FOR YOURSELF!’ Genius. Kids are crazy, it makes you realize how they absorb our discussions and can interact with enviable fluency. Inside this exhortation is everything contemporary man really needs, the finding of himself by freeing himself from the shackles of technological dependence, social hatred and media angst. When you sent me the picture of the sign with the building I couldn’t see anything else in it.” It was then Loredana Longo ’s turn with the word Victory upside down (“I wrote the word backwards because I am convinced that it is such an iconic word, so usual in our communication, that I could write it any way and anyone would always read VICTORY. Shifting the letters is like denying and reaffirming the meaning itself.”).

The New Year began with a talk by Luca Pancrazzi, author of Space Available, a title that coincides with that of a collection of his works that have as their theme small phrases that describe our landscape, often presenting it in ambiguous and ironic tones, and with Serena Fineschi and her Bla Bla Bla, “a sound that expresses everything and nothing, where contradictions and opposites live without embarrassment, as happens in this inauspicious age.” Next came Luca Quartana with Solo Solo, a work with which the artist recounted his own childhood in a word and with which he tried to give an idea of the conditions in which our lives are suspended, Iginio De Luca who brought to Arcola A cuore aperto (“A metaphorical journey into the backroom of a space to cross a boundary and observe, to reset a relational process and go beyond, deep into the bowels of a cold and anonymous light-box among LED coils, electrical wires and mechanical connections.”), and Fausto Gilberti with the ironic Aurelia ama i gatti, a curious and sympathetic reinterpretation of a well-known saying from the Tuscan coast.

Then in 2023 came the works of Luca Scarabelli, Gino D’Ugo and Marco Neri. Scarabelli tried his hand at a black writing on a white background, simple and antiliric, proposed as a seemingly meaningless tongue-twister, D’Ugo instead addressed the attention of passers-by with the intervention C’ero anche ieri, a sort of invitation to look better, and finally Neri proposed Aspettiamo, a canvas made during the first lockdown of 2020 and aimed at expressing the... sense of waiting during that period.

Serena Fineschi's speech
Serena Fineschi’s talk
Luca Quartana's speech
Luca Quartana
’s intervention
Fausto Gisberti's speech
Fausto Gisberti
’s intervention
Luca Scarabelli's speech
Luca Scarabelli’
s intervention
The intervention of Gino D'Ugo The intervention of
Gino D’Ugo
Marco Neri's speech
Marco Neri’s
Armida Gandini's speech
Armida Gandini’s

The new intervention that closes the first two years of Aurelia→SUD is a work by Armida Gandini: two large eyes on a red background looking at passersby on Aurelia Street, particularly... cinematic. “The sign of Aurelia→SUD,” says the artist, "sent me back to cinema and not to a commercial establishment ... and talking about cinema for me at this time means reflecting on the suggestions of Marnie (1964). Alfred Hitchcock is one of my masters, and the two films starring actress Tippi Hedren (Marnie - The Birds) have accompanied me since childhood, becoming a leitmotif in my work. The first image I visualized for Aurelia→SUD was that of Tippi Hedren’s terrified eyes following a dramatic bird attack, a kind of staging of fear. Inevitably, I associated her gaze with the red of Marnie, certainly because it is the star color of the project I dedicated to the film and because it colors the screen at the moment the trauma surfaces. The red emphasizes the intensity of the expression of the woman’s eyes asking to be seen. I like the idea of a relationship between her gaze and the gaze, even if distracted, of the passing audience. The subject of vision is somehow reversed. Those who see are watched, but even those who do not see do not go unnoticed."

Different artists, different works, different languages for one of the most original contemporary art projects of the moment, and one that so far has gathered a real gallery with works all of the same format produced by some of the most interesting and innovative artists on the Italian scene. And more will be seen: just pass through Arcola. Aurelia→SUD thus confirms itself as a place of innovative and unexpected experiences or, in the words of its curator, a place to... meet contemporary art.

Turns two years old for Gabriele Landi's Aurelia→SUD project
Turns two years old for Gabriele Landi's Aurelia→SUD project

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