Viareggio, gallery owner denounces state of Turcato's Oceanics, mayor sues her

The sad affair of Turcato's Oceanics in Viareggio is not yet over: gallery owner Barbara Paci has taken a video to show the state of abandonment in which they are located, and the mayor has announced that he will sue her.

The sad affair of the Oceaniche by Giulio Turcato (Mantua, 1912 - Rome, 1995), the work that was donated in 1990 by the master of Italian abstractionism to the Municipality of Viareggio, has not yet been resolved: the work adorned the central Piazza Puccini, and at the end of 2019 it was removed from its location, awaiting restoration. Even then, however, the case aroused much indignation, because the sculpture by one of the greatest Italian artists of the 20th century had been dismantled and left in a municipal storage facility, outdoors, resting on the ground on the grass and behind dumpsters. The Superintendent’s Office had also made itself heard, reminding the Viareggio Municipality on December 31, 2019, of its duty to ensure the proper preservation of the work with a view to its relocation to Piazza Puccini.

Viareggio Mayor Giorgio Del Ghingaro had assured that the work, known in the city as “the sails,” would be properly restored. But as of July 19, there were still no determinations or resolutions on the work, and last September the situation had not changed: journalist Rossella Martina, who was running for Viareggio city council on the civic list “Più Democrazia per Viareggio,” had circulated some images of the Oceanic Sails stacked in a shed of SEA, the company that handles waste disposal in the Tyrrhenian city.

Now a further chapter has been added, without, moreover, changing the fate of Turcato’s work, at least on the surface. Gallery owner Barbara Paci, a well-known name in contemporary art but also group leader of the mixed group on Viareggio’s city council and a candidate for mayor in past elections, told the local press that she had “found” the Oceanics, which would currently be inside a wing of Villa Borbone, and criticized the city administration’s actions on the matter: Paci released, this morning, a video (albeit without specifying the date on which it was shot) in which the work can be seen resting directly on the ground, badly covered with a tarp, and covered with dust and dirt. “I found them in very poor condition,” Paci wrote in commentary on the video posted on his Facebook profile, "not stored as a work of art of that value, both artistic and economic, would require. The ’sails,’ or rather, Giulio Turcato’s Oceanics must absolutely be restored as soon as possible and relocated in Puccini Square, in the place where the artist wanted them donated to the City of Viareggio."

To local newspapers, Paci said he did not understand the reasons why a work of the importance of the Oceaniche lies in a state of neglect, and he is now calling for definite timeframes for the work ’s restoration and relocation. Del Ghingaro, we also learn from the Viareggio press, has, however, instructed his lawyers to file a defamation suit against Barbara Paci. The gallery owner confirms by commenting on Facebook, “I simply did what I thought was right by telling the truth. The mayor has already announced that he will sue me.”

But another piece is also added to the story: Viareggio may in fact lose the Oceanic. Roberto Gigli, a friend of Turcato’s who materially handled the donation of the sculpture, also intervened in the discussion on social media. “We are legally considering,” he let it be known, “the revocation of the donation to the city of Viareggio and to relocate them to Villa Bertelli at Forte [Forte dei Marmi, ed.] to save them from wretched hands.” And losing the Oceanics would be a very serious snub for Viareggio.

Pictured: left, Turcato’s Oceanics when they were still in Piazza Puccini. Right, a still from Barbara Paci’s video in which the works can be seen on the ground, barely covered, and dirty.

Viareggio, gallery owner denounces state of Turcato's Oceanics, mayor sues her
Viareggio, gallery owner denounces state of Turcato's Oceanics, mayor sues her

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