The exhibition inhabits six frescoed rooms on the first floor of the Palazzo Caracciolo d’Avellino, as well as the buil- ding’s basement. The basement contains ancient Greek ruins which were uncovered, along with the frescos, during a renovation initiated by Fondazione Morra Greco in 2015. The frescos were executed in the early 18th century by Giacomo del Po (1654-1726) and his collaborators, by commission of Marino III Caracciolo (1668-1720) & Antonia Spinola (1669-1744).
Palazzo Caracciolo d’Avellino was converted from a Benedictine monastery in 1610 by Marino II Caracciolo (1587- 1630) and Francesca d’Avalos d’Aquino d’Aragona (d. 1676). During this period Giambattista Basile (1566-1632) was the court writer of the Prince Caracciolo d’Avellino. In 1619, Basile composed and published an idyll in Prince Marino’s honour: the story of Arethusa.
Fondazione Morra Greco has operated an exhibition and residency program in Palazzo Caracciolo d’Avellino since 2006. From April to December, 2019, Studio for Propositional (founded 2013) lived in residence at Fondazione Morra Greco. The exhibition script is loosely based on the Basile’s Arethusa.
MYTHS ARE LIVING STRUCTURES
The Arethusa myth in poetry can be traced through Virgil (40 B.C.), Ovid (8 A.D.), John Milton (1634), John Keats (1818), Percy Bysshe Shelley (1820), and Ezra Pound (1956), among others. It depicts the river nymph Arethusa who, one day after hunting, bathes in a stream that is actually the river god Alpheus, who falls in love with her and pursues her against her will. To evade capture, Arethusa enacts several escape attempts; firstly she flees, but is out-endured by Alpheus; secondly she hides in a cloud conjured by her patron Diana, the goddess of hunting, whi- ch, as she perspires as Alpheus grows near, turns into water; finally she finds escape through a hole in the earth and flees her homeland in Greece, emerging as a fountain in Syracuse, Italy. In different tellings she variously escapes Alpheus, or her pursuer returns to liquid form and mingles with her waters in violent conclusion.
The endurance of Arethusa’s story lies in its thinly veiled allegorisation of gender struggle, sexual freedom, empi- ricism, colonialism, forced migration, and other never-ending battles between the conflicting desires for freedom and the desires for domination that define the human condition.
Stories are open structures that may be occupied at any time by anyone, alterable to suit their needs. Because their structural integrity is proven, they are convenient and expedient bases from which to act, shortcuts to understan- ding our present and imagining our futures.
STORIES ARE BLUEPRINTS
Narratives sketch out potential realities in manners relatable across cultures, geographies, and generations. It is no coincidence that they have been the building blocks of all religions who have attempted to exert control through the manipulation of desire through the pull of the imaginary. Retaining or reclaiming control of the narratives that structure our lives and desires is the foundation for constructing the shape and content of our futures.
The stories we tell can be used as prototypes for the worlds we want to build. It is our responsibility to construct these stories not just for ourselves but also for unknown futures. As long as they stay alive they can exist as possi- bilities for a better world, no matter how remote or unlikely.
This is not fantasy, this is realism.
Studio For Propositional Cinema
Studio For Propositional Cinema
Luca Gioacchino Di Bernardo
Luca Gioacchino Di Bernardo
As Soon As The Invented Language Enters Us
Something Else Will Vibrate In Our Skin
Excerpt from Text by Raimundas Malašauskas
The smell of your mouth, she says. The smell of your voice. I am sorry I could not pick up the phone — a simple thought, yes, a thought, of hearing my own voice, was unbearable. While I was looking at your name on the screen in silence (my phone is always on silence, I have to admit), the silence was turning more layered. It felt like a syrupy velvet carpet on the wall (it was on the floor of Aunt Charlie’s bar in San Francisco) and on the floor, swelling to absorb all the details. I didn’t want to disturb this silence by answering your call and hearing my voice saying hello. Hello. It felt like the carpet was growing, absorbing one’s legs into ripples of Disco music. And I didn’t want to rip the silence apart and kept staring at your name blinking, contemplating what I will tell you afterwards. Will I tell you that I simply missed your call because I was at a dinner, or will I write you an extended letter about my reluctance of hearing my own voice in that silence? I still don’t know. And time is passing. Maybe I will say I’ve misread your name. It looked like sphynx or larynx. More like larynx than spynx. Because to say that I didn’t want to hear my own voice is preposterous, and to pick up a phone without saying anything is puzzling. And so I am sitting in this room and contemplating what to tell you. And it’s been already an entire week like this. But what I will tell you is the following:I am fantasising my usual thoughts: to come on stage (there is a stage, and there is a centre of that stage), to see myself there, to start telling a story about some difficulty, then ask them to close their eyes, continuing telling the story about the head I am drawing, and then tell them to open their eyes... and they see someone else on stage, who is continuing telling the story in exactly the same voice. “It is my voice” she says, “and it is my drawing.” And in another room I am about to draw a head.
LUCA GIOACCHINO DI BERNARDO
curated by Alessia Volpe
There is a portion of wrapped and decorated plank on the third floor of Palazzo Caracciolo di Avellino. Only this trace was found during the renovation and restoration works that interrupted the activity of Fondazione Morra Greco throughout June 2019, however it seems plausible that they had once covered the entire length of the beam ceiling. These decorations reproduce the same subjects in sequence – birds, floral elements, idyllic landscapes, archaeologies, geometries –, although, observing carefully, some differences are noticeable, some mistakes, declaring the presence of the human hand and unveiling its imprecision. Whether it is intention, distraction, or lie, it is impossible to say.
For a few months, Luca Gioacchino Di Bernardo (Naples, 1991) lays out a large number of plants from the terrace of the house where he lives and works, he begins to portray them obsessively, thus composing a herbarium of about fifty graphite drawings on paper. As in medieval botanical studies, one illustration and one text cohabit on the same page; unlike those, however, illustration and text exist here in constant contradiction to one another. The artist describes fictional details, makes omissions, practices morbid attention to irrelevant minutiae, lies.
In these scientific compendiums of falsehood different levels of experience mingle – the seen, the imagined, the eluded – and the only infallibility resides within the uncertainty of representation, that becomes a pretext, a survival mode, the insane quest for a non-existent order. The plants, here paradigm of all that exists for knowledge, and therefore of the whole world, are the object in relation to its subject as intended by Schopenhauer, perception of the perceiver, representation. The drawer is the observer, the cognitive subject who has roots in the world and is found in it as a person (Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, 1819).
In the unveiling of the fallacy of a universally objective representation of truth lies the misfortune of such subject. From his impotence towards the impossibility of a real narration and the urgency of a subjective story-re-telling, comes a series of charcoal drawings on paper, in which the drawer-subject depicts himself as a being in an interrupted becoming, uncompleted and disfigured by paranoia and archetypical desires, that through the same self-representation he attempts to exorcise.
Di Bernardo thus triggers a research that is from the outset fallacious, intentionally applying an empirical approach to a scientific process, deducing a series of unresolved studies and representations, that in the drawing find embodiment, yet never remedy.
CREDITS Courtesy of Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples
Photo: Maurizio Esposito