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Lacrimosa

Photo series, color diptychs, direct prints on aluminum 85 x 85cm, 2017




"The ivory of the so-called Parthenos is benefited not by oil but by water; the Acropolis, being too high, is arid, so that the statue, which is made of ivory, needs water and the dampness deriving from water..."
Pausanias, "Description of Greece", 2nd C.AD.



In the video Lacrimosa the camera is turning around an ivory mask from the Hellenistic period, exhibited in a museum display glass. The face stands out from the obscurity of the room, showing its two sides and the depth of its eyes sockets, from where virtual tears are falling. Inspired by the omnipresence of fountains in the city of Roma, a sign of power that showed the Romans’ ability to manage water since Antiquity, this video is also referring to miraculous crying icons pouring tears of blood, water or oil. The origin and history of this mask are adding another scope to this aquarium full of virtual tears. Indeed, the mask, sculpted in an elephant tusk during the 1st century BC, was stolen in 1994 and after a long inquiry among illegal traffic rings, the Italian police just recently recovered it.



« L’artiste filme un masque d’ivoire, fragment d’une statue de l’époque hellénistique. Peu à peu, grâce à un système d’incrustation 3D, le visage se met à pleurer, quelques larmes, puis un torrent qui vient noyer sa vitrine d’exposition. L’œuvre évoque à la fois les fontaines romaines et les statues miraculeuses. Mais au-delà, elle donne à voir la vie intérieure saisissante d’une image qui a traversé les siècles et porte en elle tout un imaginaire, celui que lui assignent les historiens, celui aussi que lui offrent les artistes. «

Stéphane Cerri


Compositing : studio DH3D
Acknowledgements : Nelly Haliti and Istituto Svizzero di Roma