Nostoi, Gerocarne

Year 2016
Title The Artist as Saint Roch squaring the circle on a wall in Gerocarne

         Nostoi, a greek word literally meaning “(it) returns”, is the title of a poem part of the Trojan Cycle about the return home of the greek soldiers after the end of the Trojan War.

The south of Italy has always been a land conquered by different civilizations, filled with several cultures coming from distant places that blended together over the centurie so, more than any other area in my country, it has experienced the immigration/emigration phenomenon, from the soldiers living in Magna Graecia, who had to go to war in places far away from their home, to the millions of Italian citizens emigrated abroad to find better living conditions, some of which now use to come back to their native place during holidays.

My personal reflection on such land has been to conceptually link and unify two distant things, represented by the geometric task of squaring the circle, an impossible problem that philosophically aims to join earth and sky (respectively represented by a square and a circle since ancient times). The Saint Roch’s imagery works as a reminder of the place in which the painting now lies. The inhabitants of Gerocarne are in fact strictly devoted to the saint, who has always traditionally depicted with a seashell on his coat.

Nonetheless, the choice of painting a clam bound to the wrist is intentional: a common food for the fishermen and poor people of my homeland throughout the centuries, it is in fact also meant to be a symbol of my birthplace. A detail that comes with a double value, a metaphorical item linking two locations so distant by a thin, ideal line.