From 1.5 to COLLI 6.66 ’ is a project created within the Incontro d’arte residence between 28 of September and 3 of November 2020. The project consists of two parts. The first part of the project, entitled 1.5, was created in Izola, where the residency began, and the second part, entitled COLLI 6.66 ’, was created in Bologna, where the residency ended. The project evolved organically from one form to another and embraced the spirit of the times in its entity.
From natural materials of the Izola coast, I created 1.5-meter-long poles as tools for communicating with the environment during times of restrictions and security measures. The movement of only the upper body and the performance of sounds with sticks reflected different ways of communicating and making contacts at a time when distances between bodies are increasing and touching is undesirable. The experience of using the sticks during the performance showed that I was marking my space of being. With such labeling, I exposed the dividing line between the inner and outer world, I self-isolated myself and distanced myself from others. At the same time, the purpose of the sticks also changed, as I no longer perceived them as a way of communication, but as a reflection of limitations.
At the international exhibition TRK at the end of the first set of the residence (October 9, 2020, Salsaverde Gallery, Izola), I presented the work 1.5 with a video performance of Sunflower, a video of creating the sticks and a performance 1.5, performed at the opening. Although the 1.5 performance was intended as a live version of the Sunflower video performance, the difference between them, due to different circumstances and audience presence, was very visible. While the video performance Sunflower was a rite, the performance on the opening day seemed much more tense and carried a critique of the times. The harmony of the body's movement with the 1.5-meter-long sticks that looked like part of it is transformed into a conflict between the body and the communication tools created. During the performance, the movement turns into an outburst of aggression. In the vicinity of the Park of the painter Boris Benčič, where I performed, I established a battlefield. Unknowingly, I became a warrior fighting the unknown. The sticks were no longer seen as part of my body. Instead of tools, I brought weapons to the scene. I struggled with myself, with the invisible or just with sticks. The rough sea calms down with the sticks breaking. The crack of the rods instantly released the tension in the body, which is finally separated from the rods - from the restrictions.
The energy created by the blows of the rods to the ground was released through pain into salvation. The bloody palms, due to the force of friction of the hands with the sticks, became sensual and symbolic evidence of vaccination from the restrictions and obstacles exposed during the pandemic. This gave birth to a sense of sacrifice for the will of salvation, the achievement of higher goals and power, which materializes with the work of COLLI 6.66’.
Upon arriving in Bologna and learning the secrets of the city, the work 1.5 spilled over into COLLI 6.66 ’. Researching of new ways of communication, exploring the feelings of self-isolation and loneliness, and recognising the pain and sacrifice in the work 1.5, I could connect with the new environment and the story of the pilgrims walking on their knees to Santuario della Madonna di San Luca.
The sanctuary is located on the hill called Colle della Guardia, about 300 meters southwest of the historic center of Bologna. The sanctuary is a historically important place of pilgrimage, which keeps the icon of the Virgin with the Child to which pilgrims go in thanksgiving and intercession. With the increased number of pilgrims and for their protection from the rain, the construction of the arched path Portico di San Luca began from 1655 to 1793, leading from the city center all the way to the sanctuary. The 3796 m long path consists of 666 arcades and 15 chapels. According to some, the path, because of the devil's number present (Revelation 13, 18), symbolizes the serpent-devil ascending to the foot of the sanctuary and recalls the traditional iconography of the defeated and crushed devil by the Virgin (Genesis 3, 15).
The communication tools have been transformed into body extensions in the work COLLI 6,66'. I attached the 1.5 sticks to my body. I attached sticks to my arms, legs and head, which at one point extended my reach and impeded my movement. With body extensions, I could no longer stand and use my limbs as usual. My body was instantly limited or even “mutilated”. The resulting image of the "mutilated" body, due to its particularity, brought it closer to the religious image of the tortured body of the pilgrim.
The performance COLLI 6.66 ’ is supposed to show two images: the image of a tortured body and the image of a body rescued by restraint. The whole performance would show the metamorphosis of the “devil into savior”. Instead of the obligatory mask, I wore a more radical black mask that almost entirely covered my face and identity. This image was reminiscent of religious penances, where believers covered their faces in humility and guilt for the sake of penance. Fully dressed in black and with extensions on my body and head like two horns, I created an animalistic image or even an image of the devil struggling to ascend to the Mother. The performance would end with energetic movements and breaking the sticks, as I did on the performance 1.5. However, I did not reach the top and the metamorphosis as such did not happen.
Because of the pain, I did not reach the top and the image of the Savior. In contrast, I was left with blody knees and the experience of something that exists only in oral tradition, like the proverb among young people that says, “if I graduate, I go on my knees to the sanctuary.”
The work depended on my physical capacity and not on the goal set. I walked as much as my body allowed. I walked halfway and after almost four hours I stopped, removed the sticks from my limbs, and left.
The premature end did not bring a feeling of defeat, as I felt a lot of energy and satisfaction in myself. With this kind of conclusion, I have again created a body installation, built on body and time which last. The perseverance of the body was set to maintain one image, which appeared and disappeared as an apparition within everyday life. The appearance of the image in the public space, in addition to the visual experience, triggered a social exchange that opened up the possibility of interaction.
At the final exhibition Walk through Identity (November 1, 2020, Arco Iris R, Bologna), I presented my work with a site specifyc installation, where I placed objects related to the COLLI 6.66 'performance and a video of my “pilgrimage”. At the opening, I spontaneously performed 1.5 #rosso and thus the project From 1.5 to COLLI 6.66 ’ was completed.
Passers-by wile looking at the image of a "mutilated" body:
Sembra una rappresentazione di Cristo. / She looks like a depiction of Christ.
Ha chiesto una grazia (per sé o per qualcuno a cui tiene) o l'ha ricevuta. / She asked for mercy (for herself or for someone she cared for) or she received it.
Lei è unica è qualcosa di celestiale. Rappresenta la sofferenza umana. / It is unique, something heavenly. It represents human suffering.
Questo è'teatro e potrebbe essere un'attrice. / It’s a theater and she could be an actress.
Mi inchino a lei. / I bow to her.
Forse è'una martire. /Maybe she's a martyr.
E'una penitenza (o una scommessa). / It is a penance (or betting).
Ma va su coi trampoli? Mi auguro che sia per la scola. / But does it go up on stilts? I hope it's for school.
E'un viaggio spirituale. Se e'cosi e'una grande. / To je duhovno potovanje. Če je tako, je velika.
Manco se amassi qualcuno. / Niti če bi imela koga rada.
Giacomo about COLLI 6,66':
The great thing about your performance is that all the passengers showed a lot of empathy and somehow the felt close to your physical pain and mental determination! A great conquest I think.
Giampaolo about Sunflower:
When you made your performance in that place in Izola, alone with only a video camera and nothing ... That was exactly the artistic moment ... A pure artistic moment that didn't became dirty from something external, like I don't know, galleries, collectors, museums and all people that are in the industry of art.
I thanks to Francisco Tomsichu, Davide Banin, Natalija Gajić, Tullia Mazzotti, Giacomo Calzolari, Myriam Nisim, Miha Majes, Giampaolo Parrilla.