“I have become convinced that even when everything is or seems,
one must quietly go back to work, starting again from the beginning”
Antonio Gramsci, September 12, 1927 (tr. NY, 2011)
Fondazione Casa Museo Antonio Gramsci, promoted and supported the “Return to Gramsci” project in which artists Marco Crivellin, Costanza Ferrini and Marta Fontana created a first exhibition entitled Starting Again currently set up inside of Casa Gramsci in Ghilarza. As it is not possible to make a real visit, we offer a virtual one. The project started with the residence of a group of artists, humanists and poets, who arrived in Sardinia in 2019 to reflect together on the application of the concepts of civil autobiography and the translation of Gramsci in an artistic medium. The group then shared their reflections in dialogue with 300 high school students in Cagliari, Oristano, Terralba and Ghilarza who, in turn, engaged in handwriting, painting, and drawing the words of Gramsci they listened to, choosing those closest to them.
Exhibition path Starting again From the Beginning.
In the first room, after the entrance, you will find the photographic narration and the sky occupies the place of the earth (2019-20) by Marco Crivellin. “You can finish seeing reality … upside down … and the sky occupies the place of the earth” (Gramsci, Q. 8.61). In the project “Returning to Gramsci”, sky and earth are equivalent to center and edges, turned upside down in a map in disarray. Crivellin catches it in the surprise on the faces of the students and, in finding themselves elsewhere and there, in a new centrality together with that of Gramsci. The focus of the camera captures the delicate individual and collective relationship in the breath / time / gesture: the moment of being stuck in front of a blank page, the choice of the word in a group, the pause, the nib suspended in hesitation…
In the second room, the kitchen, Corriazzu and Corrias Corriazzu (2020) by Costanza Ferrini, are two works made in situ, the titles refer to Gramsci’s letter to his mother of February 26, 1927. Two ways to conjugate writing and memory knotted in correspondence/resistance of mother and son.
Corriazzu, “resistant”, in fact, is a frottage on Wenzhou paper of the basalt stones of the well, of the courtyard and of the flowerbed built by Gramsci as a boy. The fragile mulberry paper makes the pocket walls of tactile calligraphy, an imprint of strength, exchanged with the mother.
Corrias Corriazzu, assonance between the family name of the mother, Corrias and corriazzu, words repeatedly written in minute calligraphy with red ink on vegetable paper for food use. They are joined together in “do you remember”, a bridge to a new syntax of waiting between mother and son. The crochet work is a soft and invisible calligraphy, like the letters of the mother that we cannot read, and it stitches the written cards one onto the other till the last couple of them, left untouched.
In front of the well, a small arch leads into the third room, where the space is crossed by Marta Fontana‘s installation You Just Have To Wait (2017-20). The semantic process that moves it is the transmutation of the object itself: the bird traps, used by poachers, open and “transfigure” into archaic faces of warriors, engraved in the room space like ancient cave signs, suspended by the basting thread. The trap is subject to capture, death sentence, deception that leads the victim to be an agent of his own end. Gramsci faced his hoax capture consciously. Intellectually the compulsion led him to an essential action. This is how Gramsci’s warrior notebooks gather his free thought born in captivity, a thought that deeply affects those who meet him. You Just Have To Wait is presented in Casa Gramsci in a specific variant of a larger work.