For the first time in its history, Palazzo Biscari, one of the most important baroque residences in Sicily, opens its doors to contemporary art. From July 16th to August 18th 2018, the palace will host the site-specific installation by the artist Gian Maria Tosatti entitled "My heart is empty as a mirror - episode of Catania", by Adele Ghirri, Ludovico Pratesi, Pietro Scammacca, and presented by unfold, non-profit cultural association based in Palazzo Biscari, Catania, founded in 2017 by Pietro Scammacca. Thanks to the support of the city, donations and other institutions, the association invites Italian and international artists to produce site-specific works in places of historical and artistic interest in Sicily. Expanding the physical and conceptual boundaries of the exhibition space, unfold invites to investigate the identity of these places by commissioning temporary installations with the aim of tracing an innovative topography of the Sicilian territory.
"My heart is empty as a mirror - episode of Catania", constitutes the first chapter of a project that will take the artist on a long pilgrimage through Europe among the ruins of modern history that still extends its shadows on the present, and sprouts of a new time, perhaps a New History. Tosatti, in his journey, stands as a witness to one of the most profound civilizations that the West has recorded, tended between the drive towards a future of total transformation - prophesized by authors like Pier Paolo Pasolini - and the opposition of old structures such as nation-states, capitalism, colonialism, which in their resistance show their most sinister face.
The intervention that takes shape in this eighteenth-century building is a sort of prologue of the entire project, giving life to a visionary and cruel space that will occupy the central staircase, the three large entrance halls and the monumental Salone delle Feste. Tosatti's work is proposed as a journey that the visitor will face individually: a sort of solitary path whose beginning coincides with the entry into a new monumental visual novel.
Through a narration inspired by the architecture of the building, but rich in references to Visconti, Céline and his personal journals, the artist orchestrates an immersive experience, to transform the building into a contemporary ruin, wearing down its genius loci. With the creation of a spectral atmosphere, poised between presence and absence, past and future, Tosatti generates a temporal paradox that places the visitor in a sort of sepulcher of modernity, a crossing point between two radically different epochs that can see us pass or fail.
The contrast that takes shape between the themes of the work and the Baroque frescoes recalls the notion of allegory as conceived by Walter Benjamin in his treatise "The German Baroque Drama" (1925). For Benjamin, the Baroque allegory is a form of expression which manifests itself during the eschatological passages of History, when the decline and the precariousness of a civilization become perceptible. "My heart is empty as a mirror - episode of Catania", title deriving from "Il Settimo Sigillo" by Ingmar Bergman, is presented as an allegorical and entropic space, where time seems to be finished, or continue in a further dimension and separate.