IF I CAN NEITHER FEEL NOR THINK, WHERE AM I THEN? DI DARIA KOLTSOVA
If I can neither feel nor think,
where am I then?
24 September – 30 October 2022
Palazzo Sant’Elia, Via Maqueda 81
Inauguration of the end-of-residence exhibition and live performance
Saturday 24 September at 11.00 am
The end-of-residence exhibition of the Ukrainian artist Daria Koltsova, curated by Giusi Diana, will open on Saturday 24 September with a matinee at 11.00 in the main courtyard of Palazzo Sant’Elia, introduced by a live performance, which can be visited until 30 October. The event, which is part of the artist residency program of the Sant’Elia Foundation , in collaboration with the Metropolitan City of Palermo , is included in the official program of the third edition of Bam Biennale Arcipelago Mediterraneo entitled “Insaturo”.
The widespread exhibition takes place inside and outside the eighteenth-century Palazzo Sant’Elia, a Baroque building that overlooks via Maqueda. The external windows, along the main entrance, host a site-specific installation from the “Theory of Protection” series (2015-2022).
What at first glance appears as a decorative geometric pattern applied with adhesive tape on the French windows is actually inspired by the expedient used by the Ukrainian population to protect the windows of houses from the shock waves caused by explosions. The diagonally arranged strips of adhesive tape reduce vibrations, preventing the glasses from exploding. In Palermo on the external facade of Palazzo Sant’Elia “Theory of Protection” constitutes a symbolic protective belt, underlining the fragility of the artistic heritage in times of war and at the same time testifying solidarity with the resistance of the Ukrainian people.
On the day of the inauguration, the artist riding a horse will create a living equestrian sculpture in the Palazzo Nobile Courtyard, a tribute to the city of Palermo, through the citation of the fresco of the Triumph of Death preserved in Palazzo Abatellis, while in the Cavallerizza it will be set up a highly suggestive environmental and sound installation.
Daria Koltsova explains how this work was born: “Throughout my country at the moment there are people who, hidden in the cellars, are counting the days that pass but also the number of those who never return, covering the walls with notches like these. The walls are turning into ledgers for the dead.”
This is how the curator Giusi Diana presents the exhibition: “Wall drawings made by the artist with charcoal during the residence and incisions that scratch the surface of the walls transfigure the space of the Cavallerizza into a nocturnal and underground environment, where it is easy to lose the references spatio-temporal. The gloomy graphic sign of the notches, a simple and primitive counting system, invades the entire back wall […] suggests the impossibility of counting the dead and the days that pass, together with the difficulty of bearing such an immeasurable pain” .
At the end of the exhibition, by the will of the artist, all the wall drawings will be destroyed, they will disappear from view under layers of plaster; they will become invisible, but at the same time they will continue to be there.
Daria Koltsova: “For me it is a metaphor for the experience of war itself. Sooner or later it will end, but everything that has happened, made invisible, well hidden in the subconscious, but present, will remain with us forever.
The wall drawings and graffiti are accompanied by a sound installation with the sound produced by the artist during the execution of the work.
Also on display is the video of the performance set in the noble courtyard of Palazzo Sant’Elia. The Sant’Elia Foundation’s residency program for Italian and international artists is carried out in collaboration with the Metropolitan City of Palermo, and is aimed at promoting the international mobility of artists and enhancing the most current expressions of contemporary art.