By Virginia Villari
Forte Stella stands high on the Argentario Promontory (Tuscany, Italy) looking down at the little town of Porto Ercole and far at the sea until it merges with the horizon. Formerly a Spanish defensive bastion, built in the sixteenth century by King Philip II of Spain, the fortress hosts until August 26th a group show titled “Danza Macabra” (Dance Macabre).
In 1526 Dutch painter Hans Holbein represented the “Dance of the Death”, a spooky satire on conformism, dogmatism and power structures. Smiling skeletons are drawn as they ironically dance with various figures of power, such as politicians and bishops. These acts are clearly a mockery that unveils a perturbing truth: the falsity and hypocrisy of dominant values, the uselessness of ideologies and, most of all, their inescapable weakness as nothing and no one can escape death. Death is dancing with life, taking it by the hand gently, while accomplishing its dark mission.
The exhibition presents a contemporary, multi-media dance macabre in a path that unravels throughout the caves and the secret, narrow tunnels of the fort. Artists express their vision on the present, on the world that weight on us with the absurdity and non-sense of the reality we live in.
Through different disciplines and messages they question given truths and constructions that affect politics, culture, the environment, art and people’s personal lives. Videos, sculptures, installations, photography, music and poetry: different approaches that investigate and criticize a commonly accepted representation of the world, one we didn’t decide or agreed on.
In this context, art is a possibility, the opportunity to present a responsible, and conscious alternative to a world that tries hard to reaffirm itself and to impose its lies, in a meaningless race against death, which instead is calmly taking it down with her, by the hand, with a helpless jeering sneer.
Viewers are free to choose their path throughout the exhibition, the very structure of the fort spurs their curiosity to explore and discover the artworks. Joint of the show is a series of panels filled up with words, poems and aphorisms which create a dialogue between the different moves of this modern dance macabre.
Danza Macabra is a project by Maurizio Cont and Giammarco Serra.
Artists: Xabier Erkizia, Pietro Tonolo, Nada Malanima, Lorenzo Lustri, Carlo Stoppa, Juanjo Aranguren, Stefano Corti, Marcello Liberato, Isabel Herguera, Asier Gogortza, Jose Belmonte, Lucio Pari, Ria Lussi, Luca Saraceni, Sandro Bozzolo, Alessandro Ingaria, Efram Medina Reyes.