“Alla Terra che mi porta non serve il mio sguardo. All’orizzonte va. Con le stesse radici, la speranza che lo muove e, immenso, il desiderio di incontrare il tuo.” (L. Palumbo)
When, at the beginning of March, a quarantine was declared in Italy, social and cultural life was suddenly reduced to a minimum. Planned events were canceled, and no new events were organized. All non-essential services were suspended. As the trees gradually became greener, the colors of the billboards that were placed between them stayed unchanged. While the days passed, they became an anachronism for the daily passerby. Souvenirs of what could turn out to have been the last events of a cultural organization or an artist, coexisted with announcements for events that might nevertake place. It both fascinated and saddened me. I wondered whether there was a way to capture that unique testimony of an unusual time.
But things aren’t meant to be static in nature. Subject to an amalgam of entropic influences the images started to transform, creating exactly the images that I was looking for. But even more. Peeled off content restricted the initial publications, showing parts of the content that was below. Graphic elements, faces and written info were stripped out of their original context to interact out of time and cohesion forming new and spontaneous relations. There where all layers have been stripped the empty billboard shows its surface, marked by years of extensive use, emphasizing even more the absence of a vivid cultural life.
These anachronistic reversed collages thus demonstrate how cultural life came to a halt during the pandemic. But they also symbolize how in this shattered landscape a fresh creativity emerged, questioning or ditching preexisting formats and searching for new roots and inspiration in between the left over bits and peaces. Time will tell whether this period of reflection, in which the essential was rediscovered and revalued, will have a lasting impact on artistic expression and by extension on society. What will remain when these souvenirs will be covered again? After all, for the poster it will be just another surface.