In the wake of the successful experience with the Palermo Observatory, the fruitful collaboration between Edoardo Dionea Cicconi and “INAF” (National Institute for Astrophysics) continues to raise awareness of the importance of the starry sky. Edoardo Dionea Cicconi’s monumental public installation “AKR” lit up the sky from the Terrazza del Pincio, located in the heart of Rome.
The moving space that is about to disappear, which will be wound up by the end of time, painted by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel; the blue sky dominated by a mellow cloud in Mantegna’s Bridal Chamber; up to the violence of the starlight moving the sky in Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’. These are just some of the remarkable examples that throughout history have invited the viewer to reflect on the magical, poetic and even scientific aspects through which human beings relate and turn to the sky and the starry vault, a miracle of beauty and mystery, and the space on which our very life on Earth depends. For centuries the sky has been something we glimpse in the distance, as children we think it is unreachable, then we grow up and scientific disciplines show us how to understand its distance, constitution, meaning and function. The sky is also that element of our reality that is extremely mutable, changing from day to night, and with it we also change, our feelings and sensations change. This is why, for centuries, artists and men of science have come together to contemplate the vault of heaven, studying it and each making their own contribution.
AKR is the light sculpture that turns the sky into an infinite canvas on which to project the colours that echo the play of light of the aurora borealis. Through this installation, Edoardo Dionea Cicconi investigates the relationship between matter and light. AKR is a light sculpture in the sky, directing the spectator’s gaze towards an immersion in the infinity. In contemporary times, Edoardo Dionea Cicconi’s projects sensitise the viewer to concepts related to science, as in the installations at the MuMe Museum in the Caravaggio Room, in the archaeological room of the Branciforte Museum or in the latest land-art projects in which ‘Time’ and ‘Space’ were the leading concepts. Universal themes, which have an everyday impact on our lives. This kind of narrative is represented through works with essential forms, such as sculptures and installations that are described by critics as ‘timeless’.
“Light has always been the fundamental tool with which astronomers have scrutinized the sky to understand the secrets of the cosmos, from even before Galileo until today, thanks to the most powerful telescopes – declares Lucio Angelo Antonelli, INAF Director of Rome – But light is also a formidable means of expression in the artistic field. A common thread that links INAF to the works of Edoardo Dionea Cicconi who creates wonderful installations.”
Under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture, the Municipality of Rome and the INAF – National Institute of Astrophysics – the installation was created on the occasion of Earth Day Italy. A reminder that to observe the infinite vastness of the universe, we do not need much more than a sky clear of clouds and unpolluted by city lights. The project was promoted by CADOGAN Gallery, Art Made in Sicily and RESIN, and was presented at the Hotel De Russie, which continues its commitment to support the international activities of the city of Rome. In the historic garden of the Rocco Forte Hotel (designed by Giuseppe Valadier in the 19th century), Cicconi created “150-93”, a site-specific work in dialogue with the architecture and nature of the magnificent garden that borders the Pincio and Villa Borghese. The sculpture is a triangular prism that absorbs the sun during the day, at sunset this begins to dissolve and reaches complete transparency during the night. When illuminated, the large glass plates take their colors from the polar light/aurora borealis.
Edoardo Dionea Cicconi returns to Rome after an eight-year absence, to help us rediscover the capacity to marvel at the vast infinite sky. An act to which, in modernity, we tend to deny our gaze. Yet the vision of that glimpse of light in the sky of ‘Eternal’ Rome seems to be enough to remind us of the fragility of an important heritage to be preserved, as well as the widespread knowledge of the astronomical science, that has linked human aspirations to the vastness of the cosmos for millennia.