A year, 1957, is the only element that appears to connect the two event referenced in Francesco Arena’s work Trittico 57: on one hand the delayed completion of the triumphal frieze sculpted 15 years previously by Hans Piffrader, with the positioning of the last three slabs to complete the figure of Mussolini on horseback on the façade of what had been destined to become the Bolzano Casa del Fascio; and on the other the letter in which Italo Calvino communicated his decision to leave the PCI (Italian Communist Party) [...] The link between these two events is what has to date to characterised Arena’s entire oeuvre: the meaning of history. Arena is interested in the dialogue between two opposing movements. Something -he writes- is being attached (the three slabs of the frieze) and someone else is detaching (Calvino leaving the party that was a formative part of his culture). The effigy of a dictator -Mussolini- being recomposed, as deemed inoffensive, is offset by the effigy of another dictator -Stalin- finally being revealed, due to the secrecy surrounding him having become unsustainable.
Attaching and detaching, striking and raising are also the basic movements of the Morse code that the artist, for some time now, has interwoven with his interest in history, and with which he has already translated, or, as he puts it, “read in stone” the words of writers, using a rhythm of dots and dashes, instants and longer movements. (words by Elena Volpato)