Milano, 2003

Wax, Relax | 2011

Wax, Relax, 2011
Variable dimension
Courtesy: the artists and Marsélleria

The work for “Terre Vulnerabili” (curated by Chiara Bertola and Andrea Lissoni, Hangar Bicocca, Milan 2010/2011) – a wax grotto that will melt slowly over the course of the exhibition – is a monument to popular culture; a monument that carts around all the baggage of the province, of which it constitutes almost a folk icon. The Lourdes shrine in Vernasca, where Invernomuto comes from, has been a problem for a long time, and efforts have often been made to remove it, since it is aesthetically deplorable and hygienically unsustainable. It has always been Invernomuto’s dream to remove it and place it within an exhibition space, and then melt it. Wax, Relax is a private copy of its devotional charge, but it nevertheless maintains a strong link with worship, which lies in the process of melting. The grotto emanates, but is constrained to undergo. Faux rocks and cement, grottos and nymphaea, everything becomes wax, the material that has traditionally been used to generate infinite ‘copies’ and that condenses the imagination of the miraculous just as much as does offbeat cinematography. Invernomuto is trying in this way to give life to a new, slow ritual: the re-construction of a landscape/background (a landscape that is, in any case, always the central – almost obsessive – touchstone of Invernomuto’s research, field of action and motif, where they move, record, distort and expand under the most disparate audio-visual forms). The town grotto – which may as well be ours – is a ritual reconstruction but also a landscape that is fake and excessively false, not to say grotesque, in its contemplative aspect. It interests precisely because of its status as a ‘backdrop’ that is deep-rooted in the collective imagination, deprived of the religious symbols that normally accompany it, and in its new, mutated dimension, it has been moved from the wall to the floor. In the end, Wax, Relax is a piece about copying: the copy of a copy, of a copy of a copy, of a copy of a Lourdes grotto. Although the initial intent was to recall the ready-made, in actual fact they became more and more passionate about the filters – often purely formal – position between an original and its duplicates, opting to add in a chain of others: Invernomuto; the collected visual references; and the sculptors who helped in the production of the work. Each of these passages and intermediate stages creates modifications and artificializes, and is destined to melt away.

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