Gianluca Costantini

Auto da fé – Three Visual Chapters

The artist will be present at Lo Steri during opening times for three days in a live drawing event. The public will be able to watch him work, interact with him and ask him questions while he works at his drawing desk as he does every day.

Inspired by the only novel by Elias Canetti – Nobel Prizewinner in 1981 – the performance will create two works of art: one is physical, and consists of the ongoing exhibition created during the three days of drawing, and it will remain on display after the three-day event. The drawings will primarily be portraits of the prisoners of conscience whom Costantini follows on a daily basis in his campaigns, which are either autonomous or in collaboration with associations, families and institutions. The artist was actually deeply moved by the Palazzo itself, the work of Giuseppe Pitrè and the words of Leonardo Sciascia; with the curator of the event he conceived a project whose starting point was a place repressed, rediscovered and loaded with suffering, in order to speak of the present.

The exhibition will be divided into three chapters: A Head Without a World / Headless World / The World in the Head. Beside every image, a quote from the novel will decontextualise the image, creating a self-contained narrative.

Evoking the scope of the novel, which was written in the years immediately preceding the rise of Hitler, Costantini questions the role of the intellectual and the artist in relation to his or her era.

Alongside the physical work created specifically for Lo Steri, the artist will also create a flow of information / diffusion / action from the portraits on Twitter and other social networks. On Twitter in particular, he has a following of more than 60,000, most of whom are interested in human rights on a global level. And so, as with all Costantini’s recent work, drawing becomes not only a fetish and an object of art, but a denunciation and a tool for activism. A voice for those who lack voice, bringing the cell walls of Lo Steri – and of all the Lo Steris still existing in the world – out of the cramped cells in which people are imprisoned. Which is actually what all the drawings in the Palazzo demand.

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