The mixture of signs and symbols between what is earthly and what is spiritual is tinged with bright red. In Neapolitan culture, the reiteration between the sacred and the profane is a well-known fact, but as always it takes on new forms, this time leaving Allegra Hicks – an artist and designer from Turin born in 1960 – freedom of expression.
In one of her frequent sojourns as an adoptive Neapolitan, the artist lets herself be guided by the suggestions of a once accessible place of devotion, submerged in the abandonment for centuries and recently reborn by Christian Leperino’s desire through the Associazione SMAVVE – Centro Per l’Arte Contemporanea. The Church of the Misericordiella, in the Sanità district of Naples, is one of the city’s many recovered and enhanced places, home to an important hypogeum of Baroque architecture. It is in this place that Allegra Hicks presents, under the curatorship of Mario Codognato, the site-specific installation Ti porterò nel Sangue.
Opened last September, the work’s fruition will be enriched during the third edition of the Art Days Napoli Campania 2023, thanks to the renewed presence of Hicks in dialogue with curator Adriana Rispoli (member of the Art Days Scientific Committee) in a guided talk starting at Casa D’Anna ai Cristallini. An enormous tissue drop appears suspended in time and space. At a depth of ten metres, it penetrates the apsidal vault of the hypogeum at the tip; it is unclear whether it tends to descend by gravity or ascend towards the luminous exterior. Ethereal, passionate, alchemical, its bright red colour recalls blood, synonymous of material and violent existence and of fluid and sacred transformation. Like the imagery of the cult of St. Gennaro, the drop liquefies in the only crevice of the side wall, in a sort of profane stigmata. Opposite, the drop is repeated with solemnity on a softer tissue, whitish colours, concentric to the blue shades of the sky. This is a pious and generative drop, with allusive references to the female reproductive organ.
The title of the installation makes it clear how Allegra Hicks has somatised and expressed a universal symbolic language. It carries timeless suggestions that spring from the collective imagination. Spiritual devotion and popular belief make the drop take on multiple meanings, exuding a singular vital energy. Visits inside the Misericordiella Church are possible until 17 December from Friday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., free of charge and with a maximum of five people at a time.
Art Days Napoli Campania 2023
Allegra Hicks: Ti porterò nel sangue
21/10/2023 – 17/12/2023
A cura di Mario Codognato
Chiesa della Misericordiella – SMAVVE Centro Per l’Arte Contemporanea
Via Vergini 1, Napoli
Art Curator and Art Advisor, graduated in Visual Arts and Cultural Mediation, with Master in Curatorial Practices, born in 1995, lives in Naples. He collaborates with Galleries and Independent Spaces, his research is mainly focused on Emerging Painting, with a careful and inclined gaze also on other forms of aesthetic language.