In Venice until November 15, 2020, the Golden Age installation is staged, a gigantic 58-meter digital environment, by Fabrizio Plessi in collaboration with the French fashion house Dior. It is no coincidence that we have chosen to use a theatrical terminology that certainly best describes the artist’s homage and wish for his city which is, at the same time, magic and theater par excellence.
Just like in a dream or a vision, a magmatic golden cascade flows in an illusory and moving three-dimensionality along the 15 windows of the Napoleonic wing of the Correr Museum, reflecting its powerful and pervading golden light on the windows and buildings around it, on the surface of the lagoon water, until it becomes the echo of San Marco cathedral in an emotional, evocative and symbiotic dialogue with the gold of the basilical mosaics. Past, present and future interpenetrate to the point of canceling space and time, in an infinite circularity that counteracts the incorruptibility of gold in an infinite loop of digital and technological fluidity.
From this magma emerges every 8 minutes, as if by magic, an inscription: PAX TIBI (incipit of “Pax Tibi, Marce, Evangelista Meus”, a phrase also reported in the book that the winged lion of the Serenissima Republic holds firm with its paw). A digital evangelical image to convey a wish for peace and prosperity for Venice and for the whole world in a difficult period like the one in progress. Accompanying this sensory, magical and sinuous journey – almost more alchemical than artistic – the music of Michael Nyman that, pervading the square and the senses of the observer, brings this ‘show’ to the stage of an open-air theater.
In this place, where “Waterfire”, the other large electronic installation by Fabrizio Plessi, had been hosted twenty years ago, where water and fire flowed fluidly along the windows of the same building, the artist returns for his eightieth birthday, proposing a novelty of light and hope that has the flavor of a retrospective: water, fire and lava, elements of his artistic research, now merge in the gold magma, updated and aimed at the future.
The water that cleans everything like a Panta rei, a continuous and unstoppable flow and becoming. The fire that purifies everything and in whose ashes the concept of rebirth is inherent. Everything becomes more current and summarized in this scenography with a baroque flavor in which audio visual elements – from water to light to music – mark a suspended and circular time and radiate gold and light “on darkness, on the darkness of ignorance, of cultural and social passivity” (as the artist says).
This precious magma, which is at the same time wish, hope, incorruptibility, prosperity, opulence and rebirth, blends and solidifies tradition and innovation, nature and artifice, primordial elements and technology starting from classical and deep roots – because Plessi does not renounce classicism, ancient and wonder-. Dusting off the Hesiodic myth and making use of the digital fluidity that is human memory, of stories and places, personal and collective and, at the same time, fluid and sinuous like water, light and Venice itself, Plessi merges material and immaterial to create the magic of a new Golden Age and the dream we all need to move forward, defeat fear and live in the best way.
Fabrizio Plessi in Venice, ph courtesy Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, MUVE
Fabrizio Plessi, L’età dell’Oro, 2020. Installation view in Piazza San Marco, Venezia, ph courtesy Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, MUVE
Fabrizio Plessi, L’età dell’Oro, 2020. PAX (detail of the writing “Pax Tibi” that appears every 8 min. and then dissolves), ph courtesy Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, MUVE