Fondazione Serpone, a journey through art following the Taurus constellation

Shōzō Shimamoto, Fondazione Mario & Maria Pia Serpone - Segni d’Arte, Torrita Tiberina (RM)

I would like to share with the friends of Italics a space that for me has represented a very special, I would dare to say new, experience.
My first visit to the Fondazione Mario & Maria Pia Serpone coincided with my first trip devoted to art after the pandemic. The climate of gradual easing of health restrictions, which had slowly but surely normalized new habits, allowed me to enjoy the experience of an already wonderful place in a different way, less obvious and automatic than what I was used to. Not a whim, not a series of works scattered throughout a historic villa, but a real journey into a different dimension of narrating, enjoying, knowing and positioning contemporary art; art that indelibly marks the landscape of this park in Torrita Tiberina.

Fondazione Serpone
View of the park, Fondazione Mario & Maria Pia Serpone – Segni d’Arte, Torrita Tiberina (RM)

The memory keeps coming back of that warm spring day spent walking with Ottavio and Christin Serpone through the invisible Taurus constellation traced out by the positioning of the works of Mimmo Paladino, Jannis Kounellis and Bruno Munari, just to mention a few of the artists present; the enthusiastic story of art therapy projects for schools, of annual performances, of a new section devoted to sound art; the ambition to bring together works in progress with the contemplative landscape of the Tiber Valley, in the heart of the Tevere-Farfa nature reserve, one of the oldest in Italy. This series of stimuli constantly nourished the impression I felt of being inside a living organism, an idea that was then consolidated when I saw certain site-specific works.

Fondazione Serpone
Shōzō Shimamoto, Bottle Crash, Fondazione Mario & Maria Pia Serpone – Segni d’Arte, Torrita Tiberina (RM)

In particular, I was struck by the practice taking place around Shozo Shimamoto’s Bottle Crash, a unique, singular work entrusted by the artist to the Serpone family so that they could keep it active by following a specific protocol entailing the use of all the bottles consumed during the events at the Foundation. Conceived as a veritable monument to happiness, on the occasion of a special moment of the year (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, etc.), the work is reactivated by the participants throwing bottles purposely filled with colored paint, thus enriching Shimamoto’s work with eternal creative lymph.
Another masterpiece conceived specifically for this site is the chapel devoted to a “blood liturgy” by Hermann Nitsch, also conceived as a work in progress, constantly enriched with specific works realized on-site through the Viennese master’s new actions.

I would be pleased if, through my tip, this place could arouse in others the same sensations that it has given me, as one of the many innovative possibilities for enjoying the relationship between art and landscape in our Country, a combination of great value, especially in this historical moment.

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