Site-Sensitive Device at Rome Museum “Orto Botanico”

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SEMIÒFORI participates in the collective exhibition
«HANAMI-Sustainable imagination. Sculpture between Nature and Artifice»
8-10 April 2022, Museum of the Botanical Garden of Rome
curated and organized by Alessandra Maria Porfidia

SEMIÒFORI returns a contemporary interpretation of a topical element of the symbolic corpus of Japan: the Garden, an emblematic example of how profound the differences between our Western and Eastern cultures are, in particular the Japanese one.

The Japanese Garden in Rome designed by Takeshi “Ken” Nakajima, one of the most famous Japanese landscape architects and garden designers is a sacred place that puts man in contact with the divine, through all his senses, not just sight and smell, but also touch with rock and tree bark, hearing with water, wind, birds. The winding path that leads the visitor to the Botanical Garden suddenly overlooks the “abstract” garden – which in the West we call Zen garden or Dry garden – which in the symbolic microcosm of Zen culture represents the entire planet Earth, with the sea, the lands emerged, the horizon limited by a hedge of intertwined bamboo, exactly like the “hedge, which the gaze excludes from the last horizon” of the Infinite by Giacomo Leopardi: Zen meditation and the sentiment of the great Italian poet, so distant in the time and space, they are wonderfully the same!

Here the aggregations of Semiòfori welcome you physically “immersed” in a votive basin – a single piece of rough stone in which your hands and forehead are purified – while the stream from the waterfall continues to descend gently, flowing on sparkling pebbles – also they were all transported from Japan – placed one by one so as to modulate the rustle. The sound of running water is in fact the distinctive sign that identifies the individual garden in Zen culture: each one has a different sound, like a musical instrument!

The viewer will discover that the Semiòfori device participates in a critical meaning towards the world when all the matter of everyday life is reduced as “waste, waste” under the dramatic lens of an environmental and cultural crisis, and that instead in immersion it can be contemplated with equal dignity and value in the process of disidentification and therefore of expressive liberation of the same material. It is a way to reflect on our past, on the way of remembering and consequently on the methods of construction of our future … The artist’s gaze offers itself in particular as an opportunity for reflection on the moment of exposure or ostension as a recovery of a renewed sacredness , a silence and a care that is offered to the work and its story.

SEMIÒFORI joins with this project the 34 international artists selected in the contemporary scene to realize the second edition of the HANAMI studio project thanks to the collaboration between the Academy of Fine Arts Rome, the Museum of the Botanical Garden and the Japanese Institute of Culture.

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