Anglo-Italian artist Olivia Passalenti developed this performance as part of the Grottamare summer residency programme. Inspired by the bustling, chaotic public life of a classical Italian piazza, the work explores the capacity of architecture to structure, constrain and still be overspilled by the always already excessive energy of human social interaction.
During the performance the artist opened and used a new pack of felt tip pens on squared paper, discarding the lids. She then created an energetic image across the many ‘public squares’ of the paper, reminiscent of Giacometti’s human figures as well as the raw vigour of urban graffiti, before expanding beyond the paper to use the felt tips to colour her own skin.
The piece tells an evocative story about the ongoing ways in which the changing patterns of Italian social life in the 21st century inscribe, and are inscribed by, Italy’s long and storied architectural heritage.
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