Chair-iot Rider - Fabulae Romanae

Date: 2012
Ref: 7000.01
Materials: Wood, leather, paper maché, reclaimed pinstripe suit
Dimensions: Approx. 100 x 100 x 80cm
Exhibition history: 2012 MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts Rome, Italy
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta and ZegnArt. Photography Paul Bevan

Fabulae Romanae is the title of a filmed-performance and a major exhibition of Lucy and Jorge Orta's site-specific performances in Rome, Italy. In the film, the artists depict a symbolic excursus across Rome through the eyes of a series of ethereal characters –genius loci–. These spirits draw from archaeological and historical research, and observations on the cultural and social map of the city and interrogate social, anthropological and philosophical themes.

The spirits perform intimate rituals in the streets and monuments of Rome, they become contemporary sentinels, who silently interact with the city’s landscape. Here for example we see the Char-iot Rider, a puppet horseman, ironic and curious. He rides under the Roman bridges with a wooden prosthesis in the shape of a chair. He trots along the ancient city walls displaying a mock horse’s head made of paper-maché. And conquers today’s crossroads, renamed traffic circles and islands, amidst the honking and roaring of the motors of the new world. A blithe spirit. Happy to have lost his power, bronze chart and insignia but at last free to roam the city.

Throughout their meanderings, the spirits are guided by a poem written by eco-poet Mario Petrucci specifically to accompany their journey. The verses narrated in Italian and English weave story-telling layers into each scenario.

Fabulae Romanae was commissioned by ZegnArt, for the artists solo exhibition at the MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts Rome (22 March – 23 September 2012). It was supported by the University of the Arts London Centre for Sustainable Fashion, with the assistance of designers Mio Jin, Lara Torres, Oliver Ruuger, Sum Yu Li.

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