Traveller - Fabulae Romanae

Date: 2012
Ref: 7000.02
Materials: Wool, leather, nickel, mannequin
Dimensions: 160 x 150 x 60cm
Exhibition history: 2012 MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts Rome
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta and Ermenegildo Zegna

Fabulae Romanae is the title of a filmed-performance and a major exhibition of Lucy and Jorge Orta's site-specific performances in the city of Rome. 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. Among all the spirits that inhabit the artists' modern Fabulae Romane The Traveller is a guide, as “Wanderer-Migrant-Farewell Border-Hoarder-Gatherer-Vagrant.” Lucy + Jorge Orta have dressed him in a black coat with a collar so high that his gloomy face is half-hidden, while the overcoat is turned into a tiring mass of suitcases equipped with handles and buckles. A 20th-century, archaic, Kafkaesque figure. Who is the symbolic traveller on this contemporary Grand Tour that Jorge and Lucy have embarked on in their descent toward the eternal 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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