Flying Spirit - Fabulae Romanae

Date: 2012
Ref: 7000.05
Materials: Ripstop, webbing, armature, fibreglass
Dimensions: Approx. diameter 470 x 217cm
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 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. Here we see the Flying Spirt, its immense silver-grey-black-white-blue parachute, a baroque unfurling of tough and light nylon floating in front of the Castel Sant'Angelo. Is this the guardian angel of the mausoleumof the Roman Emperor Hadrian, spanning its proud wings of flight as it glides over the river Tiber gracefully saluting the ten angels stationed along the ancient Roman bridge. Or is it the Archangel Michael himself, descended from the spire to remind us of Man’s fragility and protect us from the forces of evil.

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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