Bale Maker - Fabulae Romanae
Materials: Foam, reclaimed garments, cotton, foam, webbing, resin
Dimensions: 165 x 450 x 200cm
Exhibition history: 2012 MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts Rome, Italy
Courtesy: © Lucy + Jorge Orta. Collection MAXXI, Rome
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 Bale Maker as he crosses the Esquiline, the largest of the seven hills in Rome, carrying with him bales of cloth tied up with string, to be delivered to a mysterious recipient. Perhaps an address hidden amongst the new communities of Chinese and Africans who have now, in these global times, occupied its stores, markets and slopes.
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.