February 7-17, 2009
Perugia – Italy
Each year the Lungarotti Foundation harnesses the creative forces of important Italian artists to offer a new, creative vision of the oil lamp and its flickering light that accompanied the life of people for many centuries. Oil lamps have been used in Italy until the end of World War 1. They were usually made of clay and burned olive oil, that neither smells nor smokes.
This year the project was assigned to Stelio Zaganelli e Cristina Frezzini, two young designers from Umbria, assisted in the making of their works by the School of Ceramic Art Romano Ranieri in Deruta.
In a brilliantly creative association of ideas, they have jumped from the magic of the olive tree and oil – almost sacred in Italy – to the magic of the Circus.
Inspired by the atmosphere of poetry surrounding the 19th century Circus, so close to human virtues and vices, their large ceramic oil lamps/sculptures represent the key characters of the Lucerna Circus:
Sissi, the slender and elegant dancer, always in the limelight, desperate for a loving soul to share her destiny with;
Filo, the slim funambulist, continuously challenging his records but depending on drugs to keep his pace steady;
Margò, the strongwoman, striving to fly like a weightless and graceful bird to forget her large and powerful body;
Romeo, the poet–clown, reading Baudelaire while behaving like a dope;
Matilde, the seal, happy to have flabbergasted people watch her performance, nonetheless ready to leave in the name of freedom;
Susie, the fearless acrobat, always risking her life;
Monsieur Brutus, the tamer of lions, bears, panthers and monkeys, making a show of his whip and cold blood while hiding his amulet duck.
In the past 8 editions of this celebrated event, many contemporary artists have worked on the imagery of the oil lamps: Aldo Rontini, Lorenzo Burchiellaro, Nino Caruso, Luigi Gismondo, Riccardo Biavati to mention but a few names.
All of them have added to the myth of the olive oil, a green thread in the history of mankind. It was first used to bring light to the prehistoric man’s dark nights, then for religious, medical, cosmetic, sport and food purposes. Its magic has never died. That’s why a visit to the Lungarotti Museum of the Olive Tree and Oil in Torgiano is recommended. They hosts a large collection of ceramic oil lamps, some of them dating back to the VII century b.C., that adds a new dimension to the history of this precious fruit of our territory.
Perugia, Rocca Paolina February 7-17, 2009
Torgiano, Olive Tree and Oil Museum March 7 – April 14, 2009
Phone: +39 0759880200