Lucerna Circus – A Ceramic Oil Lamp Exhibition

February 7-17, 2009
Perugia – Italy

Frezzini&Zaganelli - Circo Lucerna e Romeo il clown - 2008Each 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;

Frezzini&Zaganelli - Margò la donna cannone e Ercole il forzuto - 2008Ercole, a brawny and good giant, with an invincible body and a child’s heart;

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.
Lucerna Circus
Perugia, Rocca Paolina  February 7-17, 2009
Torgiano, Olive Tree and Oil Museum March 7 – April 14, 2009
Phone: +39 0759880200

One thought on “Lucerna Circus – A Ceramic Oil Lamp Exhibition

  1. Hello,

    i have recently returned from a trip to Rome and are very interested to start a buisness in Australia selling ceramic and bronze Roman oil lamp reproductions. The few i saw in Rome were all in tourist shops…is it possible that you could put me in contact with some direct makers or artisians?

    Cameron Davidson

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