Painting, sculpture, photography and cinematography are nowadays the most common forms of art. But in a world that is constantly changing, other art forms such as installation art are becoming more and more important: visual, auditory, tactile and sometimes even olfactory kinds of installations. No matter what the setting is going to be, as long as the installations are aimed at finding an alternate means of expression and communication. Even though this might seem a more difficult way to convey the message, once the message is relayed, it’s going to reach both heart and soul in a straightforward and powerful way.
Rita Pierangelo, artist and researcher, constantly experiences new forms of art. She worked on settings of installation art quite a few times. Through atmosphere and sound they communicate the same kind of emotions conveyed by her paintings. This very last installation is probably her most eccentric and out of the ordinary performance, but also the most effective.
The setting is a room, with a coffin in the middle, recalling the Graveyard Poets from the 18th Century, characterized by their gloomy meditations on mortality, telling about death, ghosts, graves, in the context of the graveyard. The visitors are encouraged to get into the coffin for a simulation of their death. A video will be displayed: the artist’s aim is to preserve essentiality and immediacy and to describe the situation in vivid images. At first a bright light will turn on, and then the visitors will see all their memories passing through. They did a lot of things, but still they are sad when realizing how many more they could have done. Even though the people shown in the video are alive, they look like ghosts with no emotions.
The performance makes everybody wonder: it slowly instills doubt in the mind of the deceased. They look from the bottom upwards and start thinking about what their lives have been about: a closely spaced succession of successful events, wrong choices, enjoyable experiences, good and bad actions, words not said.
While the coffin is going to be covered with earth the man’s frozen heart is filled with panic. The lights are fading; it’s too late for regrets: they were taken away with the last sigh of life. Suddenly all around is dark and silent. The only sound heard is made by the shovel digging into the ground to bury another life wasted in foolishness.
The visitors’ attention is finally drawn and they are thrown into history, until they identify themselves in the video. They think about their lives and end up feeling uncomfortable and under the greatest strain.
When the lights are back on the tension is finally alleviated. The public realize that they can still open the door in front of them and get away.
The grave is the heart of the matter: this metaphor does not symbolize nihilism but hope instead. The artist is strongly convinced of the fact that there is something after death that makes it worth living happily.
Rita Pierangelo sends a provocative warning: it is not acceptable to find ourselves reflecting upon our existence only at death’s door.
It sounds like an invitation to be more aware, not to let time pass by and miss opportunities.
This installation is inspired by the phrase “Carpe Diem” from a Latin poem by Roman poet Horace: it’s not a question of living today without sticking to a happy medium (“mediocritas” for the Romans). It’s more about seizing every positive aspects of life without forgetting that we can enjoy a rewarding life only if we are fully aware and live in moderation. That’s the only way for us to be loved, to make our dreams come true and to use our skills at best. A strong message, that helps in every moment of life.