Sepphoris is a Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale organised by Assessorato alla Cultura del Comune di Narni, a Sidereal Space of Art and Satellite Berlin. Curated by Raffaele Gavarro.
Sepphoris is an artwork that Alessandro Valeri has conceived and created to provide direct support for the orphanage at Tzipori, a village located close to Nazareth in the middle of the Galilee region in Israel, where a tiny community of nuns of the Order of the Daughters of Saint Anne takes care of children from all ethnic and religious groups. Art, nowadays, is an ethical statement whose aim is to change reality. A position which is a direct consequence of its turning into a reality within reality, and which requires its going beyond the representational function and partial overlapping with reality itself, as it has been defined by aesthetic interpretation. And while art expands beyond aesthetics as its specific domain, which includes both its function and the judgment about what is beautiful and pleasurable and what it is not, there arises the need to redefine a role for art in the times and the world we live in, a redefinition that implies a reframing of artwork, not as an object of contemplation but as an experience of and in the world, which produces a transformation through critical action.
According to Adorno in his Aesthetic Theory, “Only artworks that are to be sensed as a form of comportment have a raison d’être. Art is not only the plenipotentiary of a better praxis than that which has to date predominated, but is equally the critique of praxis as the rule of brutal self-preservation at the heart of the status quo and in its service.” So, going beyond the state of things, this is the function that art has permanently assumed today, starting with the historical undertaking of a bourgeois conscience, and thus replacing the consolatory practice of representation. A transformation that art accomplishes by leveraging on its autonomy within the social context and which, by necessity, requires its statement to have an ethical direction, lest this transformation itself have no meaning at all.
Sepphoris is the inevitable result of these conditions: it intervenes directly on reality and modifies it, thus overcoming, de facto, the given conditions. The images that form the aerial installation which spirals up through the hollow of the building of Molino Stucky, are the result of the real experience Alessandro Valeri has had in the orphanage at Tzipori, a “promise of happiness” which, to continue with Adorno’s ideas, discerns a possibility of happiness beyond the practice determined by the current state of things. These images do not represent—they are an instrument for the real transformation of a place, and point to the realization of a happiness that, although perceived as something beyond current circumstances, appears, nonetheless, real and attainable.
Molino Stucky, Molino Stucky, interior atrium, Giudecca, 812