Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani presents the first solo exhibition by Gabriella Ciancimino, entitled “The Room of Sirocco“.
“I wish I could’ve been a bird, so I could have flown back and forth between here and there to be with everyone”. This was written around 1920 by a woman from the South of Italy who frequented the most radical political environments of
New York. Gabriella Ciancimino, Sicilian, borrows these anonymous lines to introduce us into her Room of Sirocco.
Aristocratic eighteenth-century country houses in Sicily featured comfortable underground living environments, often decorated, that in summertime constituted the best refuge from the torrid heat brought in by the south-east winds. They were called “camere delle scirocco” – rooms of sirocco – and the temperature there was lower thanks to the fresh air currents generated by the flow of water, rendered possible by the Arab hydraulic system of the qanat. These rooms offered cooling relief and Ciancimino re-proposes them today as a metaphor of a condition of freedom. For some time, the artist has been investigating the dynamics of adaptation, interaction and self-organization of the
migratory flows of human beings and of plants that she interprets as phenomena of modification of the landscape in virtue of their crossing territorial borders. The landscape she envisions is essentially a place for reflection, but also a
place for safeguarding the historical memory and collective action.
Her work has taken place in different landscapes: Morocco, Sicily, Turkey and she tells about “those who come from far away” and arrive in the port cities that throughout the centuries have maintained their role of entrance gates for
migratory flows. What fascinates her is the libertarian attitude of men, women and plants whose micro-stories, yesterday just like today, can be reconnected to the great history of resistance – historical for the ones, biological for the others.
The Room of Sirocco stems from a reflection on the feeling of nomadism and on the subsequent sense of nostalgia deriving from being inside and outside national boundary lines. A reflection on the meaning of frontier, that non-place adjacent to a limit that becomes an area of universal transition, fertile ground for new ecological relationships. The Room of Sirocco is an invitation to reflect on how the frontier can become a free-zone for an ecologically modified landscape, whose border lines are not divisions but rather segments of comparison. The title of the exhibition underscores the desire to find a cool refuge in an environment inflamed by conflicts.