03 june 2014
Per aquam
Creatures and memories

The core-concept of Cotognini's project for this exhibition, articulated in several installations rigorously site specific, is the sea, conceived as archive and treasure chest of memories, limitless repository of objects and relics coming from a past that water and time, «that mighty sculptor» (Yourcenar), transform, conceal, and, sometimes, return back to us. Starting from Desantnik USV50 – a model of diving helmet produced in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, and here employed as personal interpretation of Apollo's bronze head that surfaced in the bay of Salerno – the artist has envisaged an aquatic itinerary that articulates in the Museum’s space. This itinerary aims at offering to the public a series of constructive contradictions, analytical actions, and underwater paths impacting on past and present. Thus, the diving helmet becomes an «artefact of contemporary archaeology», but also a useful «tool» «to travel through the water in search of new archaeological discoveries», of new spells, of new haunting atmospheres. Disseminated through the museum's collections, there are drawings representing Ichtyomorphs, creatures in the shape of fish, like The Sea Bishop or The Sea Monk, and some glass Dragonflies, water insects symbolising the warrior's unquenchable disquiet of the spirit. A light up diptych, a light box describing the two «medusas», the mythological Greek monster and the jellyfish (medusa), connects the two floors of the museum. Taken all together, these artworks take part in a process of gentle contamination between themselves and the archaeological artefacts stored in the Museum, tracing an itinerary aimed at celebrating the Tyrrhenian Sea, its hidden treasures, and its culture. Immersion, a sound-track produced in collaboration with the sound artist Carlo Marchionni, acts as a link between the different works of art and propagates through the museum's space, turning it into a total work of art. The effect is the production of a fairytale-like narrative bridging different moods and languages, to the point of joining together the realm of archaeology with that of contemporary art. During the opening the artist will invite the public to a critical conversation devoted to the discussion of his research and the motives behind the creation of his project for the Archaeological Museum of the Province of Salerno.