Fabio Cresci and Stefano Tondo
una ciliegia sul tram
4 - 29 March 2008
Cherry on a streetcar is a fragment taken from a verse by the Russian poet Osip Mandelshtam, where the cherry appears as the extreme, fragile manifestation of the beauty, fullness and sweetness of life even when life is about to be denied: Mandelshtam was killed because of a poem.
The work is the metaphorically transfigured image of a process involving a series of meetings between the artists, curator and the temporary guests at the international students residence of Rondine, the citadel of peace near Arezzo which welcomes and supports young people from areas of conflict around the world in their university studies.
The artists have come up with and produced an autonomous and complementary work which is presented in the gallery as a single body comprising distinct parts. Without doubt, a prominent feature of the project consists of the fact that the works, despite being perfectly distinct and structurally autonomous, integrate perfectly to form a single body.
The centre of the room was occupied by a group of poles and flags scattered about the floor like in a game of jackstraws, but the impression conjured up by the work of Fabio Cresci is neither playful nor ironic. The flags, signs of belonging, indicating new or old territories and their ideal boundaries, are disavowed, bundled up in knots. The standards are the same as those flanking the small rise up to the hamlet of Rondine, representing the different nationalities of its guests.
Arranged randomly on the walls of the same room was a constellation of loud speakers suggesting a geography of sounds. From the background murmur one could make out the single voices of the students from Rondine as they tell their stories, in response to the questions asked, putting forward their reflections, illustrating their points of view. Hence Stefano Tondo built a second level of interpretation of a more intimate and individual nature compared to the flags that represent collective, national situations. Once the visual mediation has been eliminated, even against the speakers’ will, the inflection of the voice, its sound, reveals their psychological and emotional state, made of breaths, pauses, accents, obviously in addition to the actual contents of their speech.
Between these two levels making up the main architecture of the show, we must add a third, airier one, more similar to a light connective tissue, which suggests an “external” or “more infinite” viewpoint to the first two.