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Mauro Staccioli

Piramide 38 parallelo

curated by


21 March 2010


21 March, the spring equinox, will see the inauguration in Motta d’Affermo (Messina) of the 38th Parallel Pyramid by Mauro Staccioli, commissioned upon the desire of Antonio Presti for his now historic Fiumara d’Arte foundation (

The imposing 38th Parallel Pyramid is named after its location on a plateau in the vicinity of Motta d’Affermo overlooking the sea and the Eolian islands with the archaeological excavation of the ancient city of Halaesa in the background. 30 metres high, it has a triangular base since, as Staccioli states, ‘The triangle is the three-pointed image whose vertexes I imagine to be Art, Religion and Philosophy. It is Sicily… I was interested in creating a place at once universal and particular, where man can stop to reflect upon the meaning of existence: a question without an answer, perhaps, but tangible, a secular place for reflection upon being and being-in-the-world today.’

The structure of the Pyramid, a hollow tetrahedron, is made out of hundreds of corten steel plates: a special material that oxidises in contact with the air to assume an intense brown colour. At sunset the setting sun’s rays give the brown steel a red light which penetrates the inside of the sculpture through a cut in the edge facing north-west, towards Cefalù. The centre of the Pyramid is completed by some ancient ‘ferrous’ stones, smoothed by the sea before the waters withdrew from the plateau, found during excavations and put back together to make a spiral inside the work. Hence the artist reclaims the two opposing forces: horizontal force through the spiral – which marks the life-death cycle – and the vertical force of the sky-earth axis which comes out of the centre of the spiral to join up with the vertex. Summing up immanence and transcendency perfectly. Thus it is as if the Pyramid were nourished by the same iron red earth upon which it is erected, with its interior expressing the search for and accomplishment of balance.

This new work in the Nebrodi sculpture park, which took two and a half years to build, was made in partnership with the municipality of Motta d’Affermo, under the guidance of the mayor Sebastiano Adamo, and with contributions from the regional cultural heritage council as part of the Sicily 2000/2006 Regional Operational Programme. In addition it has received funding from the Fiumara d’Arte law and donations from the Fiumara d’Arte foundation represented by Antonio Presti.

Vertex height: 30 m – length of the sides of the equilateral triangle at the base: 22 m
Materials: concrete (base) – corten steel
Project designer: architect Angelo Pettineo
Works and calculation management: Marcello Arici and Salvatore Serio
Construction firms: Zetazo di Zambito from Vicari (Pa) and Bruno Paolo from Pettineo (Me)

Gianfranco Molino, event executive producer
Antonio Presti-Fiumara d’Arte Foundation
Mobile 349-2231802; e-mail: 

For those who would like to know Mauro Staccioli’s work, whose hallmark since the 1960s has been his constant work in and for the locality, the exhibition Volterra. Luoghi d’esperienza will be underway throughout 2010. The exhibition comprises 15 monumental sculptures installed in the area around the town of Volterra which can be seen by following a picturesque route through his hills.

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