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Luca Serasini: never-before-seen stars

    Eleonora Raspi, art curator


    M’arte / Personale 2016, occurred in both the hamlet of Montegemoli (PI) and the town of Larderello (PI) from the 15th of July to the 15th of August, is a biennial contemporary art project promoted by Pro Loco Montegemoli in collaboration with Accademia Libera Natura e Cultura, Querceto. In light of the cultural view and aims of the event, for the 2016 edition M’arte Committee presents Costellazioni by Luca Serasini (Pisa, 1971) and curated by Eleonora Raspi.
    On this occasion, together with a solo and multimedia exhibition displaying thoughts and drafts surrounding the project Costellazioni, Serasini presents two new works: the first one is the site-specific photographic installation Costellazioni Larderello, set in the square in front of the Museo della Geotermia in Larderello; the second one is the interactive land art work Pegaso, 10 storie per 10 stelle (Pegasus, 10 stories for 10 stars) in the area Campo a Farina, at the entrance of Montegemoli.
    While Costellazioni Larderello asks to the viewer to contemplate its inner silent dialogue, the single stars of Pegaso (through the use of interactive telephones) tell their individual story to those who stop stops to listen to them.
    Costellazioni Larderello is a segment of a starry sky. In the installation, the artist decides to show together the constellations that he has been working on during the last years, as a kind of summa of his recent work. Each of the five illuminated points displays the image of a cooling tower with a constellation: Orion, the great hunter; Pegasus; Taurus and the Pleiades, the first constellations from which it all began; the Big Dipper, recently presented in Yorkshire. For Pegaso, Serasini draws the constellation with meters of nonwoven fabric on a steep terrain, and underlines the living presence of each star with old phones, programmed to ring (and thus to attract the attention of the visitor) whereas a visitor approaches them. Invited to pick up the phone, the visitor is told the story and personality of the star (in Italian, English and German depending on the selected number).
    Light is source of life and synonymous with energy.
    Light is richness, and what guides the traveler in the night.
    Light is the main element of Serasini’s work. “There is nothing more globalized then the sky in the night. Do we really need the stars? Or they are like ancient cults of forgotten gods, overtaken, buried by new cults and new gods? Only in empty spaces, as the desert or the sea, it is perhaps still possible to feel their presence”, the artist reflects. Two complementary forces drive Serasini: the writer and scientist, two faces of the same creative universe. In the planning stage of the work, there is the minutia of the technician, the obsession for detail, and the need – almost instictive – to discover hidden mechanisms.
    At the same time, we can perceive the designer’s delicate hand; his language that becomes minimal, and breathes everything in the images, the light, the sound and the tissues that create his installations. These, whereas designed in a field, or facing the entrance of a museum, offer surprises to those who decide to stop and observe them, and thus follow their guidance.
    Costellazioni invites the viewer to reflect on the true need of contemporary man of the stars, or rather, it asks him/her to look at them closer one more time, stretched out on an unusual sky. In Pegaso every star “calls for” attention, dialogues with the visitor and becomes the protagonist of his/her temporary but sensitive experience. Almost unexpectedly, Galileo Galilei’s words come to mind, and in particular the beginning of Siderus Nuncius, published in Venice in 1610 and dedicated to the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo II de Medici: “ Certainly it is a great thing to add to the countless multitude of fixed stars visible hitherto by natural means and expose to our eyes innumerable others never seen before, which exceed tenfold the number of old and known ones”. With these words Galileo introduced to the Grand Duke the importance of his discoveries in astronomy made thanks to the revolutionary telescope instrument; specifically he referred to the discovery of the four satellites of Jupiter, which he baptized “Medicean planets”.
    With his two site-specific installations, Serasini offers to the viewer similar suggestions to those of Galileo’s text. The same awe, which probably raised in Cosimo II, can be seen appearing in the eyes of those who are in front of Pegaso and Costellazioni Larderello. Like a high and tipping, the various constellations, which generally appear distant and tiny, materialize before our eyes, and ask to be encountered and heard. Art becomes bearer of images of reality, of ideas. It becomes a tool in the hands of an artist who invites his viewers not only to see again what has been forgotten, but to reflect on such forgetfulness.
    Costellazioni is part of the research work undertaken by Serasini in recent years, and establishes a dialogue with the artist’s previous works such as: Constellation Taurus (2013), Orion, the great hunter, made during an artist residency at Commodity Ceppaiano ( 2015), and Alcor & Mizar at Art in the Woods, Holmfirth Arts Festival (Yorkshire, 2016). The artist began his artistic career in the 90s: his interdisciplinary practice includes drawing, painting, short and medium-length film, collage serial photo and video art installation. In his work, the classical myth plays a significant role, as well as his training in electronics. After the solo show Prevalentemente Rosso in Querceto in 2009, in the same year he presents in dettaglio at Irena Kos Arte Contemporanea art gallery in Pietrasanta, and in 2011 he participates to the collective Conteminazioni in Pontedera. In March he 2012 has solo show la dinamica dietro l’idea in Pisa, at the Exhibition Space Above The Lodges, and in 2013 Mi-no-Tauro? At the IED headquarters in Florence.