We have chosen the title Fermata Terra for this collection of texts to accompany the visitor’s journey through the Padiglione Italia. It is our contribution to the “History of the Night and Destiny of the Comets”, the title and opening words of the artwork-journey that the artist Gian Maria Tosatti has created for the spaces of the Tese delle Vergini at the Arsenale and that Eugenio Viola has curated. Together, the two titles generate a story, a geography, an extensive cosmology that we can embrace through art, reflection, comparison and the responsibility that we all owe to our planet.
This publication renews the collaboration between Il Giornale dell’Arte and the ministry of culture and directorate general for contemporary creativity and it reaffirms the special attention we have always paid to the Venice Biennale. Fermata Terra demonstrates our commitment to Italian art of all times, including the most recent. It is both a book to be read and a “book-site” in the form of glowing screens ready to welcome other voices. Book, site, place and speech, Fermata Terra is another opportunity for Società Editrice Allemandi to experiment with new formats that combine voices, articles, interviews, historical and theoretical writing with an array of images.
The environmental installation by Gian Maria Tosatti is constructed as a “symbolic story of the rise and decline of the Italian industrial dream”, accompanied by these interconnecting points of view, as expressed in history, literature and art, philosophy and economics, geography and politics.
What emerges most vividly is an appeal for shared reasoning, for an “ecology of relationships”, to use the expression of the urban philosopher Tiziana Villani in conversation with Matthew Gandy, Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography at Cambridge and theorist of the “ecological pluriverse”. Dead bodies, waste and the lethal asbestos dust fill the essays and conversations of Fermata Terra; but they are also inhabited by trees and butterflies, by Carlo Levi’s snail that sets us an example by building its own home, and by the fireflies that the movie director and writer, Pier Paolo Pasolini, would have gladly exchanged for all the industries of Montedison, beings and materials that the art historian and philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman has found and rethought as they try “to rebuild elsewhere their community, their minority, their shared destiny “.
To conclude this invitation to read, I am borrowing a thought expressed by the art critic Achille Bonito Oliva with which he warns us that art is an “adventure”, “a way to overcome the singular creative self of the artist and affirm a “we”, a collective inspiration that somehow allows the general public at the Biennale to become aware of how art speaks of everyone”.