The Lia Rumma Gallery in Naples is pleased to announce the new personal exhibition by Franco Scognamiglio entitled Vita di Galileo (Life of Galileo). Franco Scognamiglio’s new project focuses on the figure of Galileo Galilei, the most important events of his life and, in particular, the trial organized by the Church against his new heliocentric theory of the universe. The artist has modified the gallery space by creating a polygonal room near to the entrance. The room is painted dark grey and is intended to reconstruct the claustrophobic space of a cell, a reference to Galileo’s imprisonment. Inside the space, a video is projected showing an imaginary cosmic space, inspired by the theories of the great scientist. On another wall, a sculpture creates a negative image of a profile of a human figure by means of protruding pointed needles that allude to torture. After passing through the small dark room, the rest of the gallery is characterized by white walls occupied by five lightboxes devoted to the life of Galileo. Using three-dimensional animation, the images reproduce virtual spaces with strong symbolic value. Bookshops, concentric circles, planets, telescopes and ladders allude not just to the study and empirical observation of reality but to the store of man’s knowledge and represent a sort of “theatre of memory”. With this definition, Scognamiglio is referring to the words of the American anthropologist Derrick de Kerckhove who considers the structure of the theatre as a possible physical simulation of mental space. The theatre of Galileo thus becomes a visionary space that subverts all proportional logic and all theories of the gravity of bodies. This contrasts with the vision of the Church, formalized by architectural elements of Gothic style which refer to a medieval conception of the world. In this way, a striking contrast is created between Galileo’s modern vision of the world and the Church’s attachment to tradition. The passages placed next to the images of the lightboxes have been taken from two works by Galileo, the Sidereus Nuncius (The Starry Messenger) and the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, and by the indictments formulated by the Church.
Scognamiglio’s work on Galileo continues his research which began with the video Degli Infiniti Mondi (About Infinite Worlds) made in 2001 and which was devoted to the trial of Giordano Bruno and his subsequent sentencing to be burnt at the stake.