The Greek word for “bone” is ὀστέον (“osteon”); also derivable from Greek “ostrakon” (oyster shell). Proto-Indo-European *h₃ésth₁, Sanskrit अस्थि (ásthi) from wich “ashes” (cremated remains). Cognates include Latin “os” and Old Armenian ոսկր (oskr). Other roots: Hittite “hashtai-“, Avestan “ascu-“ (shinbone), Welsh “asgwrn”, Albanian “asht”. 

A thigh bone probably belonging to a young bull, I found on a beach at Bracciano Lake, in Lazio, Italy, which I gilded.

A thigh bone probably belonging to a young bull, I found on a beach at Bracciano Lake, in Lazio, Italy, which I gilded.

Medicine defines “bone” as a semi-rigid organ that constitutes part of the vertebrate skeleton. Bones support and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells, store minerals, provide structure and support for the body, and enable mobility. Bones come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have a complex internal and external structure. They are lightweight yet strong and hard, and serve multiple functions.


A long lasting relation connects all cultures of the world with the cult of bones from the beginning of time. From a symbolic point of view, bones are often considered as a symbol of mortality, but they also represents permanence beyond death as well as our earthly passage. In some way, bones represent our truest and barest self: they are the frame of our bodies – our home and anchor in the physical world. As minerals, they remind us of our origin from inanimate matter. As adornment bones are usually used as a connection with the dead ones, exorcism of fear, they may also represent aging, self-empowerment, appropriation of the strength of the enemy or the prey.

By virtue of this symbolic power, bones and skeletons have deep significance in our dreaming activity. For instance, ‘being stripped or cut to the bone’ may signify a sudden insight or an attack on your personality, ‘fractured limbs’ may be interpreted as a threat to the foundations of life, and to personal power, ‘broken bones’ may mean weakness in your plans or psychology. Additionally skeletons can sometimes refer to a secret as revealed by the idiom ‘skeleton in the closet’ used to describe an undisclosed fact about someone which, if revealed, would damage perceptions of the person. An “inconvenient truth”, fact or event, kept secret for so long that it has decomposed to bones.

Death Tarot card.

Death Tarot card.

In the greatest arcades of the Tarot, Death, the number thirteen, has predominantly a positive meaning: it represents change, transformation, as a life cycle stage, it therefore fits into a personal pathway, and brings renewal. The skeleton is a memento mori, the sickle symbolizes the crop season and therefore, for the messes, it is the end of a phase and the beginning of another. This arcane is meant as rebirth, a moment in which it is necessary to change, to close with the past and look up to the future. It may also be an invitation to grow, to spiritually evolve, to mature, linked to the need to make a square clean of something, or simply to prepare for radical changes.


The fear of death and the desire to see/understand its mystery, have always stimulated human thought and actions and are actually at the origin of the culture. Since the Neolithic, the scarneficated skull was detached from the dead body to turn it into a sculpture that could remind the person alive. The famous skull of Jericho, dating back to 7000 BCE, even holds a smiling expression, thanks to a couple of shells posed in place of the eyes. It tells of the desire of immortality, of the will to exorcise death, of the hope in a better afterlife. This custom is still universally valid today and makes our perception of the world almost magical.

A plastered skull from the ancient city of Jericho in Palestine 7000 BCE.

A plastered skull from the ancient city of Jericho in Palestine 7000 BCE.

In Latin-America, bones and skeletons are part of the landscape, of what surrounds you, as well as death, an essential part of personal fantasy and culture (see Día de Muertos), in countries where you feel that life is hanging on a thread and it is therefore best to face it with a smile or irony. In Europe, and Western culture in general, from the industrial revolution, death has been considered much obscene to sex and its reproduction actually a taboo. Life and death are clearly separate. Where life is celebrated, death is censored, although in other times it was not so.

In the Middle Ages or the Renaissance, the depiction of death was indeed not a cause of clamour. Just think of the ossuaries that spread throughout Europe, like Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome, the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic or the Capela dos Ossos in Évora, Portugal. In figurative art, the privileged subjects of the art depiction were crucifixions, deposition, and chronicles of martyrdom: the most erratic and cruel deaths were a direct show on the public squares and the taste of the horror was something absolutely acceptable.

The Triumph of Death (1446) – Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Palazzo Abatellis, Palermo (Italy).

The Triumph of Death (1446) – Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Palazzo Abatellis, Palermo (Italy).

Today the “deadly theme” has become popular again, in art an not only. Is it just scandalous, shocking merchandising, to make much money as quick as possible? A traditional way to ironize with the “huesuda señora” (the bony lady) that we all, sooner or later, must face? Or – if artists are the forerunners of the times – it is also a way to exorcise the phantom of our imminent extinction and invite to action?

One of the artists closest to this esoteric vision of life, death, and temporality is the Italian magician and artist Gino De Dominicis. In “Il tempo, lo sbaglio e lo spazio” (Time, Mistake, Space) (1969) the skeleton figures of a dog and the man who keeps him on the leash with the roller-skates at his feet are the metaphor of the tempus fugit while, at the same time, suggesting an impressive vital energy. A key to this work is found in the “Lettera sull’Immortalità” (Letter on Immortality) the artist wrote in 1970: «Since man cannot intervene directly on himself to stop the inexorable advance of his own ‘internal time’ and prolong his own life span, he has invented the means to make it that much faster: by intervening in space, he has indirectly managed to influence time. This operation might be justified only if space were finite and our imagination limited. Unfortunately, however, it is simply a palliative and a terrible mistake.”». In his vision, human being is always trying to overcome the limits of his own mortality even though he is fatally besieged in a fate of death. For this reason art becomes an exercise of freedom.

“Il tempo, lo sbaglio e lo spazio” (1969) – Gino De Dominicis Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 2014.

“Il tempo, lo sbaglio e lo spazio” (1969) – Gino De Dominicis Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 2014.

De Dominicis’ esoteric tension is even more evident in the “Cosmic Magnet” (1988), the 24-meter-long sculpture-skeleton exhibited for the first time in Grenoble in 1990. Actually De Dominicis wanted to cover it entirely with pure gold, but even so naked, gently resting on the ground, with its beak nose in the air and that golden antenna-rod (or gnomon?) in perfect balance on the last distal phalanx of the middle finger of the right hand, entertains not only a conversation with the cosmic space, but also with us little terrestrials so busy with our futile daily affairs and forgetful of existential issues, which are universal.

“Cosmic Magnet” (1988) – Gino De Dominicis

“Cosmic Magnet” (1988) – Gino De Dominicis

Another huge skeleton around the world is “Habibi” by French-Berber-Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed, who in 2004 created this 17-meter-long skeleton suspended in mid-air, levitating on his stomach, as if it was a whale in a natural science museum. Unlike Gino De Dominicis’ skeleton lying on the ground, Abdessemed’s is taking off like an airplane or a superhero, managing to escape the laws of gravity. “Habibi” then (‘much beloved’, in arabic) is the artist himself, a huge self-portrait, a very contemporary representation of vanitas.

“Habibi” (2004) – Adel Abdessemed

“Habibi” (2004) – Adel Abdessemed

Some of the features of this philosophical idea have been universally represented in every historical period. An example may be the ‘still life’ of vanitas vanitatum of the Middle Ages and subsequent centuries, a reminder of the transient quality of earthly pleasures symbolized by the presence of the skull.

“Vanité, ou Allégorie de la vie humaine” (1644) – Philippe de Champaigne

“Vanité, ou Allégorie de la vie humaine” (1644) – Philippe de Champaigne

The inclusion of the skull represents the brevity of human life (and especially the fact that death will touch us all, whether you are rich or poor) and its knowledge (compared to divine omniscience), but it is also a symbol of strong magical connotation, especially in Indian and Nepalese culture: see, for example, the skull wreaths worn by some Hindu gods such as Shiva or Kali or the Tibetan god Kurukulla. Death indicates – without a doubt – the ultimate end to the physical existence of the human being. Yet it is (perhaps) a transient state that leads to another form of ‘life’: resurrection, reincarnation, immortality through the transmutation of the soul.

All cultures base their existence on the dead ones: they talk to us from their tombs in books, dreams, legends, portraits, mausoleums and monuments. It’s their way of communicating the guidelines of our existence, to make the world and its rules understandable. The traces that we leave during our existence and after death inspire the work of several contemporary artists. The Swiss Olaf Breuning, puts dozens of skeletons or skulls in gardens or rooms as if they were expecting something.

“Skeletons” (2002) – Olaf Breuning

“Skeletons” (2002) – Olaf Breuning

Marc Quinn uses blood and other materials to reflect on death, how life works, an about body mutability. One of the themes of his research is the preservation and maintenance of living forms, as when immersing flowers in frozen silicone (“Garden”, 2000); but it is undoubtedly known for works that have the subject of the human body and its deformities, such as the incredible skeleton of a man affected by phocomelia who lived in the second half of the eighteenth century: “Portrait of Marc Cazotte” (2006). These are works of art to enable a communication with those who have already died, to make people acquire familiarity with their own mortality, to take away the scary nature of death.

“Portrait of Marc Cazotte” (2006) – Marc Quinn

Artists, and not only them, have often sought the opposite of death in the passion of erotism. For example, Ana Mendieta, a Cuban-American artist who resumes the theme of “Morte e la Fancilla” (The Death and The Girl) in a Femminist key, lying naked above a skeleton as in “On Giving Life” (1975). She kisses it, owns it on a lush lawn to emphasize the naturalness of the act. You can literary make love with death – as well as with your fears.

“On Giving Life” (1975) – Ana Mendieta

“On Giving Life” (1975) – Ana Mendieta

A theme ideally re-addressed by Marina Abramovic in her video-perfomance “Nude with Skeleton” (2005). The Serbian artist lies down naked with a skeleton on top of her. The living and dead body are almost perfectly aligned. The skull and Abramovic’ head look to the same direction. The ribs of the skeleton press upon her chest. Her breathing is accentuated and amplified. The skeleton’s spine, ribcage and head follow her movements while she inhales and exhales. According to Abramovic, the human skeleton is a metaphorical representation of «…the last mirror we will all face» , referring to death and temporality, which are recurring themes in her work.

“Nude with Skeleton” (2005) – Marina Abramovic

“Nude with Skeleton” (2005) – Marina Abramovic

Another use of bones and skeleton in the Serbian artist is displayed in her most famous “Balkan Baroque”. In this work Abramovic presents a video showing herself brushing a heap of huge (animal) bones, which are then placed, once cleaned, in the museal space at the side of the screen. She proposes the idea of a body reduced to inanimate matter. The exhibition of the bones becomes relation between representation and fruition (by the spectator) of the horrid and the sublime. The horrid here plays a role of social criticism (Abramovic is talking about the horrors of ethnic war in the territories of the former Yugoslavia) as well as of transcendence, in relation to religion and the exorcization of death.

“Balkan Baroque”(1997) – Marina Abramovic

“Balkan Baroque”(1997) – Marina Abramovic

There so many examples of artists in contemporary art using, emphasizing, allegorising the “deadly theme” through the use of bones, skulls and skeletons. And there are plenty of skull representations in art history, from that depicted by the technique of Hans Holbein‘s anamorphosis in the canvas called The “Ambassadors” (or of the contemporary American artist Robert Lazzarini who makes them equally distorted and without any background), up to Andy Warhol’s serigraphs.

Mumoc (1976) – Andy Warhol

Mumoc (1976) – Andy Warhol

Skull and skeletons are also present in Warhol’s protégé  Michel Basquiat‘s works , functioning as officiants and making accessible to the public his own Haitian cultural roots. He transforms himself in a shaman – in the hungan of the vodoo tradition –and his paintings are full of symbols, altars, skeletons and skulls, clairvoyant eyes, tools of the trade of the ‘medicine man’ to perform spells and inserted in a US metropolitan context, with continuous references to everyday life.

“Profit” (1982) – Jean-Michel Basquiat

“Profit” (1982) – Jean-Michel Basquiat

The iconoclast British duo Jake & Dinos Chapman often use skeletons and bones, as well as putrescent bodies, grotesque and teratological figures in their works for addressing topics related to death, war, horror and human destruction as in “Sneezy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Snoddy, Grumpy, Dopey” (exhibited at art show Barrocos y Neobarrocos. “El Infierno de lo Bello”,  2005-2006). In this site-specific work, humongous skulls (120cmx70) – presumibly the leftovers of the seven dwarfs – are placed on the ground, each of them with their skull vault entirely covered with tattooed messages for the living. They become desecrating presences, surreal objects in which the spectator becomes part of the sculptural space.

“Sneezy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Snoddy, Grumpy, Dopey” (2005-2006) – Jake & Dinos Chapman

“Sneezy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Snoddy, Grumpy, Dopey” (2005-2006) – Jake & Dinos Chapman

In the seeminlgy human zoo art show “Mementum Moronika”, which neologism is based on the word “moron” to poke fun at the pathos of memento mori, the duo enact an ode to the idiocy of the world. The brothers illustrate that humanism, in the sense of the French philosopher George Bataille (whom they revere), is deceptive. They present the violent part of humanity, to recall that everyone is capable of tormenting others and thus carrying human reason to its grave. In this context skull-based works are inevitable: rotten, altered or deformed to address the fragility of human beings as “Famine” or “Migraine“.

“Famine” (2004) – Jake & Dinos Chapman

“Famine” (2004) – Jake & Dinos Chapman

In Paolo Canevari the skull is instead used to denounce the desensitizing effect of mass media. In his video “Bouncing Skull”, one of the most emblematic and dreadfull works presented at the Venice Biennale 2007, surrounde by the apocalyptic scenario of the buildings bombed by NATO in 1999 in Belgrade, a child is playing football with what turns out to be a skull.

Thoughts run to other “famous” skeletons like those that populate the paintings and drawings of Otto Dix, an artist considered degenerate from Nazism who knew how to denounce in color and in black and white the tyranny, the war, the fears, the miseries and the human weaknesses, with nightmares on canvas that still have such an expressive force to cause an ethical catharsis in the observer.

“Meal in Sap trench” (1924) – Otto Dix

“Meal in Sap trench” (1924) – Otto Dix


The representation of the skeleton grin and of slouching motility of the skeleton intrinsically hold the paradox of death celebrating life, similar to the carnival representations (Halloween), thus becoming a grotesque integral part of the daily anthropological panorama. It is not difficult to understand how, at some point in our history, the skull and the skeleton have become a symbol of challenge, dangerous living, of a provocation for its own sake, sometimes even losing the intrinsic value of spiritual research (as in fashion and paraphernalia).

Recent neo-baroque and neo-gothic artistic trends use the shape and image of the skull and skeleton by re-proposing them as anti-icon par excellence, since taboos of death and its representation have been overcome or modified. And so ‘skull-mania’ bursts, as fashion magazines call it. The pirate symbol has become a must: you can find it on big stars t-shirts and foulards, carried by teenagers on the neck and bags, reproduced in jewels of prestigious brands for ladies. There is a profusion of bones and skulls everywhere, even embroidered on shoes. As the contemporary speaks of inconvenient catastrophes, terrorist attacks, environmental disasters, wearing a deathly icon has a paradoxically skirmish value and an apotropaic function: it protects against dangers.

3D male/female skeletons graffiti over a building facate in Kreuzberg, Berlin.

3D male/female skeletons graffiti over a building facate in Kreuzberg, Berlin.

The fascination with the image of the skull and the skeleton and other apocalyptic icons is not just a way to make love with death or make fun of the fear of mortality inherent in Western culture. Besides the obvious contrast between good and evil, it is a way to ironize on the dilated paranoia, to challenge an increasingly dominant, vigilant status quo. A challenge then used a lot by the subculture of heavy metalpunk or hard core bands that made the skull a public property, and also lucrative merchandise: flags, pins, t-shirts, stickers, etc. So from the 80s onwards the skull appeared in the streets, in fashion, in galleries, in all the possible and imaginable places on our planet.

The Australian artist Ricky Swallow, for example, has chosen the icon of the skull as key object of pop culture, to make clear the uselessness of such human attachment to material things. A concept made clear in two of his works: “i-Man Prototypes” (2001), a series of highly colored resin skulls like Apple’s iMac G4 and “Everything is nothing” (2003), the ‘everything is nothing’ is made explicit by a wooden sculpture of a skull inserted in the hood of a sweatshirt of a brand of sportswear.

“i-Man Prototype” (2001) – Ricky Swallow

“i-Man Prototype” (2001) – Ricky Swallow

“Everything is nothing” (2003) – Rick Swallow

“Everything is nothing” (2003) – Rick Swallow

In the work of the Apulian artist Angelo Filomeno, suspended skeletons, embroidered in large shantung canvases, stand out in idyllic Renaissance landscapes or bright contemporary cities, with elaborate ornamental details. His visions are often linked to childhood marked by the loss of parents and they are born “often of sersa, when darkness leads to confrontation with thoughts and nightmares”.

Allegory and impressing needlework by Angelo Filomeno

The skull became such a cliché in art that one can not speak of originality in its use, except maybe in the case of  Damien Hirst’s most famous work “For the Love of God” (2007). Its exceptional cost and its magnificence make it indeed a unique work. It is the skull of an affluent society elaborated by its richest artist. Hirst dramatizes his bizarre position as an artist who has become immensely wealthy. He created something that no artist could ever create beforehand, one of those works that in the past were commissioned by kings to make their wealth and power evident, or as a gift or as a offer to deity.

Schermata 2018 08 29 alle 07.48.35

Schermata 2018 08 29 alle 07.48.35

With this work Hirst communicates many things about the contemporary artist, art and religion. Even of the Western world, making it an archaic reminder of mortality and caducity. And it is at the same time a perfect masterpiece made of a platinum cast of an 18th-century human skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds, including a pear-shaped pink diamond located in the forehead that is known as the Skull Star Diamond.

If the traditional memento mori invites us to accept the universality of death, here the message is to leave a perfect body behind us, something virtually indestructible, of infinite durability, that can be the witness of the end of times. When the last breath of God will blow on the ashes of our world, this terrible object will continue to exist. A work that has embedded in our imagination and defines an historic moment, the emblem of decadence par excellence, a symbol of the madness of the art market (it was sold at about $ 100 million just before the world economy crashed).



There is no civilization that does not consider death as part of life. Death and life are closely related, there is no one without the other. Thus skull and skeleton often become quotation, theatricalization, research, and exercise to exorcise death and to open to immortality: horror is in fact a fundamental complement to life and vitality. The bond between life and death in religion is strengthened by the rites of purification, including through the mutilation or destruction of the body.

So death laughs, dances, sings, plays and celebrates. In the propitious rituals of Aztecs, Incas or Voodoo, the concomitant presence of laughter and torture is commonplace. The idea of ​​dismemberment of the incarnate god and of the skeleton and skull of the ‘chosen’ ones is also a common idea. And all this is resumed in the artistic representation.

In this context, it is emblematic the figure and the story of Rick Genest aka Zombie Boy who committed suicide at only 33. At the age of 15 he had been struck by a severe form of brain tumor. He was operated and miraculously healed. An almost dead, a survivor, a semi-god figure, besieged in the shadow of death itself that soon became his obsession. In a subtle play with the excess and the perverse, starting from age 21, he gradually turned himself into his worst nightmare, yet coiniciding with his most deviant dream, by tatooing 90% of his body with deadly themes and figures in a sort horror vacui triumph. As in a frightful tromp l’oeil, he had 136 human bones inked on his entire figure reproducing the structure of a skeleton mixed with internal organs and 176 specimens of insects. Also his once clean visage was  “effaced” by a reproduction of a skull with the foldings of the brain faithfully drawn on the skull cap. An effect exploited by Oreal to advertise their products in a video that soon became viral.

Because of its unique appearance, living metaphor of the afterlife, our fears of death and wish of immortality, he soon became a fashion icon, a model courted by designers, photographers and pop stars as Lady Gaga who wanted him in his video “Born This Way“. As art critic and curator Helga Marsala puts it, in an Art Tribune article, Rick-Zombie boy became: “a ghost, a freak, a nocturnal creature forced into the light of day and exposed to the gaze of others, he combined provocation, lightness, macabre seduction, brazen irony, narcissism and a residue of shyness, a pathological intolerance and anxiety brought to the surface, to the extreme consequences.”

The spectator who observes the representation of death, deformation of the body, is the accomplice of his own death / resurrection and affirms – by contrast – his still dynamic and pulsing existence. This representation leads to a voyeuristic and even masochistic taste of the horrible and the disgusting experience. Almost a form, albeit low, of the sublime and of the push to spirituality and pathos. Horror has therefore a cathartic function: it is possible to approach the divine inaccessibility, thanks to the scary, horrible representation of the gods. The horrible and the macabre, in fact, attracts the gods.

Even Cervantes in “Don Quixote” describes the horror, in his role of vivifying, as a pleasure of death, as a re-activation of the senses, in the paradoxical culmination of pain for the loss of life that seems to be able to bring the subject back to its centre. Thus the bond between love, death, horror and initiation gives value to existence and becomes therapeutic.

Often the use of the skeleton or skull in arts is a way to empathically recognize or recall our futurist self. When the spectator sees the skull, he reflects on it, and in the reflection he perceives his own absent face. The skull is an empty mask and involuntary emblem of the aesthetic of the multitude. The emptied face mask is a post-human icon in which the spectator is abducted, enchanted, and chained. In a lot of iconography of the horror in painting, sculpture, in the photographic and cinematographic image, there is a pleasure in the visual enjoyment of the grotesque and the creepy.

There is no mistery that the taste for death, for horror, for the dark part of life is something that most contemporary artists reflect on and engage with. In fact, what place has the fear in today’s society? This Zeitgeist can give us a key to reading works of art that so often reproduce the symbols of terror with which we are bombarded daily by the media. Horror has become an accepted aspect of everyday life and art is simply a reflection.

The war on terror, death, and the culture of short-lived consumerism blend together are so ubiquitous that it is not surprising that they influence art. In his time, the Marquis de Sade by examining the work “Idée sur les Romans” affirmed that Gothic literature was the «inevitable result of the revolutionary shocks that the whole Europe had suffered». He then affirmed that the idea of ​​the manifestation of horror in creative arts was an answer to a world made insensitive to violence.

Exploring the dark side helps to infuse a sense of security and control where society has lost it. And this artistic iconography reflects our struggle to keep an identity in a society that is losing its way. Horror is also associated with one of our primordial drives: voyeurism. The images of death and evil can be metaphor of art itself, that is, the uncontrollable desire to look. By watching violence or horror we become complicit in its creation, complicit of the cause, and so of the discomfort caused by the watch.

We know that humans are often those who cause terror, not certainly an imaginary evil external force. Actually its us who create our own nightmares. Better to remind it.


In my Divine Triptych (2022) an ironic collage of the Divine Comedy I made on commission, I cast myself in the guise of a contemporary Dante and thought of using my arms to symbolise the Inferno, the Purgatory and the Paradise with popular and universally known gestures. The middle finger represents the devil, condemnation and offence; the typical Italian ‘knuckle’ hand, the request, the stop and wait; the outstretched arm, the call and salvation.

Divine Triptych (2022) - Triptych total.

Divine Triptych (2022) – Triptych total.

The panels are autonomous but structurally interdependent and conceptually connected; there are, for example, some figures that appear simultaneously in the Inferno and in the Paradise. That’s because I don’t comply to a Manichean worldview but I rather see our existence often unwillingly delirious and as based on ambivalence. Around my arms I placed my damned and my saints – or those waiting to become one.

From Harvey Weinstein to Elon Musk and social media, to Gino Strata, more than a hundred figures placed between old virtues and new vices make up my personal otherworldly theatre and invite the audience to imagine their own.

Divine Triptych (2022) - Inferno.

Divine Triptych (2022) – Inferno.


Placement in the Inferno is not necessarily a ‘declaration of dislike’, Dante himself placed in Hell people he esteemed or for whom he felt compassion, and does not claim to be an absolute and eternal condemnation, not even in the case of murderers. According to some theological interpretations, then, hell is an empty place or destined to become one because Good always triumphs over Evil. Mine is quite crowded, of course not exhaustive, but it will indeed empty out at the end of time, when even the last black hole has evaporated.

Divine Triptych (2022) – Purgatory.

Divine Triptych (2022) – Purgatory.


This place is a path of transit and atonement, I have chosen to include the overlapping and camouflaged but recognizable logos of the Big Techs that today shape the world and our lives on and offline, in some cases almost seamlessly (Chiara Ferragni and her husband, trapper Fedez). Purgatory involves us all, including me (acedia, top-centre). It is an obligatory passage, assisted and subjugated as we are by apps, tools, media and social media that exalt our virtues at least as much as they exasperate our vices; that make our lives easier and more fun, but at a very high human and environmental cost for which, moreover, we cannot even say we are fully responsible: technology – from the dawn of time – swoops into our existence and changes us much faster than the time it takes to process it.

Divine Triptych (2022) – Paradise.

Divine Triptych (2022) – Paradise.


On my Paradise I placed all representatives of the arts, including sports, but also scientists and benefactors, who are always ‘artists’ perhaps with a talent for pietas and caritas (Gino Strada as an artist of caritas, for example). Again, these are limited and subjective choices, but they should be considered in a very general and paradigmatic sense, each figure being a symbol of an entire class. As per Dante’s description, Paradise is an ethereal place, candid, softly colored, full of music, angelic songs, and mysterious sounds emitted by the motion of the heavens, vibrating crystals (like the one from which David Bowie emerges), sidereal winds and geometric shapes almost unrepresentable, such as the Hypersphere beneath my outstretched hand, described by Dante himself (Paradise XXX, 10-12) as:

Not otherwise the victory that revels,
in eternal joy around the point that overcame me,
and seems enclosed by that which it encloses,
little by little faded from my sight.

In any case, my Inferno is not infinite, nor are my Purgatory and Paradise. They originated the same moment 13.5 billion years ago and will end by thermal death in trillions of years. Everything will be reset, everything will begin again, like a Great Cosmic Reboot. Humanity will be a super-intelligent civilization immanent to the Cosmos, pure Mind consubstantial with Matter, ready to collapse within its own infinite singularity and then be reborn again, elsewhere and at other times, as a new cosmic breath.

“If God is, whence come evil things? If He is not, whence come good?”

– Boethius


In my hereafter, some characters are half in Hell and half in Paradise, because Evil and Good do not have a Manichaean polarization, they are not eternal, symmetrical and objective, but circular and even interchangeable; they can be the cause of each other, they can be simple logical consequence from certain conditions of the soul in a context. One can do ‘evil’ in the name of ‘good’, as in ideologues: but also ‘good’ through ‘evil’ as in wars or revolutions. Crime can generate mercy and civilization, too much civilization may cultivate vice and crime. Sickness may produce strength; well-being may soften the spirit.

Evil is not necessarily ‘bad’, just as Good is not necessarily ‘good’. Evil is disgust and pain, Good is seduction and enjoyment, but also the opposite. At its origin, evil is chaos and catastrophe, which we ourselves reflect in our dark and irrational depths; it is grief for the sudden and tragic death of the beloved, it is astonishment towards the Ineffable, to the absurdity of existence itsef. Evil is the harm caused, the harm suffered, the resentment and anger, the frustration. It is destruction, damnation, it is involution and closure. It is injustice. Evil can be the release valve for the tensions of the species, the output of a system seeking homeostasis.

Good is containment and expectation, arbitrariness and choice, the principle of order and symmetry, the promise wrested from chaos. It is inclusion and transformation, creative destruction. It is the holy nonsense of going against oneself, for an end that transcends us. It is a rope stretched across the void, it is smiling in the face of the abyss, it is abandonment. It is the exit from oneself.

Dante divides sinners into three macro categories: the INCONTINENTS, the VIOLENTS and the FRAUDULENTS – they are betrayers of something or someone, even of oneself.  I have more or less followed this scheme, adding a few categories (please don’t get them super serious). Some of the sins are in “comorbidity” so they could be in more than one group.

Today I would add, in no particular order: the conformists, the well-thinking, the hypocrites, the disinterested, the boring ones, the vulgars, the deluded and disillusioned, the somnolent, the selfish people, the vicious, the sex-fixed, the groupies, the narcissists, the influencers, the mythomaniacs, the megalomaniacs, the control freaks, the noisy spoiled children, those who age badly, the old people who jump the queue, those who drive badly, the tourists, the fake progressives, the social justice warriors, those who doesn’t bother to learn another than native language and, of course, the conspirationists.

Divine Triptych (2022)   Inferno   Geryon, Lu Zhihao, Harvey Weinstein, Mario Balotelli.

Divine Triptych (2022) Inferno Geryon, Lu Zhihao, Harvey Weinstein, Mario Balotelli.

The chimeric monster that leads Dante through the Malebolgies, representing man’s faithless nature, he is my tribute to Gustav Doré, the famous illustrator of the Divine Comedy.

Lu Zhihao, Second Circle, The Gluttons: the obese child (already 53kg at the age of 3) became a meme in 2011, attracting the attention of the Western media who made him a symbol of the Chinese superpower conquering the world. As China’s coastal cities rose, a new more affluent generation of middle-class families are raising increasingly spoiled only children called the ‘little emperors’, leading to an unprecedented and growing plague of obesity in Chinese society.

Harvey Weinstein, Second Circle, The Lustful: once a capable and powerful producer, later convicted of sexual violence and disgraced, he is the incontinent par-excellence, probably pathological, who entered history and the collective imagination as the predator-symbol of a male chauvinist culture that wields power by blackmailing in order to obtain sexual favors, especially in working environments. The denunciation of harassment gave rise to the ‘Me too’ movement which, despite its ‘witch-hunt’ excesses, has uncovered the Pandora’s vase of abuse that for too long has been concealed or hidden for convenience, hypocrisy and fear.

Mario Balotelli, Ninth Circle, Traitors of Talent: I have included the footballer from Bergamo not honoring it, not using is to give back and make others enjoy it. all the more so in his case, a son of Ghanaian immigrants and adopted by an Italian couple, it would have been nice to celebrate him as a symbol of the new generations of immigrants raised in Italy who make it and reach the top in some field. Instead, given his enormous potential, he has made (unfortunately) a mediocre career.

Divine Triptych (2022) Inferno Achille Lauro, Leonarda Cianciulli, Valerio Fioravanti, Erica & Omar.

Divine Triptych (2022) Inferno Achille Lauro, Leonarda Cianciulli, Valerio Fioravanti, Erica & Omar.

Achille Lauro, Ninth Circle, Art traitors: according to Benjamin’s saying, ‘in those who achieve success dwells a god’, is certainly true in his case, but I do not tolerate imposture. His talent is mainly in his appearance, in the ability to establish himself in the trap scene. Absolutely a lame singer even with the autotune, he used music mainly as a climb to success. He owes it all to the genius of Italian stylist and former Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele who made him a fluid national-popular icon, enhancing his image and exploiting his beautiful suburbanite face with sad eyes. Everything else is boredom. Accomplice a condescending press, really too hasty in exalting and incensing, not only in music, phony sensation of the moment for pure marketing and cultural positioning. LUCIFERINE.

Valerio Fioravanti, Ninth Circle, Traitors of the Homeland (or of Humanity): strange parable, from promising actor at a young age to heinous right-wing terrorist responsible for dozens of murders. I cast him as both violent and a traitor to humanity. They are those who do evil in the name of good. IDEOLOGUE.

Leonarda Cianciulli, Ninth Circle, Traitors of the Hosts: known as the ‘soapwoman of Correggio’, she murdered four women she had hosted in her home with an axe. During the trial, she confessed to having killed the women, destroyed the bodies by boiling them in a cauldron full of caustic soda heated to 300 degrees, created soap bars with rock alum and Greek pitch, dispersed the remains in the cesspit and preserved the blood to bake it in the oven and mixed it with milk and chocolate to make biscuits. Emblematic case his, certainly unbalanced but within a life full of misfortune, abuse, grief and suffering. Her story made it overseas and seems to have inspired the soap scene in Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Fight Club’, as well as several films (‘The Big Boil’) and documentaries.

Judas, Ninth Circle, Betrayers of the Benefactors: I have included the character of Judas from Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth superbly played by Ian McShane in this beautiful film that sublimely transposed the collective imaginary inspired by the Gospels. Who has never imagined Jesus Christ EXACTLY with that face? To betray Jesus is to betray civilization, to betray oneself, to betray the principle of love that holds the world together.

Divine Triptych (2022) Inferno KAWS, Cryptopunks (NFTs), HAL 9000, Giovanni Brusca.

Divine Triptych (2022) Inferno KAWS, Cryptopunks (NFTs), HAL 9000, Giovanni Brusca.

KAWS and CRYPTOPUNKS (NFT), Eighth Circle, The Ruffians and the Counterfeiters: I have included Brian Donnelly aka KAWS as a representative of an art that is more populist than popular, very well paid but not very meaningful, made for covers and social media, like the giant mouse, a kind of evil Micky Mouse, floating in Hong Kong harbor. Economic investors or digital economy entrepreneurs under 30 are crazy about KAWS, and his gadgets are ‘masterpieces’ worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions. The fact that such an esteemed curator like Germano Celant, who has contributed to art and culture with projects that are diametrically opposed to the KAWS phenomenon, has accepted the challenge of curating his exhibition, could mean that popularity and commerce are definitively replacing the old concepts of quality, commitment and content. The sin also lies in the perpetuation of this logic without bothering to change the paradigm of the still hyper money pumped current art system. So, he appears as the logical consequence of a parable that began in the early 2000s with the crazy quotations of which Hirst, Koons and Cattelan are only the best known examples.

NFTs, Eighth Circle, Counterfeiters: traitor to themselves, the latest hype, the latest revolution, the latest technology, actually the greatest child of the traditional art system, overpriced uninteresting stuff. A kind of art movement was born as a countercurrent thing, now already standardizing and conforming. Yet NFTs real potential is to be seen, perhaps in conjunction with diffusion of metaverse on large scale.

HAL 9000
AI is “our final invention”as James Barrat puts in his homonymous famosi book. Its somewhat between or beyond good and evil. It can be destructive or the precondition of a giant leap towards a post-biological and post-human and augmented civilisation. Certainly biological flesh & bone humanity and its finite mind is destined to end.

Giovanni Brusca (Mafia guy), Ninth circle, traitor to the country: the material executor of the massacre of Capaci. I was 15 years old and I was abroad, on my first extended stay in Ireland to learn English, I heard the radio talking about this Italian news. The mafia as an anti-state, the mafia as a localized anthropological phenomenon, the mafia originally as honorable way of living, the current entrepreneurial mafia. The ruthlessness, the rigor, the mafia ideology, its historical significance. Judge Falcone’s car crumpled, in which his wife and escort cops also died, with 20 kg of TNT, the car that soared 20 meters into the sky is now exposed as a carcass

Divine Triptych (2022)   Inferno   Michela Murgia, Jordan Peterson, Fabrizio Corona, Lele Mora, Emilio Fede.

Divine Triptych (2022) Inferno Michela Murgia, Jordan Peterson, Fabrizio Corona, Lele Mora, Emilio Fede.

Michela Murgia, Octavius Circle, hypocrites: victimhood and passive-aggressive moralistic attitude, typical of the far-left wing activist. I am very ambivalent about her. I loathe the SJW slant, I don’t buy the militancy, I recognize the character and the intelligence. That’s why I chose to include her as a damned with her feet in Paradise: I think deep down her intentions are pure.

Jordan Perterson, excessive “gravitas”: he is a bit of Michela Murgia’s ideal ‘enemy’, I put his feet in hell because his philosophy and worldview is, at times, far too much turned towards a very North American Calvinist exaggerated pragmatism, at times far too tranchant in his reading of reality with a tendency to Manicheism. He, too, is perhaps a victim of his obsession with orderly and morally impeccable model of existence; but, after all, art (and perhaps even the ‘Good’) is often born from chaos, vice, despair, the sacrifice of the ego (of its principle of order); and novelty comes from experimenting: i.e new forms of bonding between people, or choices that challenge tradition. Nevertheless he is an honest, capable, highly educated intellectual, who has the courage to step into his own shadow and question himself.

Fabrizio Corona (gossip TV-figure) Eighth circle, seducers. He put his intelligence, cunning and shrewdness at the service of a profession linked to magazine gossip and trash. Hungry for money and television popularity, he led a ramshackle life devoid of limits, insane, which eventually devoured itself, lived largely between bars. Affected by pathological egocentrism and narcissism.

Lele Mora (TV agent), Eighth Circle, flatterers, ruffians: a capable and intuitive television agent, he has found great power in the popular trash segment of television, he has garnished the lives of soubrettes and more or less climbing models and has contributed to producing a very low-popular TV, capable of nourishing and exasperating imaginary models and behaviour already existing in the provinces. Etc

Emilio Fede (Journalist), Eighth Circle, flatterers, ruffians: the prototype of the ass-licker, natural born flatterer, convinced of the goodness of his flattery, a journalist who is nevertheless skilled but comically biased, always on the side of the most controversial figure Berlusconi.

Wanna Marchi, Eighth Circle, Counterfeiters: exploiting magical thinking, superstition, hypochondria, credulity, illiteracy, the insecurities and complexes of the average Italian, she managed to sell all kinds of scam products and remedies, getting rich over the years until her final defeat and conviction for fraud and swindling together with her daughter.

Magician Otelma, Eighth Circle, magicians and soothsayers: I don’t know how or why, but this magician has found a place on both commercial and public TV. And since TV is the deformed mirror of society, someone had to occupy this place, with divinations, magical practices and esoteric viewpoints on the world. Impressive to see him denuded, on the Isola dei Famosi (VIPs Island) TV program, injuring himself during a skill test of the show. Often mocked, but rather touchy for a magician.

Giucas Casella, Eighth Circle, magicians and soothsayers: another hypnotist magician, famous for his TV stunts in which he made viewers at home cross their fingers during these mega TV hypnosis experiments. Some viewers would call in saying they could no longer untangle their fingers.

Divine Triptych (2022)   Inferno   Paul Marcinkus, Bernie Madoff, Conspiracists and no vaxxes.

Divine Triptych (2022) Inferno Paul Marcinkus, Bernie Madoff, Conspiracists and no vaxxes.

Paul Marcinkus, Eighth Circle, Simoniacs: known as the ‘banker of god’, a controversial and shadowy figure in the Vatican, involved in the financial collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, and the IOR affair, the death of Pope John XXIII, and the disappearance of Emanuela Orlando. A true prealate-politician within the Vatican. Guardian of certain ‘arcana empires’ of the faith. The feeling is that he has used his role and office in the Vatican as a platform of power for unknown ends and advantages.

Bernie Madoff, Eighth Circle, thieves: one of the most notorious bankers and swindlers of the last 20 years, he represents the most common sin: reckless enrichment to the detriment of others. There are two striking aspects of this case: one is that enrichment beyond a certain threshold, enrichment per se, has little to do with money, but more with what money triggers and symbolizes deep down; second, the fact that the victims are never entirely passive, but unwittingly accomplice.

Conspiracists and no-vaxxes, Anti-Inferno, the Ignavi (the Uncommitted): these are today’s fresh new sinners, people who fight against imaginary enemies, fight for causes that do not exist, often arrogant, violent, presumptuous; sometimes simply naive, beautiful souls with a low-resolution thinking, unable to cope with or navigate their way through complexity. The ‘conspiracy mentality’ has the traits of paranoid-delusional personality and obsessive-compulsive disorder (confirmation bias). They all share a certain aversion to authority figures (the state, institutions, science, newspapers, everything ‘official’, the ‘mainstream’, etc.).

Blog Divine Triptych (2022), Myself, Cattelan, Hirst, Koons.

Blog Divine Triptych (2022), Myself, Cattelan, Hirst, Koons.

Myself: sloth, laziness indolence and neglect.

Cattelan, Hirst, Koons: they represent the art system and its great speculative bubble of the 1990s and 2000s with effects that are still current. Clever and ingenious, hyper-mercified, still active and quite reactive, they gave the impression that one could easily get rich from art and that everyone could be an artist, AMBIVALENT.

Blog 2 Divine Triptych (2022)   Purgatorio copia

Blog 2 Divine Triptych (2022) Purgatorio copia

Jeff Besos: taxes and exploitation, consumerism. But also goods for all and work for many, accessibility, market paradigm shift.

Elon Musk: visionary genius, he is taking us the first steps as an interplanetary civilisation, but what a controversial character.

Chiara Ferragni and Fedez: the Ferragnis are us or many would like to be. Their damnation in Purgatory is to have their faces out of focus; they must redeem for excessive exhibitionism and vanity.

In general, in my Purgatory we must redeem for the nefarious effects of market economies (called ‘Capitalism’ always in a derogative way by ideologues). Likes on social networks, matches on dating apps, superfluous purchases, junk food, the market economy makes us addicted to anything and does so by exploiting our brains against ourselves. Dopamine, also known as the feeling-good neurotransmitter, is in fact the reward hormone, which is released when we engage in pleasurable activities such as eating sugar-rich foods, when we buy something we like or scroll through our Instagram feed. This is why an unbalanced relationship with dopamine can be very harmful, especially when used as a tool to exploit and induce addiction on people for better control.

Divine Triptych (2022) - theologal virtues.

Divine Triptych (2022) – theologal virtues.

What to counteract the excesses and well-being of the market economy? The theological virtues: faith, hope, charity, prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance to which, in an updated version, we could add restraint from excess and intermittent fasting.


All figures are self-explanatory and just need to be contemplated.

[Translated] Not as an artist but as a mere viewer of art, I must preface this by saying that I am not so familiar with Nico Vascellari’s work. I found Horse Power, the video performance presented at the Video Art Week last November, interesting: a three-night experiment in which nine stuntmen drive cars on whose front hoods are installed life-size wax sculptures of animals. I’ve been to a couple of Roman concerts of his band Ninos Du Brasil: ita was fun. I found the anagrams Dream-Merda and Resist-Sister printed on the T-shirts an effective marketing and sales campaign via Codalunga (his online shop), a bit of a “paraculata” (‘a smart-ass gimmick’) we would say in Rome’s slang, which properly exploits the image-brand he has created of himself over the years.

Incidentally I consider this to be his real talent. In short, I admit that I started with prejudice, even with some irritation at this social promotion campaign to which several VIPs and semi-VIPs lent themselves a couple of days before the event, which certainly fueled in me, but I think in many, the image-preconception of Nico Vascellari “artist-socialite,” well-dressed, not making a wrong move, liked by the right people, and liked because he’s liked, perfect for the gregarious mentalities to which we are, especially in Italy, all accustomed and even a bit resigned.

However, it is also true that for operations like Do you trust me? communication plays a decisive role and is an integral part of the work, especially today when you have to scramble so hard to get a second of attention. So here it is, at first glance, having started the “live” performance from his Roman studio via the YouTube channel of Codalunga, his gallery in Vittorio Veneto (his home town), as I watched Nico alone, dressed cool in black and barefoot, in the space set up with amplifiers and mixers, obsessively repeating the phrase “I Trusted you,” I thought: ridiculous, antics. Really 24h like this? How does he piss? How does he shit? How does he resist? Will he be on drugs? This is pure exhibitionism. This thing even hurts art, because it alienates ordinary, already prejudiced people. And on Whatsapp already began the criticism with friends, the jokes, the private memes, the imitations, with that classic sense of circumstantial superiority that shields you from your own weaknesses. Someone even commented in real time on the event channel, and then attached the screenshot.

Meanwhile, though, that phrase so obsessively uttered was getting into my head.



So I disconnected. Enough! I have better things to do, I’m going to bed and watch a series.


Really, what a bullshit performance!


Maybe I do some reading (but really that guy is all this time repeating this stuff?). Let me go check again. Oh he’s always there, damn it.





So I start reading the comments. There’s a little bit of everything. Derisive, celebratory, detracting, deferential, accusatory comments, a social ruckus (you almost visualize it around him), where the differences cancel out: VIPs and non-VIPs, onlookers, people a bit out of their minds, Italians and foreigners, friends and foes, with the number of views going up and down compared to an enigmatic baseline on the 500-600 viewers who come and go, who disconnect and hang up. As do I. And it would be interesting to know the unique hits, but even if it were only 1,000 or 2,000 this — I am beginning to admit — is already a major achievement. Some argue that this is stuff already seen, already done, 1970s, an epigone of Abramović. Already here I disagree, performance art should instead be repeated, or can be, because they are ahistorical, they are like rituals, they mimic them. It is not a question of old or new. If anything, there is something to be asked about their necessity: why are performances done, why are they watched? They are like memories of rituals, I would almost call them “ghosts of rituals,” past but also future, of configurations that perhaps never took place or never will again, one-off rituals, which, however, reveal the psychic necessity of the performance-ritual ab origine, in every culture and in every time.

And then on the distorted triple notes of this riff I realize that I am really thinking, with less prejudice. What am I looking at? Well, maybe it is the first collective social ritual I am witnessing, that I know of at least. First for me anyway, and I think for many others, especially the “uninitiated,” but maybe critics and curators will tell us that better.

In short, Nico has staged a kind of “live” shamanic act that sends out his electric mantra of distrust or confidence lost or found. But then what is the point of this “digital eggregora” – “I trusted you”? – to which perhaps the premise that announced it via VIP “Do you trust me?” is now also clearer. Whatever you want: trust or not trust in your neighbor pre- or post-covid, trust in yourself, in the world, in civilization, in government, in God. Or maybe in love: I trusted you, I trusted you,  but you betrayed me. Who knows? it depends on each person’s free associations, because this phrase, these words, lose their referent, their context, and so they become “mana,” they are magical, they don’t really mean anything anymore, they are iterative (the pure act of believing and not believing) and reiterative, until they become mere phonemes that melt away in the head like a psychotropic substance.

Even the choice of timing seems perfect, the last day of lockdown, before the supposed newfound freedom.



In short, here repetition knocks out rational thinking, trance is an altered state of consciousness, where we are no longer us, we are redundancy of us, we are physiological body, active biology, present to itself, vocalized. We become animals or divine beings, no longer trapped by ego, we are closer to unseen combination of Se-Es exchanging and reflecting and reverberating with each other, in this case amplified and distorted by the speakers.


He took a big risk Nico, but it may be the best thing he has done (I repeat: of which I am aware). Once you’ve seen it for even a minute, that damn electric mantra gets in your head. Even if you turn it off, even if you’ve laughed at him, he’s inside you by now. Because you know that meanwhile he, in that elsewhere, is going on. Perhaps what I witnessed made me also better understand the nature of performance art in general: a concept in action, just as conceptual art is performance of thought.

What else to say? Perhaps of Nico’s extraordinary physical endurance? It really takes a lot of preparation to reiterate such an act for 24H, but most of all it really takes a lot of conviction, and perhaps a kind of love, a kind of generosity, that of the shaman, who serves the spirits and becomes a messenger for mortals. What has he delivered to us? In the infinite blind and varied happening of things, everything makes sense and nothing makes sense. Something has happened, though. A small event dissolved in eternity, yet significant. Not insignificant.


In the end I trusted you too, Nico.

MAY 4, 2020 NOTE: I learned only later that the reference used by Nico Vascellari is a performance by American comedian and performer Andy Kaufman. In “I Trusted You,” from 1977, which can be found on YouTube, Kaufman, dressed as Elvis, repeated the phrase for about 3 minutes mocking the audience. So we seem to understand the insight was this: to turn Kaufman’s teasing into a 24-hour performance, giving it another meaning.

Vere tu es Deus absconditus Deus Israhel salvator.
(Indeed, you are a hidden God, you God of Israel, the Savior)

– Book of Isaiah (45:15).


During the preparational work for ALBE – A Life Beyond Earth (87′, 2018), director Elisa Fuksas and I soon realized we were actually making a “theological film” focused on human solitude and documenting not only the misadventures of a group of people in the province of Rome in search of the “alien”, but also showing what happens in “the province of the mind” where strong beliefs and desires, especially religious, may produce alternative super-realities in people’s lives. The oracular phrase that opens the film “Summoned or not, the god will be present” (from Latin “Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit”) tries to set this key. I borrowed it from Jung who had it engraved on the stone and placed over the door at his house in Zurich. For the Swiss psychiatrist, it states the inevitability of a spiritual principle in human struggle and research, but also that we are somehow fated to realise our own inner δαίμων (daemon), our own nature. Elisa then was very good to add a poetic allure to the film by putting up the best visual miseenscène – saturated colours, a fairy tale style, inside “rationalist” shots – to narrate the stories and the minds of these seven characters in search of a life beyond Earth.

Jung at the main door of his house in Zurich. Note the oracular engravings upon him.

Jung at the main door of his house in Zurich. Note the oracular engravings upon him.

The question Are we alone (in the Universe)?” is indeed the fil-rouge of the film, a problem to which all religions have always tried to respond to appease people’s anxieties and anguishes. In the current technological civilization these great “narratives” no longer work, but nothing has really replaced them, not even political ideologies. However, the need for “transcendence” remained intact, and even magnifies when it clashes with the “alienating” traits of this culture. So new visions of the world, new beliefs, new “alternative” knowledge to the “official” ones arise in the attempt to redeem the individual from the fear of solitude, insignificance and finitude.

In this scenario, the UFO-belief allegorise in a sci-fi fashion, expectations, codes and figures of historical religions, in particular, the Judaeo-Christian with its eschatology and Manichaeism. Traditional Messianism is re-launched in a cosmic key, and where there was God, today there is the Alien that inherits all its attributes: all-mightyness, omniscience, omnipotence, the great superior intelligence that desires our salvation and to which we aspire to reunite. Also inherits its hide-fullness. The Alien-God is, in fact, the long-awaited par excellence: the Alien-Absconditus.

Painted around 1600 A.D. by artist Ventura Salimbeni, the “Glorification of the Eucharist” is also known as the “Sputnik of Montalcino”.

Painted around 1600 A.D. by artist Ventura Salimbeni, the “Glorification of the Eucharist” is also known as the “Sputnik of Montalcino”.


When I started doing research for ALBE – A Life Beyond Earth, I didn’t have a clear perception of how wide and pervasive was the UFO belief and related topics. Officially the modern history of flying saucers begins with the case of Roswell in 1947. From then on, the number of people in the world fascinated by the UFO phenomenon has grown relentlessly. In 2010, a Reuters-Ipsos poll involved 23,000 people in 22 countries around the world and showed that 1 out of 5 people (20% of the respondents) believe that extra-terrestrials exist and live incognito among humans.  These are impressive numbers. In Italy the percentage sets to 25%, in the US to 24%, still low comparing to the 42% of China and the 45% of India!

Over the last years, theses percentages have even increased. The American population is the one with the highest surge. In 2012 a National Geographic survey records that 36% of American adults (about 80 million) declares they believe in the existence of UFOs; and a 10% assures to have seen one. A more recent Ipsos research from 2015 confirms the trend attesting to 56% the percentage of adult Americans who believe in unidentified flying objects; and to 45% the percentage of those who believe that aliens have visited the Earth.

It is therefore an huge subculture with strong fideistic traits, a global sub-religion, which collects the expectation of something salvific, with a spirit of universal brotherhood (often contradictory). Only later on I realised the UFO religion is something pretty structured with its groupings and sub-groupings.

A frame from “ALBE”. This is a real UFO house in Gallicano (in the province of Rome) build in the 70s by a local for his beloved UFO-enthusiastic wife who died of cancer.

A frame from “ALBE”. This is a real UFO house in Gallicano (in the province of Rome) build in the 70s by a local for his beloved UFO-enthusiastic wife who died of cancer.

The protagonists of ALBE completely adhere to this scenario. As “terrestrial” they feel to be special,  “extra” in fact, and their excitement is similar the vocational ecstasy that affects priests. As the Holy Spirit for traditional believers, they are galvanized because the Alien changed their lives. With this “true-belief” in the hearth they can redeem their existence within a renewed horizon of expectation and hope. They are light-warriors, messengers of truth and love, pioneers of a new era, by which the evil will be destroyed and the good can be finally realized for humanity to re-gain harmony with the Universe and the Cosmos. Eventually the most existential of the questions can also be answered: “What am I doing here?” – await, read signals, prepare for the biggest event to come.


Somehow ALBE – A Life Beyond Earth features what Jung called a “modern myth” in his essay on the UFO phenomenon: Flying Saucers : A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies (1958). When the narrative of the alien visiting Earth spread, and all the newspapers reported news of sightings, Jung wanted to study the phenomenon and his position is actually the one we as authors chose when approaching the stories of our seven characters. Jung’s primary concern was not with the reality or unreality of UFOs but with their psychic aspect. Rather than speculate about their possible nature and extra-terrestrial origin as alleged spacecraft, he asks what it may signify that these phenomena, whether real or imagined, are seen in such numbers just at a time when humankind is menaced as never before in history. In Jung’s words:

“In the threatening situation of the world today, when people are beginning to see that everything is at stake, the projection-creating fantasy soars beyond the realm of earthly organizations and powers into the heavens, into interstellar space, where the rulers of human fate, the gods, once had their abode in the planets […] Even people who would never have thought that a religious problem could be a serious matter that concerned them personally are beginning to ask themselves fundamental questions. Under these circumstances it would not be at all surprising if those sections of the community who ask themselves nothing were visited by `visions,’ by a widespread myth seriously believed in by some and rejected as absurd by others.”

In our relation with the protagonists of the film, Elisa and I have actually suspended every judgment and never thought they were “crazy”, because the question they pose underneath is deeply human and therefore every answer is, if not completely rational, basically legit. Although their stories and beliefs may appear delusional and tragicomic, the desire that animates them is authentic. A form of privileged desire, because it is never fully satisfied, and that produces a strong tension. Like that of faith.

The fundamental point in ALBE is that the film never ridicules the peculiar Weltanschauung of the protagonists, but shows and investigates the reasons that led them to believe in ideas and scenarios commonly considered “impossible” and “laughable”. Because of their self-professed “awaken” status, most of UFO believers refuse existing systems of power and organized religions that deceive the world and kept it in ignorance. Of course this approach flirts with conspiracy culture.

“Alien art” is pretty popular among the UFO subculture.

“Alien art” is pretty popular among the UFO subculture.

As God has its alter ego in the (good) Alien, so has the Devil in the form Archont (the evil Alien) and his obscurantist realm ruled by the Illuminati, the reptilian “shape-shifters” and the Masonic lodges. A vision that, by mixing biblical narratives with esoteric and pseudo-scientific elements of various origins, seeks to resolve the great existential questions while unmasking the most hidden political plots. The cultural influences are the most disparate: from David Icke to quantum physics re-interpreted in an archontic way, to Gnostic texts, gothic fairy tales and fantasy novels. A “pastiche” producing all kind of “alternative” theories in any field, such flat-earth theories or “alternative” visions on evolutionism, perhaps borrowed from great Hollywood blockbusters.

An esoteric representation of “alternative” origin of human life and order.

An esoteric representation of “alternative” origin of human life and order.

If conspirationism is a way to express an inner hostility (more or less pathological) to any form of authority and to reduce complexity to a simplier and more controllable version, then it’s easy to see why the “extra-terrestrial narration” became so popular. It speaks of utopias and soteriological scenarios of imminent advent, with clean characters, easy moral dichotomies, scapegoats, plots and explanations. It is actually no coincidence that this area is often related to populist movements in the Western world, such as the Five Stars movement in Italy, that arise just at the end of ideologies and traditional parties crisis (seen as the old establishment). The “alien” offers a new palingenetic narration for those who feel threatened, excluded, ignored, who seek for some kind of social redemption.


But how can one approach such vision of the world so different from the one we normally and rationally embrace? How to interpret the statements of characters who declare – in all honesty – to have entered other dimensions or have been possessed by astral entities or convinced to live in a “Matrix” put up by obscure forces?

John E. Mack, American psychiatrist, Harvard professor, spent a large part of his life dealing with abduction cases, with people who declared they had been “taken away” by alien entities that otherwise couldn’t be diagnosed do be clinically ill. In his best-selling Pulitzer price book Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens (1994), Mack had collected a large numbers of testimonies taken under hypnosis about adduction experiences, alien encounters and UFO sightings. He was amazed by the richness of details of these stories and made a scientific comparison with cases gathered all over the world noting astounding recurrences. He wondered how it was possible that those stories told by such different kind of people in terms of age, gender, geographical provenience, social status, ethnicity, had so many points in common.

John E. Mack. Note the pinned sheet in the background…

John E. Mack. Note the pinned sheet in the background…

This is something we actually documented in ALBE tooOne of the characters, Stefania, a sweet hair-dresser on her 50s, was haunted by alien voices telling they want her to be give birth to a sort of human-alien hybrid who will save the world. We documented an actual “alien-exorcism”  performed by a Neapolitan psychotherapist, expert in hypnotic regression. She lost consciousness and started debating with the therapist who tried to free her from the voices. She was relieved at the end of the session, though she never really got rid of the voices. This episode is incredibly similar to some other cases I read in Abduction and other Mack’s books. My personal opinion is that, under certain circumstances,  primitive and/or archetypical narrative structures may reactivate taking possession of the person’s mind. Somehow Stefania’s unconscious narrative was that of the “immaculate conception”, a way to give herself a higher purpose beyond daily routine – another attempt to fantasize about a life beyond Earth.

One of “ALBE” character, Stefania, under hypnotic regression.

One of “ALBE” character, Stefania, under hypnotic regression.

However, in addressing this kind of phenomena, Mack indeed reprised Jung’s position trying to investigate the existential and/or social preconditions of their occurrences. Yet he pushed himself further. At his own risk. He started to question the Western dualistic/materialist view as well as his own as a scientist. For this reason, he also had some friction with the scientific community and struggled to affirm his point. Mack felt that the UFO phenomenon tested the boundaries of reality. It was neither totally physical nor totally mental – it crossed both dimensions; the UFO was almost like an inter-dimensional vehicle. The physical aspects were that people had been observed to be missing, returning with cuts, ulcers, lesions, etc. But that was not all. It expanded: “to experiences which are more psychological, spiritual, involving the extension of consciousness.” It was in this cross-over that Mack identified the core problem of the phenomenon:

“The difficulty for our society and for our mentality is, we have a kind of either/or mentality. It’s either, literally physical; or it’s in the spiritual other realm, the unseen realm. What we seem to have no place for – or we have lost the place for – are phenomena that can begin in the unseen realm, and cross over and manifest and show up in our literal physical world.”

I personally have hard time to follow Mack’s thought to this extent, yet it is undeniable that beyond our rigorous and rational thinking, there is something more primitive where reality matches illusion, unconstrained desires, fantasy, something that has to do with superstition, belief, a strong need for transcendence and other cognitive attitudes. Sometimes they can awake and even provoke endogenous hallucinatory visions or entheogenic experiences of cosmic proportions – are these true or false at last? In any case, there is a whole bunch of latent and obscure content generally kept away by our daily diurnal approach. Perhaps, for one reason or another, some people leave this “irrational” channel open, in search of some kind of “beyondness”. In this sense, Mack words can be otherwise understood:

“For me everything resides in the matter of identity – who we are in the deepest and broadest sense (…) this book (ed. Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens) is not simply about UFOs and alien abductions, it is about how this phenomenon both traumatic and transformative can expand our sense of ourselves and our understanding of reality and awaken our muted potential as explorers of a universe rich in mystery, meaning, and intelligence.”


In my long realation with the protagonist sof ALBE and during the making of the film, when confronting with the candor of their belief I often thought that, even in such naive way, they indeed were some kind of pioneers, the prodromes of a new cosmic awarenss. In the end, the world has shrunk, reality is dominated by the principle of hyper-visibility and transparency, history seems to have come to a dead end and a cyber or transhuman future is scary,  There is the pervasive feeling of having arrived at the final chapter or maybbe at a turning point: it is natural then to orient your gaze elsewhere, especially out there, also to rediscover a sense a mystery.

Last scene from “ALBE”: waiting for the aliens to come. Will they show?

Last scene from “ALBE”: waiting for the aliens to come. Will they show?

Thus we can no longer think of the human event only in the terrestrial key, but already with a sense of perspective beyond the Earth. We must throw ourself beyond the planetary boundaries, imagine other destinations, imagine the mankind to come, after the enormous anthropological mutation that it will undergo, and that he is already undergoing, thanks to technology. We are actually close to conceiving ourselves as an “interplanetary civilization”. The recent discoveries of habitable planets only 40 light years away constitute a watershed, a point of no return in our emotional perception of space out there, a final push to our cosmological centralism. Given the enormous technological development of our observational skills, I believe we are not far from solving the big question about the existence of life in the Cosmos: monstrous coincidence or cosmic imperative? And this will have enormous psychological consequences on each of us, both as individuals and as civilization.

From a scientific point of view, the two classical orientation axes to answer the “are we alone?” question are “the Drake equation”, which calculates the probability of intelligent life beyond the Earth in our galaxy, and the “Fermi paradox”, which asks: “if the probabilities are so high – where is everyone?”. There are various hypotheses for this, but I always love to quote one of the most famous phrases by Carl Sagan:

 “The Universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”


The Oracular Skullptures project ideally starts in Pantelleria in 2014. By walking in a deserted part of the island between abandoned Dammusi (Sicilian traditional housing) and dry ears, I found a veil’s scapula. It hold something magical, I was so fascinated. I kept it for 2 years before realizing what to do with it. One day I dreamt to lacquer this piece in white paint and once I woke up I went to a laboratory to make my first prototype.


From that on I started to study animal skulls with great interest. They hold such an intrinsic ancestral power. They inspire respect, but also protection. I see them as silent witnesses and warners of our times, physical reminders of our connection with nature and cosmos, archetypical figures that entertain a deep and privileged relation with our unconscious. They are oracular in the sense that it is impossible to not establish some kind of communication with them, even just by an emotional response. They invite, sometimes force, the viewer to stand in an interrogative way. Whatever you may ask, they process it and “spit” or “whisper” an answer back to you. With their charming bone structure, coloured surface and mocking sneer, these animal skullptures trigger contrasting feelings of attraction/repulsion. This fascination for the animal bones and their use in cultural rites, and later in arts, as always accompanied humanity.

There is an interesting example of this fascination I found in art books regarding British artist Henry Moore. Animal skulls were of great inspiration of a large number of his drawings and sculptural works. He studied forms, empty and full spaces, both inside and outside with great wonder and interest.

Henry Moore and his beloved elephant skull.

Henry Moore and his beloved elephant skull.

Here in his words:

«I have found the many qualities that generally have the bones, including the strength and thickness of some parts, while others are as light and thin as a piece of paper. The sense of strength and structure of Nature are among the wonderful things that one can discover by studying these bones.»In 1966 he received the skull of an elephant as a gift from two dear friends».

Again, here his enthusiastic description:

«I do not know any single bone that has so many forms inside it, it is much more complex and fascinating than the human skull! I was also given a rhinoceros, which has an interesting shape, but it does not inspire me as much as that of the elephant. He has a fierce, aggressive character, while that of the elephant, despite being very powerful, exudes kindness and serenity. In my mind has even become the arm of a reclined figure».


Besides arts, in the post-human theory the figure of the animal is very much linked to the displacement of anthropocentrism, but not necessarily in the sense of the anti-specism. In my view, the animal power is still based on its “ontological difference”. In fact, while the human skull is the emptied face reminding the observer the future of his inevitable mortality, the presence of animal skull may evoke a sense of nostalgia for a past condition mankind have left behind. By looking at the animal skull one is inevitably driven to fantasise about his animal previous wild life, environment, species-specific horizon, and “stunned” immersion in its own kingdom. An archaic state also shared by mankind of the origin where the earthly microcosm was immediately connected with the macrocosm. In this sense the animal skulls are also an invitation to regain a more universal gaze encompassing all sensient beings.

In psychoanalysis, especially Jungian, the archetypical meaning of animals in dreams is central. Unlike in commercials, where a desacralized version of the animal is used as if in a gratified manner (for the consumer), in dreams the individual is the animal. Because of their body structure and behavioural characteristic, animals in dreams hold a huge symbolic power, they function as synthetic catalysts of a wide range of feelings and situations: they crawl, jump, fly, swim, camouflage, attack, sleep, surrender, watch around. The animal in dreams can be downsized, reduced to formless raw meet, transformed into bones, or become a numinous out of scale super-Animal: a huge lion, a magical horse, a golden bird. Also the animal represent a repression/suppression of the traumatic experience we inflict to nature in order to dominate. Thus the animal skull can indeed be interpreted as a warning both for the individual and for mankind as a whole.

A friend of mine sleeping with an Italian pink boar skullpture.

A friend of mine sleeping with an Italian pink boar skullpture.


Without spoiling too much the process, it indeed needed the collaboration of technicians (Ernesto, Daniel and Paolo) and a laboratory with professional ventilation systems (also to prevent dust from sticking to fresh paint) to make a perfect and durable execution. Each skull needs to be cleaned from organic residues, degreased, disinfected, sanded, sutured, some pieces must be put back together and glued. Funny enough, the workers got very much engaged with the skullptures. They were happy to work on something so new and unexpected, as they normally work on doors, desks, cabinets, wardrobes. I could work at the laboratory side by side with them, preparing the skulls for days, choosing the right base and the right blend of paint for each skull. They were amazed of the result!

Paolo is enjoying spraying painting the warthog skull. It’s like a dance.

Transcription of the booklet I wrote for my first (solo) exhibition Where is my sacred? at Fondazione Cerere (finissagge January 2019).

«The sacred is an element of the structure of consciousness and not a moment in the history of consciousness. The experience of the sacred is inextricably linked to the effort made by man to build a world that has meaning. Hierophanies and religious symbols constitute a pre-reflective language. Since it is a specific language, sui generis, it needs its own hermeneutics.»

– Mircea Eliade


With these words the Romenian historian of religion and athropologist defined, in his Fragments of a Journal 1945-1969, the aspects of this dimension, presupposed to every religion, connected to one of the most ancient and foundational experience of humanity : the “feeling of existence” together exciting and terrible, capable to open up primordial man to the mystery of his own presence. That man, according to Mircea Eliade, was intrinsically religiosus, in the sense that his experience of the world was integrally and originally permeated by a transcendent character, so it can be said for that primitive sensitivity, the Cosmos itself, as a whole, was manifestation of the sacred.

Today, after Nietzsche’s terrible declaration about the death of God (“Gott ist tot!”), meaning the end of a world based on theo-eschatological horizon in favour of a world based on technical-materialistic premises, we have been orphans of the divine, nostalgic for a spiritual or a numinous dimension, forgetful of the sacred.

Yet the radical experience of the “ganz Anderes” (of the “radical Other”), of what language cannot explain, is irrepressible, and constitutive of the human mind. The exhibition is structured as an itinerary through three works I ironically define “pop-hierophanies”, which address three traditional aspects of the sacred: beautyinvocation, and faith. 

The intent is to recall the tremendum, the maiestas, the mysterium fascinans of this terrifying and irrational experience, but also all-encompassing and full of wonder: the sacred. Hence the title of the exhibition:

Where is my sacred?
And so – dear visitor – where is yours



Beauty Will Save The world – [BEAUTY]
At the entrance of the space, a 3D cardboard print of the Venus di Milo (created by NextMaterials from Milan), stands as a totem at the beginning of the “hieratic path”, waiting for the visitor. The statue is covered with medical bands like it was wounded. My intent is to address the idea behind the famous statement by Prince Myskin in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot: « Beauty will save the world. » 

On the body of the goddess, turned into a projection screen, and on the back wall, a video montage shows the evil of the world: terrorism, pollution, war, overpopulation, murders, violence, but also catastrophes and natural events, those primordial events that have opened up humanity to the overwhelming experience of the sacred (hierós), which initially manifested itself as a cratophany (krátos = power): the showing of natural forces.

The statue is in silence, like an infirm deity, appearing and disappearing, while the video plays. Her silent epiphany, as a symbol of beauty, is what can redeem (save) the world. In the presence of the goddess, the video changes theme and shows the good of the world: acts and situations of extraordinary grace, a gesture of help or goodness, a sublime song, the pathos of harmony in human and natural forms that unleashes in mankind those feelings of compassionenjoyment and power, which typically characterize the experience of beauty.

Beauty is the principle of order and civilization. It is an intuition of harmony, creative drive, superior adaptation, effort of the imagination, sublimated horror. 

It is an extra-ordinary “tool” capable of emancipating mankind from the so-called “evil”: its own destructive and self-destructive tendencies.

In this sense, a beautiful gesture is intrinsically ethical, certainly senseless in the face of the absurd, thus sincere selfless, hence superhuman, extra-terrestrial. Just like the “turn the other cheek” can be understood as an artistic performance, in which the possibility of holding back a destructive and violent impulse, in favour of a higher end; so beauty can be seen as a regulative ideal capable to drag humanity, as a whole, towards higher and inscrutable ends.

All these images are gathered from that digital collective unconscious that is YouTube.

From this point of view, the destination of the human species towards beauty, also inted as marvel of discovery (of its own infinite potential) is the only possible motif that can justify human efforts to survive and prosper. A superhuman response to an infinitelly philosophical question: Why existing at all? Perhaps simply to contemplate.

Beauty, therefore, will save the world.

Oracular Skullptures – [INVOCATION]
The main core of the exhibition are the Oracular Skullptures series: 10 skulls of animals lacquered in pastel colors with golden details, between the sacred and the profane. These “deliciously macabre” and “beautifully grotesque” pieces, the driving centre of the exhibition, evoke the strength and the animal spirit, reconnecting mankind with the natural – instinctive, unconscious – and the transcendent.

In ancient times, the oracle was a being or an institution considered a source of wise advice or prophecies, an infallible authority, usually of a spiritual nature. The same term can also refer to a prediction of the future dispensed by the gods through objects or life forms.

From my point of view, each skull is an oracle: if questioned, even if only by looking, it will respond; if respected, it will bring luck, wealth, knowledge, love or wisdom. The animal skull abdicates here to its natural function, in favour of a cultural one, thanks to the artistic intervention.

The Skullptures are standing a thin line between the sacred and the profane. The glossy surface recalls a spray painted car, giving the skulls a “toyish-look”. At the same time, the skulls look like magical creatures, astral beings from outer space or otherworld. Each colour, is my interpretation of the animal’s character. For the creation of this series, I was inspired by the Jungian readings of the animal in the dream and the suggestions of post-humanist theories.

In psychoanalysis, the archetypical meaning of animals in dreams is central. Unlike in commercials, where a desacralized version of the animal is used to express the “as if” of the consumer or the product, in a gratified manner; in dreams the individual “is” the animal. Because of their body structure and behavioural characteristics, animals in dreams hold a huge symbolic power, they function as synthetic catalysts of a wide range of feelings and situations: they crawl, jump, fly, swim, camouflage, attack, sleep, surrender, watch around. The animal in dreams can be downsized, reduced to minced meat, transformed into bones, or become a numinous and out of scale super-Animal: a huge lion, a magical horse, a golden bird. 

Also the animal represent a repression of the traumatic experience we inflict upon nature in order to dominate, survive, and prosper. 

In this sense, the Skullptures can be interpreted as guardians of the terrestrial order, as warnings both for the individual and for humanity as a whole.

Precisely linked to this last concept, in post-humanist theory the figure of the animal is very much linked to the displacement of anthropocentrism, but not necessarily in the anti-specist key. The animal symbolic power, its ability to arouse wonder and fear is, in fact, precisely based on its “species-specific difference” that inevitably becomes “ontological”. 

In its bony version, suggested by the Skullptures, while the human skull is the emptied face that reminds the observer of the future of his inevitable mortality, the presence of the animal skull can evoke a sense of nostalgia for taht past condition humanity has forever left behind. Observing the animal skull, the observer is inevitably driven to fantasize about his own primordial wildlife, through that evolutionary line that reconnects him to the first life-forms. An archaic state shared by humanity of the origins in which the earthly microcosm was immediately connected to the macrocosm.

In this sense, the animal skulls are an invitation to regain a more universal look that includes all beings.

Is There Chocolate Inside? – [FAITH]
At the end of the itinerary, almost like a revelation, a chromed frame enclosed by a Plexiglas screen, containing a series of 18 Ritter Sport Minimeter tube-packs in the center of which is placed a Russian icon depicting the Christ Pantocrator, stands awaiting for the visitor.  Multicolored LED lights illuminate the content from the inside, giving the work a supernatural aura.

This work is a reinterpretation of the “Edicola Sacra” (Sacred Shrine), an architectural element very common in Rome and in Christian-Latin cultures in general. The term derives from the Latin aedicula, diminutive of aedes (“temple”), hence a miniature temple, which housed the statue or the depiction of a deity. These sacred niches, also called “Madonnelle”, are an expression of popular faith, naive but sincere, and are realized after some miraculous event, a foiled calamity, a ceased epidemic, a sudden recovery. Around the sacred image, there was an ex voto by the faithful ones who would aske for and obtained “grace”. The sanctuary is often found at intersections of streets where it gave light when there was no public lighting.

This work, taking up the symbolis, and the characteristics of this architectural element, addresses the concept of faith. If the visitor believes that there is chocolate inside tubes, then there will be. Divinity is present. If he does not believe there is, then, the tubes are empty. Divinity is absent. In the centre of the aedicule, an icon of the Christ Pantocrator is mounted, a copy made by an Ukrainian craftsman with the traditional technique. The Christ Pantocrator (Χριστός Παντοκράτωρ, from the Greek pan [all] and kràtein [to dominate strongly, have in hand]) is typical a representation of Jesus typical in Byzantine and generally Paleo-Christian art and also of medieval art, particularly present in the mosaics and in the frescoes. It is the embodied version of the deity, with which to relate visually.

Christ in the fifth century was considered the organizing principle of the Cosmos, generated and not created by God the Father, the key to understanding reality and the answer to the mystery of existence. The human desire for order had found its fulfillment in Jesus, the incarnate Logos, the Reason and the Structure of the Cosmos. The intellectual and spiritual implications of this meaning of the Cosmic Christ are still felt today. The eminent philosopher Alfred North Whitehead even advanced the idea that the scientific vision of the world, now deeply engraved in Western consciousness, has its roots in the theology of the Christians of the fifth century.

In my vision, the union of Ritter Sport Minimeter tubes – a symbol of industrial production and of human desire (chocolate) – with a sacred object like the Russian Icon of Christ Pantocrator – the mathematical order of the Cosmos – creates an apparent contrast, which ultimately reveals its coherence and connection on several levels. 

Ideally, the work of art brings together the cultures of Central, South and Eastern Europe, while the LED strip lighting, in addition to provoking different emotional states, recalls Chinese folklore and the low-cost products of globalization sold through the platforms online.

Of course, as long as the world preserves the beauty!