Fondazione Merz


Emily Jacir, Pietrapertosa, permanent installation

from 4 August 2021


The artwork by Emily Jacir Pietrapertosa included in the exhibition Push the Limits will be permanently installed in Pietrapertosa (Basilicata)

The artwork by Emily Jacir Pietraperstosa returns to the Lucanian territory where it was conceived to be permanently installed in the community garden of the Gardentopia project in Pietrapertosa (Potenza).

The sculptural work, created with the support of the Matera Basilicata 2019 Foundation, was conceived by Emily Jacir during her artistic residency in 2019 in the Lucanian village of Pietrapertosa, as part of Matera European Capital of Culture project called “Gardentopia”. During this experience, the artist researched the Arab roots of the village in the Lucanian Dolomites, where there is a district called “Arabata”. Here she explored the Arab influence on the language and culture of the village, together with the techniques of excavation and modelling of the local stone, interacting with the local community.

“Pietrapertosa” is a circular sculpture, 179 cm in diameter and 6 cm thick, made with stone from the Gorgoglione quarries, a town in Basilicata.

With this work, Emily Jacir develops two main themes: the importance of hospitality for the inhabitants of Pietrapertosa and the Arab heritage of this tradition. Basilicata, a place where dialects of Greek, Albanian and Arabic derivation are still spoken, has at various times in its history been strategically considered as “the East”, a crossroads of cultures. Both the journey of the artwork from Basilicata to Turin and back again plus the materials chosen, were conceived as an artistic action reflecting the multiple stories of movement between the north and south of Italy and the different cultural realities that inhabit within. “The work – says the artist – projects the village of Pietrapertosa into a space beyond national and state borders, into an expansive and ancient shared history, a journey that links Pietrapertosa to Palestine”.