Tre sequenze per voce sola, Raffaella Cortese Gallery, Milan

Francesco Arena
Tre sequenze per voce sola

Galleria Raffaella Cortese, spazi via Stradella 7,1,4

Three works, one for each space, three stories, each narrated by one voice. Three works where narration, time and space merge.

The title is borrowed from a composition for solo voice by Luciano Berio. The three sequences by Berio do not narrate any fictional event, they are vocalizations, the reality of the voice of the singer and what voice can do and express without needing the invention of any narration. The three works that compose the show are three non-fiction stories, therefore, they are real. We listen to two of them through the real voice of the protagonists: one live through his presence in space that makes his story variable according to the moment; another through the recording of his voice, fixed forever in a timeline and mileage. We don’t hear the third voice, as it as unlistenable, since it is the voice of a dead man who has no chance of being heard except through the truth of the narration of his own death, which transformed his personal human history into a shared feeling.


Linea finita (orizzonte Gianluigi)
Magnetic tape, recorder, voice; duration of 6 hours 46 minutes and 8 seconds, tape length 4.630 meters

 Finite line is a sound sculpture, a sculpture in the form of magnetic tape on which an audio track is recorded. There is a geometric formula for calculating the distance between the observer and the horizon he observes; knowing the height of the eyes of the observer in relation to the ground, it is possible to calculate the distance between him and the horizon: ignoring the effect of atmospheric refraction, the distance of the horizon to an observer near the earth's surface is

where “h” is the height above sea level in kilometres.

For an observer standing on the ground with h = 1.70 m (average eye level), the horizon is at a distance of 4.7 km.

The sculpture consists of a reel of magnetic tape for audio recordings, whose length corresponds to the distance between the observer and his horizon. The observation point of the portrayed person, Gianluigi, is 168 cm in height so we have a reel of 4,630 meters; this reel is available to the observer to record his story. Considering an average recording speed, Gianluigi had a time of approximately 6 hours 46 minutes and 8 seconds of audio recording. The reels on the market reach a maximum length of 1,100 meters, therefore for the sculpture a customized reel has been created and the recording and listening system has been modified.


Angolo Scontento (Hommage à la mort di Sigmund Freud)
Copper, person born in 1939

A 19-meter long copper band, three centimetres thick and 70 centimetres high, is cut and mounted to form a corner. The sculpture is suspended 70 centimetres from the ground, the outside of the sculpture is opaque while the interior is mirror polished. Inside the sculpture there is a chair where an 80-year-old man or woman, born in 1939, sits. 1939 is the year of the death of Sigmund Freud, the man who, listening to the lives of others, tried to understand the secret mechanisms that regulate our moods.

When someone approaches the sculpture, the performer begins to speak by saying his name, his date of birth and telling about fragments of his life. The work is the materialization of the temporal distance between a definitive action, the death of Freud, and today. The idea of ‚Äč‚Äčanniversary as celebration of a death is analysed through its opposite: a life, that of the performer, that began when Freud died. The sculpture is destined to change over time because every year that passes increases the age of the performer, housed in the corner, as well as it increases the distance between the present and the death of Freud, until the work can no longer be inhabited.


Marmo con 3274 giorni
Marble, sheets from agendas; cm 107x55x55

A marble splitter is dug in order to accommodate 1637 sheets of diary corresponding to the 3274 days ranging from October 23, 2009 to October 10, 2018. The sheets of the diaries are detached from their covers so that inside the marble there are only those days taken into account without any addition. The 10 diaries of the years ranging from 2009 to 2018 are different in size as found on the second-hand market.

The numbers of days and dates span from October 23, 2009, which is both the day after the death of Roman surveyor Stefano Cucchi at the Sandro Pertini Hospital in Rome (he was halted a week earlier by the Carabinieri, the Italian national gendarmerie, in Rome), and the day of the announcement of his death by Italian media – and October 10, 2018. On this latest date, in presence of the Italian Court, one of the agents who was present at the arrest of the Roman surveyor, confirmed the beatings suffered by Mr. Cucchi during his arrest. For 3274 days these were denied by the Italian national gendarmerie and by much of the Italian political world despite being evident from the first day, as they were firmly impressed on the body of Stefano Cucchi.