“Marble Salad” is the main of three spatial still-lifes that have been developed throughout a month-long artist residency at Masseria Cultura, an old vernacular mansion situated in the middle of the countryside in Puglia, Italy.
The project reuses marble debris, collected from various refineries, located in neighbouring villages - then manually interlocked to compose a 4x4m solid platform on the ground. The surface could act as a walkable floor - a stage - or just as a contemplative device - an horizontal tactile and colourful canvas. The precise definition of its borders clashes with the wilderness of the open fields in the backyard of the mansion that surround it.
This area will be soon cultivated and transformed into a vegetable garden - rows of zucchini, aubergines, tomatoes, peas, carrots and purple cabbages will become the updated bucolic frame of the platform.
It’s almost a process of inverted mimesis: the marbles’ polychromy anticipates the organization of the vegetables - the artifice discloses nature.
The notion of time has been fundamental for the artworks, dealing with it in different ways. “Marble Salad” will act as a proper still-life, a permanent frozen snapshot immersed within an iteratively changing environment - the hortus. The other two interventions are instead more ephemeral: “Tra-Forato” is a totem made of hollow bricks, a stage-set for the landscape, a portable scenery flat to frame and construct specific viewpoints; “Red Carpet” was our first spatial intuitive rehearsal in the Masseria, an ironic commentary on the re-usage of humble debris.
The context allowed you to be immersed in nature, fostering both a metaphorical and physical dialogue with the landscape: this dictated not only the timing of the project but also defined the way we used certain materials - exploring issues of permanence, ephemerality and construction rhythm.
The three installations are the result of the collaboration with local old crafters, becoming almost built embodiment of the precious relationship we managed to establish with all of them.
Designed and constructed by
Letizia I. H. Tueros