︎ A Failed Attempt to
     Assemble a Mountain(2020)

In collaboration with Garry Loughlin, ‘A Failed Attempt to Assemble A Mountain” is a site-specific installation at Soapworks, a former soap factory in Bristol prior its demolition in 2021. The installation was include a set of lightboxes with original work and collages alongside a ephimeral foam sculpture with a sound piece.

Mount Sapo is a mythical mountain supposed to exist somewhere near Rome, presumably in Italy. It appears in a fanciful rewriting of the history of soap, and it is often claimed to explain the origins of the name. The story about Mount Sapo explains that upon its slopes, ancient Romans used to sacrifice animals as burnt offerings. Wood ash from the fires of their altars mingled with the grease from the animal sacrifices, forming a primitive kind of soap.

The myth of Rome was used by Mussolini, with a multiplicity of positive references, even before the fascist movement became a party. It was clear from the beginning that the model of behavior that was propounded to the fascist militants should be adopted, in perspective, by the whole society. The adoption of Roman symbols and rites, such as the fascio littorio, the salute with the outstretched hand and the rhythmical march, made it possible to effectively qualify a fascist specialty, but presenting it, at the same time, as a specificity of the nation.  It has been the supposed power, not the effective power, that animated the myth; and, therefore, the failure cannot be regarded as an element useful for the evaluation of the myth itself.

It is obvious that the political power of a myth does not depend on the historical authenticity of the rites, values, events, gestures that bring it up to date, and it would even be possible to affirm that, under some circumstances, the effectiveness of a myth is directly proportional to its degree of adulteration of the past.

“Myth deprives the object of which it speaks of all History. In it, history evaporates. It is a kind of ideal servant: it prepares all things, brings them, lays them out, the master arrives, it silently disappears: all that is left for one to do is to enjoy this beautiful object without wondering where it comes from. [...]
[...] This miraculous evaporation of history is another form of a concept common to most bourgeois myths: the irresponsibility of man”.

Roland Barthes, Mythologies, 1952

Ephimeral scupture. Display at Soapworks as part of Centre of Gravity, Bristol, 2020.

Lightbox display at Soapworks as part of Centre of Gravity, Bristol, 2020. 

Lightbox display at Soapworks as part of Centre of Gravity, Bristol, 2020.

Ash mountain, digital photograph. 2020

Sacrifices, digital collages, 2020.