Music and contemporary art in Pompeii

Published in Pompeii
29 June 2016

The look of Pompeii has been changed and enhanced following its transformation into an open-air space for contemporary art, music and concerts. A world heritage site since 1997, the archaeological ruins, considered without parallel anywhere in the world, will not only be used to host concerts by artists of the likes of Elton John and David Gilmour but also an extraordinary contemporary art exhibition, featuring works by renowned Polish artist Igor Mitoraj. A visual treat for the eyes and the ears!

Buried under ash and lapilli in the 18th century following the devastating eruption of 79 A.D., the Vesuvian city takes visitors on a real trip back in time, in discovery of the everyday lives of its ancient inhabitants. A unique place and one of the most widely visited archaeological sites in the world which, thanks to the commitment of the director of its Superintendency, Massimo Osanna,  will now be used as a backdrop to host concerts, dance events and contemporary art exhibitions amidst its ancient ruins.   

Until 8 January 2017, the excavations will host a posthumous monographic exhibition by Igor Mitoraj, a French-Polish sculptor who, in recent years, divided his time between Poland and Italy. Thirty large-scale bronze sculptures will co-exist with the most famous architectural elements of olden-day Pompeii, emerging like dreams from the ruins. The sculptures will be placed in different sections of the excavations, from the Temple of Venus to the Basilica and the Forum, from the Via dell’Abbondanza to the Terme Stabiane,  from the Triangular Forum to the porticoed  Quadriportico dei Teatri. The exhibition in Pompeii comes after the success of a similar exhibition in the Valley of Temples in Agrigento and at the Markets of Trajan in Rome, thus sealing the indissoluble link between archaeology and Mitoraj’s contemporary art works. Two realities that though fusing and blending together never overpower each other, establishing a harmonious bond that enhances the historic solemnity of the excavations and the mythological figures of the Polish master.  

Mitoraj, who had strong ties with Italy, died in 2014. One of his express wishes prior to his death was to see his works displayed amidst the ruins of Pompeii. Although the exhibition is posthumous, visitors will have a chance to enjoy one of the most unique events in the world, a true testament to the artist’s legacy. 

The  exhibition was conceived and promoted by the Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Italia e Mediterraneo under the patronage of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, and organized by the Superintendency of Pompeii, the Contini art gallery and Atelier Mitoraj (Pietrasanta). The strategic placement of the sculptures is down to the artistic direction of Luca Pizzi, who worked with Mitoraj as his assistant for the 20 years before his death in 2014.

Scavi Archeologici di Pompei. T: 0818575111 www.pompeiisites.org

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