Cristiano Carotti (Terni, 1981) presents Black Swallow-V14, his new site-specific public installation, just as the Venice Biennale leaves the starting blocks.

From 9 May to 9 July 2015, Squero San Trovaso in Venice will provide the backdrop for an enormous 11-metre-long, armed and armoured gondola dominated by a cannon. At the same time, some preliminary studies and small works inspired by Black Swallow-V14 will be displayed in the nearby El Magazen dell’Arte venue.

The initiative, curated by Lorenzo Respi and organized by Galleria Al Blu di Prussia and All Around Art, in collaboration with El Magazen dell’Arte and the RO.SA.M. cultural association, is the first of the three events ideally rounding off Cristiano Carotti’s current research path. Undertaken in 2012 on occasion of his “Waterloove” solo exhibition at the Al Blu di Prussia gallery in Naples, it will be concluded with a final show in the same venue at the year end.

Black Swallow-V14 is the wreck of an old Venetian gondola, which the artist has restored and transformed into an armoured and ironclad war vessel, its hull showing the unmistakable marks of battle and the stubborn resistance to a world that wants to destroy it. It is the vulgarity of contemporary society that contaminates the passions and wipes out ideals, trying to sink the gondola that protects artistic ethics as it stands up to the assault of market rule and denounces the indiscriminate use of violence in today’s society.

Narcissism, ignorance and superficiality naturally lead many to display frivolity, to obsessively search for the latest scoop, to seek personal interest and look to the “non” logic of omertà, to make a spectacle of the most intimate emotions and strive for the famous fifteen minutes of fame proclaimed by Andy Warhol.

“And what is happening to art? What are the purported art lovers doing for art?” Cristiano Carotti wonders. “Of course loving also means finding a compromise, but not in the name of money, or, even worse, spectacle. The armoured gondola is a genetic mutation of the object and the value it holds for its times.”

“Cristiano Carotti’s art is a vision. With impeccable timing,” the curator Lorenzo Respi underlines, “his installation gives out a cry of suffering, in an emblematic representation of the geopolitical crisis currently affecting Italy and Europe in its relationship with the sea. The gondola, ancient, romantic symbol of the queen of the cities of the arts, is combined with a tank to remind us that, beyond its canals, Venice sailed out and ruled the seas.”

In the people’s minds, the Venetian gondola is an undisputed icon of love, the archetype of a golden age of passion, which Black Swallow-V14 revives with its provocative armour. A picture-postcard image, the gondola regains its traditional value and the explosive force of loving passion, while equipping and arming itself to fight on the battlefield of the Venice 2015 Biennale Art Exhibition.

Black Swallow-V14 has been made with the technical aid of BAB LAB. The event’s technical sponsors are CO.I.MONT. Terni and Gruppo Trasporti Bernardini Terni.

The Bird Man by Marco Agostinelli will also be installed at Squero San Trovaso at the same time.

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