Montecchio Maggiore (1967)
Arcangelo Sassolino in Massa Martana. Ph. Roberta Paolucci.
Sassolino’s sculptures and installations explore mechanical behaviors, materials, and the physical properties of force. Applying these properties to the natural world and behaviors, the artist explores the friction between industrial progress and environmental concerns. Tension, expectation, and risk awareness, along with powerful aesthetics, play a key role in viewers’ experiences.
“For me, air is matter from Invisible Consequences.”
curated by Cristina Tessicini
Arcangelo Sassolino transforms the pedestrian tunnel at the entrance to Massa Martana into a wind tunnel. Thousands of cubic meters of air flow through the arched vault driven by an industrial turbine, creating the sensation of an increasingly strong yet artificial wind.
For the artist, air is matter. If compressed or invested at great speed it becomes solid, and then it can become sculpture in a way. His aim is to activate an invisible force that forces resistance against push or pull. Sassolino’s work also prompts reflection on the recent past: we remembered how vital air is, how much we all depend on it in equal measure, and how a single breath can be precious or dangerous.
Massa Martana, Umbria
The village of Massa Martana. Courtesy: the municipality of Massa Martana.
The medieval town of Massa Martana was brought back to its splendor after the earthquake of 1997 and the renovation and restorative efforts that followed. It is has the stunning Martani Mountains as its backdrop and forms part of notable associations and groups, including the Associazione Nazionale delle Città dell’Olio, and has been designated one of “I Borghi più belli d’Italia” (Italy’s most beautiful villages). Human presence on the land dates back to prehistory, as numerous discoveries atop the Monte Cerchio and Monte Schignano. The communal territory is rich in finds from the Roman epoch; indeed, it is assumed that what is today Massa Martana corresponds to the ancient Roman installation of Vicus ad Martis on the Via Flaminia toward Ponte Fonnaia, carried out in the first century in perfectly square travertine blocks. Close to the Ponte Fonnaia is a Christian catacomb, unique in Umbria, inside which nearly 300 loculi are found. Numerous churches are of historical and cultural interest: San Felice, Santa Maria in Pantano, dell‘Ascensione, San Pietro Sopra le Acque, Santa Illuminata, San Sebastiano, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Santa Maria della Pace, and the Abbeys of Santa Maria, Santi Fidenzio e Terenzio and San Faustino.