PPP porosità, poetica e política · Paulo Catrica

Paulo Catrica
PPP porosità, poetica e política
Sicily, 2021
Curator: Carlos Lobo 

Inauguration · 21 MAR · 19h00
School of Arts Exhibition Room
21 MAR- 18 APR 2024
14H às 19H - Free entrance


Scraping to (re)write

We left Palermo mid-morning in the direction of Madonie, at kilometre 39 after Buonfornello the A19 runs on a long viaduct that winds over the Imera Settentrionale or Fiume Grande river.  Built between 1970 and 1975, the A19 is permanently under repair, the use of poor materials and bad construction quickly turning the promise of progress into ruin. In 2015 a section of the viaduct near Imera collapsed and structural problems persist, reducing the motorway in many sections to just one lane in each direction. The construction of many of the public works in Sicily has been handed over to companies with links to 'our thing'. We pass through the long, dark Tremonzelli tunnel, inscribed with unexplained stories of engines exploding inside for no apparent reason, leave the A19 and take the SS120, via Castellana Sicula to Petralia Sottana, we are in the Madonie.

Sicily is not an island, it is a 'continent', writes Ferdinand Braudel in his 'The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World'. Peopled by Sicans, Elymians and Sycians, Sicily was partially occupied, dominated or disputed by Phoenicians (9th century BC), Greeks (8th century BC), Carthaginians (5th to 3rd centuries BC), Romans (3rd century BC to 1st century BC), Vandals (440-493), Ostrogoths (440-493), Ostrogoths (440-493), and the Mediterranean. I), Vandals (440-493), Ostrogoths (493-555), Byzantines (535-1043), Arabs (827-1091), Normans (1060-1194), Swabians (1185-1266), Aragonese (1282-1513), Spanish (1513-1713), Piedmontese (1713-1718), Bourbonic (1734-1860) and finally after 1860 unified as part of Italy.  

In my imagination, Sicily was a place inscribed by the stories and images of Tomasi di Lampedusa, Leonardo Sciascia, Elio Vittorini, the films of Luchino Visconti, Michelangelo Antonioni and Franco Maresco, the photographs of Letizia Battaglia, Tony Gentile, Fausto Giaccone and Giovani Chiaramonte. And lots of little raconti in the voice of my friend and accomplice Sebastiano Raimondo.  

This tour of the Madonies originates from the artist residency/commission for the Madonie project. Paesagi 1973/2021. Historical background and new commitments.   With a particular interest in the idea of the "common place", this series pretends that the everyday use, banality and monumentality of landscape, architecture and public space can be revealed through photographs. The fact that my research considers history, by default or vocation, instigated the enunciation of landscape as stratigraphy and fragment. 
Imperfect as a territory of memories, these 'raconti' photographs revisit the Madonie as a paradox between extreme beauty and banality, where the resilience and porosity of landscapes and architecture - historical and contemporary - are like the residue of a body that resists and reveals its scars. Not as ruin, decay or abandonment, but as living matter.  In the hope of (re)creating a poetic and political palimpsest, which harks back to the etymological origin of the word, from the Latin palimpsestos, and the Greek palimpsêstos, meaning 'scraped off to write again. 

[1] This commissioned project includes work by photographers Luigi Fiano, Lorenzo Martelli, Marcello De Masi, Giovanni Scotti, Alvise Raimondi, Sebastiano Raimondo and photographer Maria Vittoria Trovato. 
[2] "palimpsesto", in Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa [online], 2008 2024, https://dicionario.priberam.org/palimpsesto.

Lisbon, march 2024