The hỳbris project stems from artist Guy Lydster’s reflection on the Anthropocene, i.e. the current geological epoch in which, for the first time in the Earth’s history, human activity has had such a radical impact as to cause profound and irreversible changes on a large scale. These ‘structural’ changes, caused mainly by industrial activities, unbridled urbanisation, intensive agriculture and the extraction of natural resources, are the result of a selfish and short-sighted cultural model, incapable of stopping even in the face of the obvious dissipative and self-destructive drift of its actions.
Guy Lydster tackles this theme by proposing a monumental tetralogy developed along a path marked by four ‘stations’ closely linked by a narratological construct in which the conflict between Man and Nature is reified in a cultural clash between past, present and future.
In the first station, in fact, a dark shadow (the pictogram of Man) proudly greets the arrival of a menacing magmatic wave (Nature), which advances upon the remains of a classical civilisation symbolising a sort of aurea aetas, a mythical time of prosperity and abundance in which there were no laws, no private property, no hatred between individuals and in which war did not exist.
In the second, however, an enormous face induces silence, an act of hypocritical omertà towards today’s exploitation and devastation carried out by the new Prometheus in the grip of an increasingly greedy will to power.
In the third station, the dark shadow holds up the World in defiance of the ever more incipient devouring magma. This is the most dramatic representation of the ‘arrogance’ of the human being, the hỳbris precisely, which, however, can only be followed by an inevitable defeat.
In the last station, in fact, man, victim of his own arrogance and blind faith in his own strength, is overwhelmed by Nature which, after having eliminated his ‘evil’ by swallowing him up and casting him adrift in a sterile desert, takes his place again, ready (perhaps) to start again.
Guy Lydster. ὕβρις / Hỳbris, Art City Bologna, curated by Giuseppe Virelli
VAAM architettura, Bologna, 26.01 – 04.02.2024
Promoted by Associazione Il Campone, in collaboration with VAAM architettura