The Italian Cultural Institute in Vienna presents the next stage of Stefano Cagol’s work “THE TIME OF THE FLOOD. Beyond the Myth through Climate Change | IL TEMPO DEL DILUVIO. Oltre il mito attraverso il cambio climatico”. A series of installations and videos retrace the residency work of the Italian Council (6th Edition 2019), a programme promoting contemporary Italian art all over the world by the Directorate General for Contemporary Creativity at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.
It all originated with a video trilogy made in Berlin in January on the alarm arising from imminent danger, as visionary as ever in light of recent events. In the German capital, the artist acted in prescient urban solitude, setting off sirens in front of the Reichstag and setting water alight, by using cans of hair spray, to evoke the antagonism between man and nature. His hand flare, which travelled from Bressanone around the world, both online and on TV (226 million views on global TV and online, amounting to over 400 million viewers), is also part “sign for the future”, part SOS. It is followed by the chapter “abiogenesis”, suspended in a sulphurous nature of destruction and generation. The visionary quality that moves from myth to geophysical and geochemical phenomena, closes with “The End of the Flood”, an installation with a miniaturised cutout from Genesis and a Palaeozoic fossil trilobite, one of the oldest living creatures, to underline how insignificantly brief man’s presence on Earth is, compared with the time that has preceded us. And how much more there is to come.
About the project: The multi-site project “THE TIME OF THE FLOOD. Beyond the Myth through Climate Change | IL TEMPO DEL DILUVIO. Oltre il mito attraverso il cambio climatico” by Stefano Cagol began last November and developed over a year across several places – including Berlin, Rome, Venice, Jerusalem, Vienna and the Wadden Sea – taking in moments of research, interaction and creation around the theme of the flood as the synthesis of all upheavals.
Art, science, myth. Starting from a symbolic image – the universal flood – Stefano Cagol explores global issues such as the origin and future of life on Earth, climate change, the disappearance of glaciers and the presence of pandemics, continuing a research that for years has addressed different aspects of the complex uneven relationship between us and nature. These phenomena – defined “hyperobjects” by the philosopher Timothy Morton – are not always observable, but already before us, affecting everyone, hyperdiffused but, at the same time, difficult to grasp, changeable, multiform and shifting. Just as water, currents, winds, heat, energy, viruses and reactions to anthropogenic interference. The artist clearly takes inspiration from the moment we are living in, “We monitor what is happening around us as never before, yet our relationship with nature has never eluded us as it does now,” explains Cagol. He describes the residence as “a research journey towards the genesis of the concept of the universal flood“, and concludes “Perhaps a mode of purification. Surely a thought about our most precious possessions: water and energy. Simultaneously a mystical and global theme.” Cagol’s art is an experience of knowledge, a critical look at the world, capable of constantly questioning the viewer and reacting to what is about to happen.
(from the press release)
Stefano Cagol, «THE TIME OF THE FLOOD. Beyond the myth through climate change, The Italian Cultural Institute in Vienna, Vienna, 16 – 25.09.2020
images: (cover 1) STEFANO CAGOL, DIE ZEIT DER FLUT (2) Stefano Cagol, THE TIME OF THE FLOOD, poster