Anatomy of the Landscape at Chiostro di San Nicola, Anacapri

Giovanna Silva, Capri Palace, 2017


The San Nicola cloister, part of the monumental San Michele complex in Anacapri, will house the collective exhibition Anatomy of the Landscape. The exhibition’s theme is the swimming pool, conceived as a quintessential nostalgic and melancholic place of modernity.

Evoking an artistic tradition that harks back to the Bagni Misteriosi of Giorgio de Chirico and the works of David Hockney, this exhibition emphasizes the metaphysical, timeless aspect of the pool as a sort of “other sea,” as a place that, in the constant variety of its forms, retraces the island’s physiognomy, reflecting its “suspendedness” and its archetypal sense of being a primordial psychic and mental place.

In its thematic and metaphorical value, the swimming pool is interpreted by Gianfranco Baruchello, Marco Basta, Gregorio Botta, Giovanna Silva, Rä di Martino, Marzia Migliora, Maurizio Nannucci, Nucleo and Gabriele Picco, who were invited, based on their specific artistic language, to present a series of works – photographs, videos, site-specific installations and drawings, inspired by the presence of a pool on an island, and to offer a personal viewpoint on the landscape as a space that is constantly hanging in the balance between natural and artificial dimensions, between public fruition and the private sphere.

On one hand, the series of drawings by Gianfranco Baruchello and Gabriele Picco, alternating between text and image, display a bona-fide obsession for the pool-as-object and turn it into an image that lies between between hallucination and irony. On the other hand, Giovanna Silva’s polaroids, which map out a few of the most famous pools in Capri, bring to life a set of fragmented visions wavering between presence and absence – in the image of an entirely artificial landscape shaped by a long sequence of details of pools that are empty, deserted or animated by figures frozen in the instantaneous pose captured by the snapshot.

Gianfranco BaruchelloNuoto a ostacoli, 1991
water color and pencil on paper
18×23,8 cm

Meanwhile, Rä di Martino and Marzia Migliora employ a literary template to revisit the pool as mental place. The Roman artist’s sequence of photographs (taken from the project entitled La Controfigura, a feature-length film set in Morocco starring Filippo Timi and Valeria Golino), are inspired by John Cheever’s celebrated short story “The Swimmer.” In the latter, a middle-aged man returns home by crossing every pool in a city, which in the American writer’s works alluded to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, whereas In Rä di Martino’s pictures the city becomes modern-day Marrakech.


Rä di Martino, The Swimmer#5, 2017
archival pigment print on baryta paper
cm 16×29,5, cm 21,5×34,5 framed


Forever Overhead by Marzia Migliora evokes a David Foster Wallace tale about an adolescent’s initiating path towards adulthood, narrated through the meticulous description of a dive off the trampoline of a public pool in the sweltering American summer heat. In Migliora’s video, inspired by the ancient fresco of Paestum on the top slab of a grave, known as Tomb of the Diver, which was painted to accompany the departed on his travels into the underworld, a man is seen leaping off of a ten-metre-high diving board. The images and sounds, which record the diver’s sensorial changes en route from land to water, form a suspended, timeless sequence.

The exhibition itinerary ends with installations by Maurizio Nannucci, Marco Basta and Gregorio Botta. Nannucci presents a series of his famous neon signs, made specifically for this occasion. Basta, a leading artist in last year’s edition of the Travelogue project, displays four new ceramic pieces. Finally, Botta presents a new version of his work Anello del 2009. Through a dialectic between artificial (Nannucci’s blue neon) and natural materials (water and light in Botta’s work), from different points of view, these artists converge to reinterpret the San Nicola cloister space as a place of contemplation and silence, alluding indirectly and metaphorically to the element of immersion which embodies the swimming pool as a melancholic, timeless place.


Chiostro di San Nicola, Anacapri
Opening 15 July, 8pm
16 July – 30 September