Exhibition/Performance in Milan


"Fossil Characters"

from October 9th to 16th, 2023

Palazzina dei Bagni Misteriosi/Teatro Franco Parenti
Via Carlo Botta 18, 20135 Milan, Italy

This exhibition and performance were held as a part of the event "WRITTEN IN STONE" curated by Katia Bagnoli and Bruno Riva.

 We live in an era where many millions of digital messages are dispatched across the globe each second. In this age of instant and convenient communication, have we lost something? Digital messages are functional but lacking in personality. Handwriting carries something beyond literal meaning, something of the soul. Typed "thank you" letters are always the same, but we can convey various feelings and tones of "thank you" through handwriting.
 For thousands of years humans have been writing characters by hand. But now, characters are changing from something written with a pen to something typed on a keyboard or screen. This is a recent and dramatic diversion from early human history. Handwriting is less common in our daily lives, and will be even scarcer in the future. I sincerely believe that now is the time to go back to the origin of handwriting and re-evaluate it from a new perspective.
 Pictograph is an ancient form of handwriting. In ancient China, pictographic characters were engraved on animal bones, tortoise carapaces and stones. In Italy there are sites of prehistoric rock carvings, such as Valcamonica which is the first Italian site registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list. I found that there is a lot in common between Chinese pictographic characters and Italian rock carvings.
 In this exhibition I feature pictographic characters as the protagonists. To begin, I roll out a large piece of canvas on the floor and step on it barefoot with a glass of ink in my hand. When I draw arcs in the air with my hands, the ink in the glass splashes onto the canvas. The ink takes on a life of its own; it runs and puddles on the face of canvas. All I can do is wait--- for several nights. When the pooled ink finally finishes drying, it leaves a distinctive pattern on the canvas. It looks as if fossils of characters have emerged in front of my eyes. It is the moment when traces of Mother Earth left by human hands appear to send us a message from beyond thousands of years. It sounds to me that we don't control nature for ourselves, but rather control ourselves for nature.