Tunneller - Fabulae Romanae

Studio Orta - 7004
Studio Orta - 7004
Studio Orta - 7004

Date: 2012
Ref: 7000.04
Materials: Wool, fibreglass
Dimensions: 150 x 120 x 60cm
Exhibition history: 2012 MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts Rome, Italy
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta and zegnArt. Photography Paul Bevan

Fabulae Romanae is the title of a filmed-performance and a major exhibition of Lucy and Jorge Orta's site-specific performances in the city of Rome. In the film, the artists depict a symbolic excursus across Rome through the eyes of a series of ethereal characters –genius loci–. These spirits draw from archaeological and historical research, and observations on the cultural and social map of the city and interrogate social, anthropological and philosophical themes.

The spirits perform intimate rituals in the streets and monuments of Rome, they become contemporary sentinels, who silently interact with the city’s landscape. Between the myrtle bushes of the ancient park of the Coelian Hill glides The Tunneller with her enormous hank of white yarn, or rather the colour of nothing, and twisted so many times that it looks like a soft hawser wrapped around the nymph until it almost suffocates her. And in its disproportionate size she even hides her human form as she tunnels her way through the subterranean cellars ruins of the Roman Villa Gregoriana in Tivoli.
Throughout their meanderings, the spirits are guided by a poem written by eco-poet Mario Petrucci specifically to accompany their journey. The verses narrated in Italian and English weave story-telling layers into each scenario. "Space here has an innard geometry –passages down which the mind will see an eye that walks hard with light   yet illumined from within the walker not knowing who might be  met at each bend   mends herself as one door   opens another opens."

Fabulae Romanae was commissioned by ZegnArt, for the artists solo exhibition at the MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts Rome (22 March – 23 September 2012). It was supported by the University of the Arts London Centre for Sustainable Fashion, with the assistance of designers Mio Jin, Lara Torres, Oliver Ruuger, Sum Yu Li.