Supported by Hypermaremma and endorsed by Giovanna Caruso Fendi, Amnios presents itself as the debut project of the Hippocampus Residency, a new residence for artists in Maremma founded and curated by Veronica Siciliani Fendi.
In Hippocampus, the former stables of Casale Casagrande situated in the Tuscan Pescia Fiorentina, become a creative laboratory. Adopting a rather informal yet multifaceted collaborative approach, the artists illustrate a dialogue involving the surroundings and nature. The residency is afloat between land and sea, in the heart of the Maremma region and within proximity to the grand habitable sculptures of the Tarot Garden by Niki de Saint Phalle (1998).
The research behind this project stems from the Hippocampus, a mythical fish-tailed horse, distinguished for drawing Poseidon’s chariot. A terrestrial marine hybrid thus fluid figure, the Hippocampus entails the power to mould, merge, and adapt to the enclosing environment. Notably, an exceptionally unique and defining characteristic is the exclusive occurrence of gender reversal at the time of reproduction, which takes place when the female lays her eggs in the belly of the male, leading to an otherwise unheard of male pregnancy.
At the forefront of this first edition are artists Agnes? and Malù Dalla Piccola, presenting Amnios, the environmental, site-specific, and locally conceived installation.
In the months of October through December 2020 the artists both clashed and converged with one another throughout their collective artistic exploration of the singular ability of the Hippocampus, with the purpose of questioning gender roles and identity, while covering topics concerning fertility, pregnancy, and birth. The installation is therefore a hymn to gender spectrums and fluidity.
Joined by their interest in the intrauterine condition and the cyclical nature of water- distinctly the amniotic and creative fluids – the artists designed, sewed, and stuffed a series of cushions, using natural materials found within their approximate surroundings. The textured fragrant hay evokes the history of the environment, meanwhile the visceral colours of textiles and materials, along with the warmth of the lights, create an enveloping and pulsating setting, implicative of the human body’s insides.
Amnios, a living breathing organ is set to communicate with its participants, establishing an intimate experience with matter. By penetrating this evocative space, one feels incited to face their fears thus accessing a level of consciousness capable of leading a rebirth. The installation takes the participant to a mystical and mysterious dimension, up until the regressus ad uterum, a symbolic return to the womb, the primordial state, and origin of life, to water.
Bewildered, one can only abandon themselves to the wait. Whether it would be of birth or of death, or perhaps…eternal incubation.
Agnes? (Rome, 1995) lives between Rome and London. They took part in the Fine Arts program at Camberwell College in London, finishing their studies in 2018. Although their career begins with photography and sculpture, they are now focused on artistic performance as a means of exploring the relationship between humans and nature. Agnes has exhibited in several European cities including Rome, Florence, The Hague, and London. Their most recent projects are a two-person show, namely “Tides in the Body” at the Lychee One gallery in London, and the performance “Il Cappello del Polpo” at Palazzo Massimo, in Rome (2020). In 2019, they were selected for the Midwater Residency in collaboration with Studio Forlane on the island of Poros, Greece. In the same year they participated in the first edition of Hypermaremma with an impressive installation at the Museo Nazionale dell’Antica di Cosa. In 2017, they received the “Lorenzo il Magnifico” award at the Florence Biennal in the Performance Art section. Moreover, in 2021, Agnes will also participate in the Komi Biennial, in collaboration with the Pushkin Museum of Moscow, as well as in the second edition of the “Back to Nature” festival in the iconic Villa Borghese of Rome, which will be curated by Costantino d’Orazio. In October they will be pursuing the MFA at the Pratt Institute in New York from which they were given a scholarship.
Malù Dalla Piccola (Rome, 1994) lives in Paris. In her art, Malù strives to confront figurative painting with the implications of technological progress on our generation, increasingly dependent on digital devices. Throughout her work, human body appears unrelentingly permeated by science and its ramifications. Challenging the classic representation of the female body in the European tradition, Malù portrays fragmented and incomplete bodies of women. Through mediums such as painting, sculpture, video, installations, performances, and the exploration of new chemical and alchemical materials, the artist inspects themes of memory, fertility, birth, futurism and transhumanism. Malù has exhibited in a variety of European cities including Rome, Paris, Lisbon, and Barcelona. Among her latest projects and performative works are “Futura”, at the Uxval Gochez gallery in Barcelona, and “Damnatio Memoriae” at Palazzo Scapucci in Rome (2019).