Friday, 16 August 2013

Metamorphoses of Reconciliation

Doing research on Art – as in any other field of knowledge – sometimes offers you amazing surprises. That was precisely the case when, quite by accident, we came across a solitary project developed by an Italian artist, Sergio Pacori, quite unknown beyond the limits of his Gorizia hometown in Northeastern Italy.

Born in Gargaro, Italy (or Grgar, once a part of Western Slovenia, municipality of Nova Gorica, or Nuova Gorizia), in 1933, Sergio Pacori has been fascinated by the art of forging ever since his early years.  His first works, however, were made of wood logs found on the beach and chosen for their imaginative appeal.
The sculptor would later abandon wood for new, unusually expressive material, full of history and dramatic power: the remains of the First World War found among the Karst stones of his place of birth, strategically located on the border of Italy and Slovenia, at the crossroads of conflict, in a region then particularly under constant assaults by the Austro-Hungarian army.

These were the tribulations that shaped the backdrop of the land into which Sergio Pacori was to be born. And this was to play a fundamental role in the shaping of his character as well as in the art he was to create, in the materials he chose to work with, in the message he keeps spreading by means of his sculptures. Out of ogives, pieces of buckshot, barbed wire and other such material, he created extremely dramatic artefacts, both reminders of the tragic deaths caused by the Great War, and images brightened up by rays of hope, freedom and reconciliation.

Sergio Pacori exclusively works with self-destroyed iron shaped by explosion (pieces of shrapnel) from World War I, iron plates and corrugated iron used in trenches, distorted remains of shells transfigured by their own detonation, therefore, often somehow concealing to unknowing eyes, through this metamorphosis, the brutality of their origin. His work shows unusable remains which have already fulfilled their devastating destiny, however with the very positive purpose of glorifying and preserving a painfully achieved peace. In his reaction against the First Great War and his use of uncommon material in art production, he could be associated to the Dada Movement.

His art is very much a local project, in the sense that its target group is mainly the local population, whose forefathers have been actors, as well as victims, of the horrors and bloodshed caused by World War I. Besides other local major creations, generally dedicated to the Italians and the Hungarians fallen in World War I, his works include numerous sculptures shown in temporary exhibitions, mainly in Italy, as well as scattered throughout the landscape of his Karst region, near his house.

Sergio Pacori’s themes are mainly religious ones, such as images of Christ and of saints, Madonnas, crucifixes, Pietàs, as well as battle scenes, warriors and soldiers. The artist’s idea probably springs from the fact that Italy has been released from the scourge of conflict for quite a long time now and has to be reminded of the benefits of such a privilege. His purpose is to preserve the memory of those tragic times, as well as to perpetuate the names of all those fallen during the fierce battles of World War I, while further stimulating the population’s awareness of the value of the peace they now enjoy, in a constant appeal to reconciliation.

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