Claudia Virginia Vitari undertook a project about prison from july 2007 until November 2008, called “Percorso Galera”, realised in collaboration with “ Associazione Papier” and “Lorusso e Cutugno” penitentiary. The first installation that took place in 2008 at the institute in Turin.
The artist worked with some of the inmates, interviewing them and composing portraits of them.
The purpose of the work is to show the inmates and their individuality, calling forth a confrontation between how prison is considered in the “free society” and what prison is, as part and mirror of society itself. The artist was analysing the subject, focusing on different cultural points of view: an examination of Man and the society he has created and of the relation between society and institution, prison as a literary metaphor, and, foremost, prison seen through the eyes of normal people who work or spend time there.
Introspection occurs to those who are entering a prison for the fist time, but also to those who are reclaiming their individuality from the inside of the building.
In this sense the installation represents an abstract path but also a concrete one, the structure of prison being a labyrinth .
The installation is based on the confrontation between the artist’s experience and the prisoners’, complementing each other in one single structure.
The work is composed of plates of resin, in which the different portraits and histories are crystallised.
Other materials include drawings, pages, book’s paragraphs (taken from specific or non-specific literature about prison), thoughts based on reality or fiction, or on the way prison is seen by the collective symbolic image inventory.
The portraits were left on purpose in the form of sketches, to underline from one side the limitation of time that the artist had with the prisoners, and on the other side, the impossibility of getting to know totally the person who is sitting in front of you.
At the beginning of the path the faces are mixed and confused, the spectator is introduced to a global vision of prison. Continuing though the path, each plate shows a more defined representation of a prisoner in particular and it’s possible to know him and understand what he is thinking or feeling.
The work has been realized with silk-screening on resin: this material was chosen because of its transparency, to emphasize the contrast with the prison’s walls.
The plates are caged in a structure of raw iron, and their transparency allows an exchange of looks between who is “outside” and who is “inside”.
Looking over the plates of resin, it is possible to see the penitentiary structure and the installation assumes the function of a “lens” that allows one to see the histories locked inside the walls.
7 light boxes
silkscreening on different levels of resin, iron
SINGE LIGHT BOX: 50x35x200 cm.
SINGLE PLATE: 200×50 cm