Thursday, 5 January 2012

Claudia Losi – Les Funerailles de la Baleine III

Les Funerailles de la Baleine is a short film telling the tale of the collective ritual which accompanied the final stage of the Balena Project by the artist Claudia Losi. The material stage of the project began in 2004 and came to a close in October 2010.
The art project, conceived as an ongoing work, drew inspiration from the rich imagery which has historically been attached to this giant mammal, right up to contemporary imagery and the environmental battles for which the whale has often been used as a symbol.
A fin whale, 24 metres long, created entirely in fine wool fabric, air pockets and padding, was transported around Italy and abroad like an old-fashioned fairground attraction, at each stage taking on new forms of meaning, giving rise to new stories and invoking the recollection of memories. In October 2010, this ‘symbolic device’ returned to the place where the fabric of which it was made was produced, and over the course of a 24-hour performance in the rooms of the ex-textile factory, this rite of passage was carried out. A ‘funeral’ of the whale’s body, which was transformed into a variety of new objects/forms/thoughts: under the guidance of the stylist Antonio Marras, master seamsters used the fabric to create men’s jackets lined with a material printed in the form of a magazine article describing the evolution of the project. Other whale-forms were created out of the mother whale’s stuffing, as well as bags made from the inflatable air pockets inside her. As the conductor of the funeral band, the singer-songwriter Vinicio Capossela accompanied a part of the performance with as-of-then unpublished songs and readings.
Les Funerailles de la Baleine tells the story of that performance and that rite of passage which, with a sense of magic and symbolism, reflects the notion of the “ecology of art”, according to which the work is not looked upon as a fixed and static object, but rather as a crossover point, one of shifts and changes both in terms of materials and sense.

Claudia Losi

photographs by Dario Lasagni and Peter Foolen (top two images)

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