Portal of Light, Emilio Ferro’s installation in front of the Giza Pyramids
From 27 October through 30 November visitors can see installations in front of the Giza Pyramids created by various artists from all over the world for the second edition of Forever is Now, the sequel to the great contemporary art exhibition proposed by Culturvator and Art D'Égypte with UNESCO. Just outside the gates of Cairo, the popular archaeological site and UNESCO World Heritage Site has become a place for experimentation and dialogue among different cultures, generations and areas of interest.
The international artists invited to participate include such prestigious names as JR of France, Therese Antoine of Egypt, Syrian-Swedish artist Jwan Yosef, SpY of Spain and Emilio Ferro of Italy, who created the first light art installation ever to be erected at the tombs of the pharaohs. Called Portal of Light by the light artist, it is a site-specific installation on a large scale, like all the works exhibited in Forever is Now, which aims to blend into its setting, establishing a dialogue with the monuments at Giza and their 4500-year history. Perfectly in line with the exhibition curators’ theme: "timelessness and the mysteries of an ancient civilization".
Emilio Ferro talked to us about his relationship with light, the raw material of his installations, an element which allows him to "dialogue with the space of the landscape without distorting it, exalting the spirit to create a totalising, out-of-the-ordinary experience". He humbly reports how he felt when, after months of work, he finally stood before the completed installation: "a sense of wonder and a great sense of responsibility, for having had an opportunity to create artistic dialogue in such an iconic place, of such great importance for the history of humanity".
Ferro is known for his lightweight yet monumental works in which he uses light, sound and sculpture to create evocative dream-like settings. Portal of Light is inspired by two important ancient Egyptian papyri: the Book of the Dead and the Amduat, also known as the Book of the Hidden Chamber. The artist puts into practice the voyage of the god Ra on his golden boat, which shines over the living by day and then lights up the world of the dead in the recesses of the earth at night. In his composition, two metal parallelepipeds follow the angle of the three pyramids at Giza: the first contains the lighting unit, generating a powerful beam of light crossing through the second, which is shaped like a portal, extending its beam over hundreds of metres. Along the walk, which is also visible by day thanks to the power of the beam of light and the presence of a pathway drawn in the sand, visitors are accompanied by a soundtrack created for the installation by Emilio Ferro himself by sampling the wind blowing on the Giza Plateau.
Concluding our discussion, Ferro comments on his experience in Egypt inaugurating Forever is Now, reporting that the entire week was an intense experience: "in contact with the public, immersed in the exhibition. One of the most interesting parts of the artistic process was observing how visitors used Portal of Light. I really enjoyed seeing how people let themselves go, how they wondered at my installation and the exhibition as a whole, and had fun with it".
Images credits: Roberto Conte