To wake up the living, to wake up the dead

This project revolves around the Redipuglia War Memorial. Nothing to do with an historical re-enactment but rather a celebration of life, although not completely estranged from the idea of sacrilege. Through a detailed survey made of one video, photographs and installations, the artist brings back to life the bodies of the 100,000 soldiers buried at Redipuglia, one of the largest war memorials in the world, located along the extreme North Eastern strip of Italy where the first World War front used to be and trench warfare was merciless.

For the second show from the “RADICAL” series conceived by Penzo+Fiore at Fondazione Berengo in Venice, upon invitation of Matteo Bergamini, Vanzo presented the project  at Palazzo Cavalli – Franchetti, where visitors are ushered to  the video,  by two photo installations: I Nomi [The names] and Sente [The pre-sents]. Vanzo goes back again to controversial images which become her artistic matter: photographs portraying the fallen soldiers’ first names – I Nomi –  written on their graves. There are thousands of them – too many – to the point that they fall on the ground and on top of each other. Visitors are invited to come closer, browse into the pictures, choose and take with them one with their favourite name.

Between I Nomi and the video, visitors find Sente: a photo-edit of the word “PRESENTE”. Instead of spelling out a roll call, a sinister echo, Sente gives us a warning signal, which calls for everyone’s utmost attention.

To wake up the living, to wake up the dead is a video work made of gravestones, marbles, names and ranks, i.e. the remains of the Third Army headed by Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, the Duke of Aosta, a site where a slow, inquisitive, in-depth cinematic exploration is carried out. A distressing calm endlessly hovers above the graves until a storm breaks in. A heavy metal drummer beats on his instrument performing a relentless solo, his notes loaded with a strong subversive charge evocative of carnage.