Humus is the title of Andrea Francolino's solo exhibition, curated by Sergio Risaliti and Luca Puri, which opens to the public at the Museo Novecento in Florence on 25 September 2020 (and runs until 17 December 2020) and speaks to the Europe of the future reunited under a single flag. The project imagines the installation of 28 flags, one for each member state of the European Union, as well as a collective one, which brings together all the nations of a united Europe. On each flag, GPS coordinates allude to the location of each respective parliament, a discreet and unambiguous way of revealing the places in the world where the ruling of the country is decided by men and women, affecting the future of the planet.
The title of the project–Humus–stems from the careful observation of nature and the relationships between European countries. Their cultural identities and desire to be sustainable, uniting them all in a future aimed to the safeguard of the planet. 'Infinite reflections of the "Man versus Nature" rift and relationship–Andrea Francolino explains–accompany my artistic quest, prompting me to observe how provident and careful nature is. Protecting the land from erosion and the processes of desertification, from the sun and violent climatic phenomena, preventing the loss of fertility and humidity, humus is the quintessential and complex result of a laborious cycle made up of the accumulation of organic matter created over time, through many interconnected processes.'
The ecological crisis and the strong efforts that individuals and nations have made to protect the planet are points of reflection for Andrea Francolino, who addresses this issue in the hope of achieving a future united by a common aim of protection: 'In the face of this, all differences of faith, race, culture or provenance disappear, since the Earth is one and the same for everyone.' 'Deprived of all differences, the flags on show will act as the "trait d'union", the love and protection of the place that we all inhabit together: the Earth–the artist adds. This action comes under that part of my research that I call Econcrethic, the fusion of three words: eco, ethical, concrete. This experimentation delves into the process of executing a project not only from the symbolic point of view but also in terms of concrete realisation, thanks to the use of natural materials.'
The creation of a communal, nutrition-rich terrain is at the basis of this research, which annuls all differences between nations, without ever disavowing the cultural, social and anthropic biodiversity that distinguishes them. Francolino's exploration focuses on a specific activity that Nature carries out wisely and cleverly to protect the soil: mulching, the practice of covering the land with organic matter to maintain its humidity, protects it from erosion and preserves its temperature.
'Man, as far as his evolutionary, intelligent and sensitive sides are concerned–adds Francolino–has always watched and imitated nature, using mulching in sustainable agronomic practices, such as permaculture, natural and biodynamic agriculture, but the consequences of the less intelligent evolution have brought him to the brink of a climate crisis, caused by unwise and insensitive misuses and abuses of nature. All of this is the driving force behind the decision to use, asthe basis of the artwork which will be shown at the Museo Novecento, natural and highly symbolic materials: cloth made from raw jute, bamboo and earth powder'.
'The humus that Andrea Francolino forces us to think about–explains the Artistic Director of Museo Novecento, Sergio Risaliti–is the common ground that we share in living and experiencing our being in the world, making use of an almost limitless technological power, even if that power is, unfortunately, often destructive and abusive towards the planet and its inhabitants. The Earth, shared by all of us, erases borders. The defence of "ethnic groups" loses its meaning and function in the face of protecting nature, safeguarding the collective humus. We must therefore learn from Mother Nature how to live harmoniously with entropy and how to accept change. We must think and behave from the perspective of a less violent and catastrophic time, but one that is more natural and cosmic'
The exhibition has been made possible thanks to the contribution of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze and in conjunction with Mazzoleni, London–Turin.
Press release courtesy Mazzoleni.
Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 10
50123 Firenze, Italia