curated by Ginevra d’Oria
In the ancient world, the word “oracle” referred to both a sacred place and a prophecy. Pilgrims went to a given location with questions about unknowns, waiting for the divinity to provide an answer. In Orta San Giulio, the artist created a “place-beyond”, a collection of passages between reality and imaginary dimensions. Not far from the garden of Villa Bossi, a mysterious portal – the Oracle – rises from the waters, begging to be contemplated and questioned from the shore. Spectators wait on a pier, where festive, hand-painted flags serve as banners of halted spells, magical figures, and traces of timeless oracles. The fantastical takes possession of the real, waiting to welcome whoever – or whatever – will pass under the arch seen in the distance.
These works were inspired by the village’s archaic identity, which contains a multitude of narratives and legends. It is said that San Giulio liberated the island from monsters, and that the largest among them took refuge in a cave. Centuries later, in that same cave, a large vertebra appeared, which is still preserved today in the Basilica. As Gianni Rodari’s Il Barone Lamberto tells it, a prophecy helped the protagonist survive on the island, the “Idyll of Orta,” with a mysterious kiss on the Sacred Mount between Friedrich Nietzsche and Lou Salomé. And finally, the island, the stage where many past wars played out, is now the site of a cloistered monastery, a place where silence and mysticism reign.