21-22-23-24 june

Gilda presents a double event on the occasion of the summer solstice, in order to celebrate with art the moment that marks the passage to the new season, among ancient beliefs and contemporary languages. The first event will be held on the evening of 21 June in private (by invitation only) and will host an investigation of movement and body, of sound and light, of image at the border between reality and unreality, thanks to the site-specific installation by Francesca Manetta, accompanied by the sculptures by Annalù Boeretto and by three coreographed moves by Diego Tortelli, with sound installations by Francesco Sacco. The second event, open to the public, will last three days, from 22 to 24 June, and will host two video productions specially made for the occasion by Alejandro Ferrante.

In astronomical terms, the sun, in its apparent motion along the ecliptic line, raches its maximum positive declination value, thus starting the northern hemisphere summer and the southern hemisphere winter. This phenomenon delays approximately six hours every year, realigning itself every four years, on the occasion of a leap year, explicitly introduced to rectify the problem of the drifting apart of seasons from calendar. In the northern hemisphere, at local noon the sun reaches the maximum height on the horizon for that latitude (unlike during the winter solstice). However, if on 21 June the sun shines with the most hours of daylight, its fall also begins in the same day. The word Solstice itself, (from the Latin, solstitium, composed by sol-, “sun”, and -sistere, “to stop”) reminds how the sun seems to linger in that position before starting again on its downward path. This duality, the cyclicality of seasons linked to the event, the several symbolic meanings comprised in and expressed throughout the motion of the planets and the energy flow associated with them, have raised since ancient times the wish to celebrate the solstice with very similar rituals and traditions. This shows that the mystery of the repetitive occurrence of the identical, of life renewal and regeneration, has spoken to the ancient man in a language well understood also by the modern man, still able to wonder beyond any scientific explanation.

Gilda Contemporary Art casts therefore an eye through the work of the artist Francesca Manetta, who carried out the site-specific installation “Giardini Allegorici, Cap. III: Sol Stat (Allegorical Gardens, Ch. III: Sol Stat)”, in which she celebrates the metaphysical environment linked to the solstice. According to many ancient beliefs, on this occasion supernatural powers go forward, and gates (or doors) towards the kingdom of water, the moon and the Great Mother open up. The sun represents the male element, the world of consciousness and reason, while intuition and unconscious belong to the moon. The Sun, symbol of divine fire, enters the constellation Cancer, symbol of water and ruled by the moon; the union between the polarities of these two planets causes the time merging of dream and reality. The moon goes under the Sun control, while fire and water become purifying elements for ceremonies that require an immersion in rivers or lakes, or a campfire in the mountains. The Roman two-faced God, warden of doordsteps and getaways, for a reason holds a key (water) and a stick (fire) in his hand. Some days after the summer soltice (on 24 June) Catholics celebrate the nativity of Saint John the Baptist, who christened Jesus; fire is one of his attributes. Last but not least, the Druids celebrate the thriumph of “Oiw”, the life force personified by the King Oak (the tree that represents the power of Earth), crowned for a reason on the evening of 21 June; Francesca Manetta had already gotten closer to this tradition – together with the tradition of the King Deer – when working on the first chapter of her Allegorical Gardens.

In a close dialogue with Francesca’s work, “Heliantus”, the performance by Diego Tortelli, divided into in three steps interpreted by Vanessa Loi, Anita Lorusso and Giuseppe Morello, with the music direction and sound installations by Francesco Sacco will enliven the gallery space of Gilda Contemporary Art. By drawing on the myth of nymph Clytie, who fell in love with Apollo, the god of Sun, and was transformed into the turnsole (from the Greek, “helios”, sun, and “anthos”, flower), the investigation on gestures through the dancer bodies won’t be aimed at a narrative intention, on the contrary, at an experience intention, according to the artistic research by the choreographer Diego Tortelli, who by means of the abstract movement is able to send equivocal messages. Unique and unrepeatable is instead the opportunity to take part to the likewise site-specific, good luck ritual of contemporary dance, designed according to a real journey of initiation divided into three sections to a crescendo. From dark to light, from physical and metaphysical darkness of winter towards the summer light of solstice, the viewer will be invited to interact with the suggestions of the installation by Francesco Sacco, which proposes an unusual sound enjoyment.

By going through the sanctity of ancient rites linked to plants and herbs with healing or divination properties, such as the mistletoe or the stalk of wheat -symbol of fertility and attribute of Persephone and of the Goddess Mother- the circularity and the blur of the seasons will be honoured by means of instruments and languages of the contemporary art.

Gilda Contemporary Art does not wish to let the ‘after’ experience unfinished, nor to let forces and energies that become absence and then presence half-completed, since they let a trace of their passing in the places where they appeared. This is why the gallery will remain open to the public with the same staging for three days after the solstice: 22, 23 and 24 June. The visitors will have the opportunity to see the gallery and admire the installation by Francesca Manetta in the first room, accompanied by the sculptures by Annalù Boeretto “N.E.S.T.” (Never Ending Summer Tree). Her tribute to the universal archetype of existence, the tree of life, is made of fiberglass, paper, roots and inks, bonsai-style, miniature shrubs kept small on purpose by means of branch- and root trimming. In the second room, the sound installation by Francesco Sacco will go hand in hand with one of the two video productions curated by the versatile artist Alejandro Ferrante. This in particular will witness the mood of the dancers at the end of their performance, in the breathing space, in their intimacy, in a dimension closed to the viewer itself and for this reason, in its way, unique and unrepeatable. In a timeless space, so to speak, in a non-descriptive, but emotional tale, the Midsummer’s Eve by Gilda will reach its climax thanks to the interaction of different contemporary artistic forms with which the visitors can relate to in order to wonder about the riddle of life and its cyclicality.

Laura Luppi


Summer Solstice

A summoning of summer curated by Cristina Gilda Artese

Presentation text by Laura Luppi

Wednesday 21 June from 7 pm –  Gilda Contemporary Art via San Maurilio 14 Milano –

by invitation only

After the Solstice: the traces

22-23 June from 10 am to 7 pm and Saturday 24 June from 10 am to 1 pm

Open to the public

Photogallery dell’happening