Title: Erme
Curated by: Bruno Corà
Location: Volume!, Rome [Italy]
Date: 23 March – 25 May 2000


Volume!, Rome

“Herms, blind towers
where silence lives unperturbed
the incipient blackout of werewolves
enamoured of the moon; mad
lovers of that pallor,
awaken!” (Bruno Corà)

There is a palpable air of the sacred in the spaces of VOLUME! modified by Bizhan Bassiri. Upon entering, the visitor is drawn into an ancient narrative within the gallery, where the artist has represented the idea of a path that winds through the emblematic signs of his work – Scudo (Shield), Erme, and Spada (Sword).

The gallery walls, perfectly plastered and whitewashed for the occasion, contrast with the intense blue of the floor. An enormous shield made of iron, graphite and lava stone occupies the right-hand wall of the largest room, leading visitors into a second area where eighteen herms of the same materials await them. Occupying the physical space like a sort of army, they stimulate involvement and a necessary questioning. Such reflections, however, dissolve in the contrasting vision in the final space, where a blinding light reveals a secret, represented by a gleaming bronze sword placed on a pedestal in the centre of the oval corridor, whose walls appear yellow, as if they have absorbed the light of the sculpture.
Bassiri’s entire artistic career has been informed by his experimental approach to materials, especially aluminium, bronze, and lava elements. This experimentation developed out of his desire to express – through sculpture, photographic processes and different painting techniques – the image underlying “magmatic thought”, of which he himself is the manifesto.