Title: La Battaglia
Curated by: Fabio De Chirico and Bruno Corà
Location: Museo di Palazzo Vecchio – Salone dei Cinquecento, Florence [Italy]
Date: 26 March – 6 April 2014
The Salone dei Cinquecento of Palazzo Vecchio opens once again to contemporary art with La Battaglia, a monumental work by Bassiri displayed at the far end of the Hall, surrounded by Vasari’s mural of famous battles fought by Cosimo I. The five-by-three-metre composition is painterly and sculptural at the same time, portraying what remains at the end of a battle, a sort of ashen, apocalyptic scene with figures resembling skeletons and phantoms.
“There on high, the sword in hand, the lance, the mantle, the throng, the fury, burning with unavoidable ferocity. The colours, the raised hooves, the dust settling upon the fallen limbs. Giving an ear, one hears not so much the cries of the soldiers as the blows, gasps, and truncated notes of a symphony of death ‘in fulfilment’ of their destiny as in the fulfilment of their duty ‘against enemies and tyrants’: hymn to valour and a celebration of ‘libertas’.
Hanging from a raised structure that also serves as a frame, Bizhan Bassiri’s Battaglia 2014 is a discovery that emerges little by little, that goes transparent amd commands silence – the quiet of the sidereal distance of the events and their grey, ferrous mission, stinking of sulphur. Bizhan’s battle beautifully portrays not the victors but the vanquished, through whom he represents the inevitable sense of time that has never been because it is always time to give battle. To nourish the crater, to tread upon the ashes, to go beyond, or elsewhere.” (Guelfo Guelfi)