The Venus of Rags returns to Naples


The Venus of Rags returns to Naples

The Venus of Rags, a work by the master Michelangelo Pistoletto, has returned to Piazza Municipio in Naples after last July 12th when a young man with mental problems, Simone Isaia, set fire to the work. The new Venus, donated by the artist to the city of Naples, was created from the ashes of the previous one and is in fact “supported” by the wreck that survived the flames. The work therefore aims more than ever to be a symbol of resistance, hope and rebirth.

“Today is a moment of even symbolic rebirth – said the mayor, Gaetano Manfredi -: Venus is reborn after this story which makes us understand the many conflicts we experience in our society and to which we must respond”. The Venus will remain in Piazza Municipio for three months before being definitively placed, at the end of the necessary technical checks, in the church of San Pietro ad Arem, thus enriching the city's cultural offering. To protect the new Venus, 24-hour surveillance is foreseen.

“I am very happy with this rebirth because the Venus is truly a work made to revive society – underlined Pistoletto – and is dedicated to the regeneration of rags that represent degradation, the maximum negative tension in society while the Venus represents beauty which will never cease to exist and which must transform rags into something new.” And in reference to Simone Isaia, now in prison for the fire, the teacher said he was ready “to embrace him. He is an individual who suffers and who made that gesture out of suffering and I believe he should find relief”. The creation of the new Venus was paid for by the Pistoletto Foundation, while – as highlighted by Vincenzo Trione, advisor to the mayor for contemporary art -, “the administration is only responsible for the expenditure for supervision and this donation from the master is an important signal for the city”.

After the fire last July, the 'L'Altra Napoli' association had launched a crowdfunding campaign welcomed by the Municipality and which had received the support of the citizens but, following the desire of maestro Pistoletto to take charge of the new realization to be donated to the city, it was decided to allocate the funds raised to the 'Lazzarelle' social cooperative, which deals with projects for the reintegration of prisoners into work, and to the 'La Scintilla' association, committed to helping people with intellectual disabilities. On the occasion of the inauguration, Father Antonio Loffredo made it known that “it is Archbishop Battaglia's dream to reopen some of the churches in Naples which are currently closed and entrusted to young people who can tell about them and a further dream is that among those young people there could also be Simone “.

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