Nivola at the Sardinian Regional Council Building 1985/2015
The exhibition retraces the evolution of Costantino Nivola’s last project in Sardinia. It shows the sources of the project’s poetic qualities and the depth of the artist’s civic engagement. In 1985 Nivola was enlisted by Emanuele Sanna, the President of the Sardinian Regional Council, to work on the external spaces of the Regional Council’s new site, which was nearing completion. Collaborating with the building’s architect Pintori and its engineers, Atzeni, Farci, and Diaz, Nivola sought to situate an assortment of his large marble sculptures in a manner that would relate harmoniously with one another, and with their architectural and urban context.
As originally intended, among additional elements, a graffito wall was to be centrally located at the building’s base. Nivola conceived of this mural as homage to a fellow artist and dear friend in his youth, Salvatore Fancello, who had been killed in action as a soldier in the Italian armed forces during the Second World War. The mural’s images, including farm animals and wildlife in the Sardinian countryside, in fact are inspired by those in a work that Fancello had crafted and gifted to Nivola as a wedding present in 1938.
The exhibit displays some concepts that Nivola had originally entertained for the project but that were later discarded. For example, a large sculpture, evoking a maternal form, very Mediterranean in spirit, was to be positioned in a central location amid a bed of live wheat—the latter symbolizing rural fecundity and vitality even amid the project’s urban setting.
Nivola also had envisioned placing half a dozen statues, representing, as it were, petitioners to the administrative offices, along Cagliari’s Via Cavour. The artist’s models for these works (never realized, on account of his untimely death in 1988) are shown in this exhibition for the first time.
As an illuminating supplement when touring the exhibit, visitors can consult signage containing passages from Nivola’s own notes that reflect his thinking about the design of the Regional Council project.
Biography of an Artistic Project
Nivola at the Sardinian Regional Council Building (1985 – 2015)
Exhibition curated by Giuliana Altea and Antonella Camarda
Assistant curator: Davide Mariani
Graphics and installation design: AJF/ – Arch. Jari Franceschetto
Exhibition coordinator: Rita Gatto
Administrative manager: Loretta Ziranu