Hutt: Dominic Watson – Significant Culture
20 February – 14 March
Preview: 20 February 18:00 – 20:00
Opening times: Thursday – Saturday 12:00 – 17:00
A story of Love, Loss and Betrayal.
“It has often been said that no player is bigger than their team, but rarely has one man come to symbolise a club and a city.”
The true worth and value of public sculpture should belong to no one but the public itself. It seems fitting then that Florence, renowned for immortalising its heroes in stone, should be the site of such a dispute, who’s name should we cast in stone and for how long shall they remain. This mural depicts the story of a statue that sadly no longer exist, erected as a symbol of gratitude and love by La Viola, Fiorentina’s adoring football fans, of a man who served their team for 9 years. The true details of the statues demise are uncertain, all that remains of its legacy is rendered here on the walls in front of you. Using the technique known as Graffito (drilling and scratching holes into a surface of marble and filling it with bitumen) these walls tell the now somewhat mythical story of the statues downfall.
The first wall, positioned directly in front of you as you enter the room, shows us the statue being taken down by La Viola, saddened by their idols departure from Florence, the glorious dream now over, they dismantled the statue, carving its limbs to pieces and distributing them amongst those fans who were most loyal to their idol. Composed as if Christ descending from the cross, the men mourn the loss of their hero, stricken with grief and sadness.
The second wall depicts a much more volatile response, one of betrayal. La Viola enraged by their idols departure to a rival team in Rome, resorted to violence against what was once considered sacred iconography. The massacre of the statue allegedly took place using effigies of a phallic form, a symbol that La Viola thought symbolised the treachery they had felt. Those who could not bring themselves to destroy the stature resorted to a form of self flagellation, striking themselves in the crotch. One can not imagine the pain a person must feel when they resort to punching themselves in the cock.
The final wall, which is possibly the most discreet but bitterest of endings, is one of neglect. Forgotten by La Viola, the statue became a sight of public embarrassment, the legacy left untold for future generations, and his name never to be uttered again within the ancient walls of Florence. Frequented by no more than down and outs, the statue slipped out of the public’s consciousness along with all his successes, an infinite silence, the cruellest of punishments.