Rome has lots of graffiti. Tons of it. Way too much of it. Well, now, someone is going to be power-washing a bit of it.... a tiny bit... around stenciled, shadowy images formed by the grime and graffiti left behind.
South African artist, William Kentridge (Huh? Not an Italian?) is going to power-wash his 1800 foot work of art onto the walls of the Tiber River in Rome. The frieze will stretch from Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini. His work involves placing stencils onto the filthy, graffitied stone walls and power-washing the stone around the stencils--the stencils will be removed, revealing a ghostly silhouette of each image underneath. His concept (he dubbed Reverse Graffiti) is that the imagery will eventually become dirty and covered with graffiti over time and blend back into the ancient stone walls which prevent the Tiber from flooding over its banks.
The project entitled Triumphs and Laments, is sponsored by Tevereterno, an organization working to clean up and revitalize the Rome river walk.
Even though Kentridge isn't a Roman, his work smacks one in the face with his gritty style and images of pain, valor, bravery, banality, joy, war and religion--all part of Rome's history and contradictions.
If you want to see the work, it will be revealed on Rome’s 2,769th birthday on April 21st. I hope they have enough candles for the cake!
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