Mimmo Paladino | Brian Eno: a work for the Ara Pacis

Opera per l??Ara Pacis. Mimmo Paladino | Brian Eno
11/03 - 01/06/2008
Museo dell'Ara Pacis

This event, which could well be described as long-awaited, is the second time that these two indisputably important contributors to contemporary culture have worked together; the first being almost ten years ago in 1999 at London’s “Round House”.

Brian Eno – "a non-musician kind of musician” as he likes to describe himself, is the man behind “Generative Music”, the precursor to New Age music, as well as a video-artist, sculptor, artist, and music philosopher who is also a more than capable player of a variety of musical instruments. Mimmo Paladino took part in the 1980 Venice Biennale in Achille Bonito Oliva’s “Open’80” section and is one of the best known exponents of the “Transavanguardia” art form. In 2003, to coincide with Italy’s Presidency of the EU in Brussels, he was chosen to represent Italian art and in 2005 he came up with the idea for full-length film “El Quijote” which he also directed.
The two men have put their heads and combined talents together and come up with a unique work designed to fits the spaces inside the Ara Pacis Museum, which has, in less than two years since its inauguration, become one of the Capital’s most visited sites.
And that is not all – the museum is the first piece of contemporary architecture to appear in the historic centre of Rome since the 1940s, which is another good reason, besides its strategic position and fascinating combination of ancient and modern, that the Ara Pacis Museum is the perfect venue to host a contemporary arts event as prestigious as this latest collaboration between Brian Eno and Mimmo Paladino.
In his “Ara Artis” essay, which will feature in the exhibition catalogue (published by Gli Ori, Prato), Achille Bonito Oliva writes “There is a sort of complementary sensibility that Paladino and Brian Eno elicit in each other – the one brings along all the traditions of the west starting with early Longobard then Gothic and Baroque sculpture and onwards through the ages, whilst the other, for his part, contributes a sensitivity linked to a musical journey that ends with a traditional eastern sound. The end result is that this mesh of East meets West has the capacity to break down the image that the music is projecting, which in turn means the sound becomes tangible within the iconography”.
For his part in the Ara Pacis work, Mimmo Paladino “brands” the surfaces with his artwork, so full of influences from the past, providing the observer with a new perspective from which to compare Richard Meier’s architecture and the monumental aspects of the Ara Pacis. The large circular sculpture is a case in point; a steel ring that frames the Altar and which is, along with the monument itself, visible from the Lungotevere (riverside). The lower exhibition floor has other elements of the “work”: a tree-like outline that is being rained on by a magician’s cylinder and fragments of human bodies that balance each other out; simple charcoal drawings executed in the stylised manner so typical of the artist; a 35 meter long “train” not unlike an ossuary made of anthropomorphic shapes of iron and terracotta; in the centre of the room, there is a niche with a human figure in bronze that has branches growing out of its back whilst the inner walls of this central area are frescoed with crosses and other geometric shapes in red on a white background . But there is even more for visitors to see too. For his part, Brian Eno wanted to create a musical background that has no words, no melody, no rhythm and never plays over in exactly the same way twice. The music and sounds he produces are a long way from being a mere soundtrack that runs behind Paladino’s sculptures and artwork but are rather something that is completely separate from them and yet somehow also strongly connected to them. Unlike classical music, where the sounds are organised in a precise pattern, Eno works with musical values that waft through the air independently of each other.
The starting point for both Eno and Paladino is the concept of deconstructing their work and repeating modules that typify their creative inspiration. By stretching and flattening single sounds or themes and putting all the pieces together the two artists manage to obtain a harmonious whole.


Museo dell'Ara Pacis
Opening hours

tuesday - sunday 9.00am - 7.00pm
The ticket office closes an hour in advance.

Entrance ticket

€ 6,50 ordinary;
€ 4,50 reduced;
Tickets and reservation


060608 (every day 9.00am - 10.30pm)

Exhibition|Contemporary art
Other information

supported by Assessorato alle Politiche Culturali del Comune di Roma

Web site
Zètema Progetto Cultura are responsible for implementing Valentina Bonomo’s design project
Sponsored by

BNL - Gruppo BNP PARIBAS, Banca di Roma - Unicredit Group, Monte dei Paschi di Siena - Gruppo MPS, Vodafone

With technical contributions from

La Repubblica

Brian Eno, Mimmo Paladino
Achille Bonito Oliva, Federica Pirani e James Putnam


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