Ora et Labora

Curated by Irene Panzani
Mercato del Carmine (Lucca)

Bertrand Dezoteux

David Lucchesi

David Paolinetti

Josse Renda

Gözde Mimiko Türkkan

Tatiana Villani 

Five Radio Stations (with Keren Cytter, Benedikt H. Hermannsson, Hylozoic/Desires, Daniel John Jones e Seb Emina, Emeka Ogboh)

Friday, May 3

Doors open

6pm – 8pm

Concert with Senti Tuoni and Stato Brado (Free Entry)

Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5

10.30am-1pm and 2.30pm-7.30pm

Sunday, May 5

10.30am and 11.30am
Workshop for kids with Natur’Arte 

Info and bookings: sofa.lucca@gmail.com

Carmine derives from Carmelo which means vineyard, orchard, or garden. From here the barefoot Carmelites take their name, or rather from Mount Carmel which, in Upper Galilee, was a place of prayer and contemplation. This religious order, mendicant (vow of poverty), worker and aimed at an ascetic practice, had its home in the centre of Lucca, in the monastery which in the 19th century was transformed into a city market. It is interesting how there is a semantic continuity between the ancient inhabitants of this building and the future merchants, both turned to the land, to the gifts of nature, to the cultivation of a garden, of a space made of exchange and sharing, of roots and prayers.

From spiritual quests to the cultural effervescence of a market, today the Carmine takes us back to this story and in continuity with it looks at art as an exploration of human complexity, a reflection both of the relationship with the goods of the earth proper to a fruit and vegetable merchant and the search for meaning that characterises Carmelite spirituality. Between reinterpretation of roots and a past cultural identity, struggle with the land and for the land, imagination that sublimates reality, the exhibition opens up to the stream of thoughts that GIUNGLA has been promoting since 2020.

Bertrand Dezoteux with his watercolours reveals his gaze on the world, brings to life characters who then went on to populate his video works, in which an initial moment of strangeness due to the extreme contemporaneity of the 3D language is followed by a familiarity of the themes addressed, of the characters, within absurd stories, which are our everyday life. The landscapes represented are often deserted, like lunar environments where beings halfway between human and extraterrestrial gradually appear. Watercolor makes the atmosphere nuanced, suspended, yet very powerful, especially when the colours become red and blue.

Once upon a time there was an old goat who had seven little goats and she loved them, as a mother loves her children. One day she had to go into the forest to look for food; she called the seven little ones to her and said: «Dear children, I have to go to the forest, be careful of the wolf, because if he enters, he will eat you with all your skin and hair. The wicked sometimes manages to disguise himself, but you will still recognise him by his hoarse voice and black paws.

—  Brothers Grimm, “The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats”, in Fairy Tales, 1812-1815 (translation by the curator)

David Paolinetti opens us to a reality that seems like a nightmare, black, dark, radical. It starts from the darkness to open up to the reflection of the water, to its changes. Strong features, naïve and brutal figures at the same time that retain a childish side typical of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. In front of the fireplace, the artist draws with charcoal on white sheets, trees and mountains, animals, sometimes colours, emerge like an epiphany. And at the fireplace he burns wood, smokes imagination, tells stories recalling Jean Dubuffet when he stated: «naître du matériau […] se nourrir des inscriptions, des tracés instinctifs» (arise from the material […] feed on inscriptions, on instinctive inclinations).

You [Nature] are the open enemy of men, and of other animals, and of all your works; that now you trap us, now you threaten us, now you attack us, now you sting us, now you strike us, now you tear us, and you always either offend us or persecute us; and that, by custom and by institution, you are the executioner of your own family, of your children and, so to speak, of your blood and your bowels.

— Giacomo Leopardi, “Dialogue of Nature and an Icelander”, in Operette Morali, 1824-1832  (translation by the curator)

Gözde Mimiko Türkkan found herself facing her human fragility in the face of the vastness of the Earth and the desolation caused by the fires that devoured the Aegean coast of southern Turkey in 2022. Anger burns within her at the devastation of the country, anger because, although he is aware that fires are the result of natural cycles, she understands their connection with the Anthropocene era. And so Mimiko fights with the earth, around her a wild and arid nature, but suddenly she hears the rustle of a stream in the distance. The human may also dig graves with her bare hands and move watercourses, but she remains a tiny vulnerable being, the artist seems to be telling us. We can do nothing in the face of nature, unfortunately… fortunately…

Tatiana Villani’s works offer us members without the whole, there are no individuals, but parts of them. Nature presents itself as body, skin, scar, folds of flesh, it takes us back to our being mammals, to our being mortal. The Cartesian ‘cogito ergo sum’ shatters against the imperfections of our heavy, fallen limbs, so low compared to thought. Yet isn’t thinking, imagining, praying, planning, desiring what keeps that body alive? Landscapes of flesh, bonds that are created between us and others, between the soul and the body, between the body and the world, to overcome every division, to reunite in that whole that Maurice Merleau Ponty calls the “flesh of the world” , both in relationships with things and with others.

“With clenched teeth”, “the tongue beats where the tooth hurts”, a selection of paintings by David Lucchesi that becomes a puzzle. The artist plays with the object represented and the words, and painting almost becomes his personal vocabulary, his encyclopaedia of things, facts, people abstracted from the context, a primer of elementary signs, which evoke stories of shadowy colours, not serene, they speak of fragility and uncertain horizons. “I remember as a child my great curiosity in exploring everything that surrounded me (I have always lived in the countryside in the province of Lucca near Lake Massaciuccoli) and what I had at my disposal was a nourished and varied “visual environment” where with a pinch of imagination you can modify it to your liking, letting it reveal the most absurd things both in beauty but also in its naked and raw reality.”

He who gave defeat to the Nobleman is dead, 

He who increased the bread is dead, 

He who brought down the taxes is dead, 

He who raised a Kingdom is dead.

Naples keeps hidden and abandoned 

The one who made it rise to the stars; 

He killed him with the hand of a conspirator 

A frustrated subject baker. 

Which error! This morning we love,

Tonight we hate and there is great war. 

First we honor and then we kill. 

Today he is seen without his head down, 

And he drags himself throughout the city; 

Tomorrow he will be buried at Sosai.

—  Campolieti, p. 211; Gurgo, pp. 108-109 (translated by the curator).

Thomaso Aniello (Masaniello) was the protagonist of the revolt that saw the population of Naples rise up against the tax pressure imposed by the Spanish viceregal government (7 -16 July 1647). In the life of this character it is not always easy to distinguish the events that actually happened from those elaborated by myth. Thus Josse Renda gives him back to us in his image as a peer; we find this humble fisherman and fishmonger born near the city market, remembered as equal to a saint, in the artist’s sincere lines as if he were momentarily the revolutionary, “I am another”.

Masaniello was buried in the Basilica del Carmine until 1799, when Ferdinand IV of Bourbon ordered the dispersion of his remains to erase any memory of the Neapolitan revolution. In 1961, the Carmelite Friars placed a commemorative plaque for the centenary of the Unification of Italy at the place of his burial. Josse Renda gives us a simulacrum, an icon, a tribute, a poem.

Sometimes I’m Alone, Sometimes I’m Not

24 Hours at the End of the World

Our Quake Here Ever Feels

Infraordinary FM

Danfo Radio

Above, the tracks of Five Radio Stations, a project by the Fondation Lab’Bel curated by Silvia Guerra and Seb Emina who invited artists from all over the world to produce sound works with different themes and durations, as many universes, dialogues between earth and sky, prayers transmitted over the airwaves and the internet. In the Carmine Market, sharpen your ears, they could speak to you, presenting you with the ever-new magic of remote presence, of the ghost, of the appearance to our senses of events far from the here and now.

ORA ET LABORA. Pray and work.

A prayer for dialogue, for freedom of expression, for openness to the flow of things and people, to the vitality of an always open market, teeming with people, emotions and voices. For a work that is like that of artists, a work that brings meaning to our lives, enriches those of others, is attentive to the earth because “if you don’t know where you are going, at least know where you come from”, but is not afraid to be radical , to cut at the root what is wrong, what is no longer sincere and becomes a limit to the construction of tomorrow, of a new prayer for the future, which is then an anticipation of the project.

Pater Noster

Our Father who art in heaven

Stay there too

As for us, we will remain on earth

Which is so beautiful sometimes

With all its mysteries of New York

Followed by the mysteries of Paris

Which are worth that of the Holy Trinity

With its small Ourcq canal

And its Great Wall of China

Its river of Morlaix

And his Cambrai candies

With its Pacific Ocean

And its Tuileries basins

With its good children and its bad subjects

With all the amazing wonders of the world

Which are on earth

Offers to everyone


They too are amazed at being such wonders

So much so that they don’t dare confess it to themselves

Like a beautiful naked girl who doesn’t dare show herself

And with all the horrible suffering in the world

Which are legion

With their legionaries

With their retiaries

With the lords and masters of the world

Each master with his preachers, his traitors, his predators

With the seasons

With the years

With the pretty girls and the poor assholes

With the straw of poverty rotting in the steel of the cannons

Jacques Prévert, “Pater noster”, in Paroles, 1945.