From 21 June to 1 September the Museo Nazionale Romano - Palazzo Altemps hosts the second stage of the project by Elisabetta Benassi, EMPIRE, winner of the third edition of the Italian Council (2018), the call set up by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Peripheries (DGAAP) of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities to promote Italian contemporary art worldwide. The EMPIRE project is promoted by the Museo Nazionale Romano in collaboration with the Pontificia Accademia dei Virtuosi al Pantheon.
Through the recovery and transformation of materials and symbols, the work of Elisabetta Benassi examines the relationship between the past and the contemporary era, questioning the condition and the identity of the present. The project EMPIRE forms part of this research right from the very title, which inevitably evokes the vast and complex story of the Roman Empire and its endless political and cultural evolution.
EMPIRE develops in an installation of six thousand terracotta bricks - especially made in Great Britain using black and violet clay by a brickworks located in the Royal Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire - which have been embossed with the name of the work. In addition to these there are two bricks made of a bronze and gold alloy. On a formal level, EMPIRE reflects the basic building element of ancient architecture, the Roman brick, transforming it into an element with new aesthetic potential and meaning.