The series of the “Elgin Marbles” consists of a body of works created between 2015 and 2016. The sculpture-paintings - made up of wooden prisms with a triangular base variously painted on the three faces and mounted on a steel frame that allows them to rotate on their axis - offer sublime examples of classical Greek sculpture in never-ending interpenetration with terrestrial, aquatic and flying animals. Wondrous fragments of some of the gods of the Greek pantheon (Iris, Lissos, Dionysus, Hermes), together with the Head of Selene horse, stand out “transfigured” on colored backgrounds: metamorphoses of Ovidian memory reinterpreted through the filter of contemporary sentiment that speculates about the principle of “ideal beauty” and the concept of harmony. The topical theme tackled by the artist is reflected in the age-old Anglo-Greek dispute about the return of the famous stone fragments from the east and west pediments of the Parthenon, removed by Lord Elgin in 1816; purchased in 1816 by the British government, and still on display in the British Museum.
In this “fragmented speech”, in which the unity of vision is further split into the multiple faces of the parallelepipeds, the viewer is invited to create his own mythological imagery in which the works of Phidias – a perfect synthesis of balance, composure and proportion - are in symbiosis with the forms of Creation.
Through this playful approach the viewer is invited to create a mythological imagination of his own, where the aesthetic element is profoundly bound to the ethical one, a feature that also characterizes the classical statuary: amazing visual epiphanies that take shape thanks to the dialogue with onlookers and solicit reflection on impelling ecological issues that characterize the era in which we live, such as the conservation of biodiversity and the preservation of natural habitats and animal species related to them.
The strong iconic character of the Parthenon sculptures is unfailingly emphasized by brightly colored backgrounds - compact and vivid - against which the Horse head of the Greek moon goddess stands out, repeated in various different versions: the playful hint to the “pop” silk-screen paintings by Andy Warhol finds an interesting conceptual counterpoint in the medieval art tradition where backgrounds were treated with the old technique of gilding and silvering, a blatant example of how Ancilotto’s art manages to perfectly fit in the fruitful dialogue between tradition and innovation.
The cycle of works at issue - complete with graphics and video materials (preparatory drawings and projections documenting the artist’s work and illustrating her works in their colorful becoming) - is designed for an exhibition to be set up in a museum environment in which the artworks, marked by an interactive character, are supported by explanatory panels designed to highlight the cultural significance of the Greek statues and ideally place them back in their original historical and geographical context.
“Play is the highest form of research”, stated Albert Einstein: to educate people of all ages to a type of differentiated and personal use and at the same time involve them in the aesthetic, sensory and emotional experience of artistic doing is the goal pursued by the Roman artist in proposing the series of “Elgin Marbles”; making topical the past in an unceasing ‘hic et nunc’; the versatility of the works at the same time allows one to experience art in its various declensions and to rediscover the cultural roots of our Western civilization.