|Even without the sun glistening off its white surface the Mountain of Salt couldn't help but dominate the space between the Palazzo Reale and the Duomo.|
Some of the 150 quintals of salt used in Mimmo Paladino's Montagna di Sale had been washed away in a weekend of rain and a few of the horses had toppled. Several bags of the extra 100 quintals of Sicilian salt were being used to make repairs to the installation on the Monday as I walked by.
Though it may not exactly be a "mountain" it is definitely salt - 150 quintals of the finest Sicilian salt. That's 1500 kilos or 1 1/2 tons of salt transported from the mines in Agrigento and Petralia in the far South to Milan in the north - plus another 100 quintals held in reserve to keep the sculpture in good condition. The whole - the transporting from one end of the country to the other, that 150 figure - are all meant to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy that we are celebrating this year.
|Many of the horses look to be struggling, plowing through the salt or emerging from it. Their appearance is strongly reminiscent of sculptures seen in many of the collections of artifacts of earlier Italian civilizations.|
Thirty sculptured horses in black modelled, it would appear, on ancient and primitive equine sculptures stand out against the white salt. Some are balanced on the mound, others are emerging from or disappearing into its depths. In some cases - though the horses are almost uniform in their appearance and featureless - they appear to be struggling against their ascent or fighting to extricate themselves from some saline prison.
When seen against the Gothic spires and arches of the Duomo those horses take on an almost mythical appearance.
I only wish I had the opportunity to see it in full sunshine - I'm sure the impact, both virtually and photographically, would be stunning.
16 giugno - Santi Quirico e Giulitta