Book as Relic: Janus Code, Michele Ciacciofera

Michele Ciacciofera’s installation Janus Code (2016-17) is a collection of artefacts that resembles a dreamlike museum exhibit. Apart from the occasional concrete items (a butterfly, seeds, a stone), many are handmade, created with unexpected materials to resemble familiar-looking objects and displayed like anthropological specimens.

Michele Ciacciofera - Janus Code
Michele Ciacciofera – Janus Code. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

The motif of the book reoccurs again and again; we see book-like sculptures wrapped in wool, page-like panels of a dyptich and open volumes containing seemingly-symbolic relics.

Michele Ciacciofera - Janus Code
Michele Ciacciofera – Janus Code. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

The lightness of the installation gives the artwork a sketch-like quality, as if we are seeing the trace of a collection, like the frail, but recognisable skin left behind by a snake.

Michele Ciacciofera - Janus Code
Michele Ciacciofera – Janus Code. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

The title of the work comes from the Sardinian folk legend Domus de Janas, about witches or fairies who inhabited the island before humans and the book-like structures refer to the leggenda del Sardus Pater which recounts the origin of the Janas.

Michele Ciacciofera - Janus Code
Michele Ciacciofera – Janus Code. Image © Chris Gibson, 2017

Seen in this way the artist’s light-touch plays on the mythical element of the story and the repeated use of books gives the work a sense of authority and gravity.

 


Further Reading:

Viva Arte Viva: 57th International Art Exhibition La Biennale Di VeneziaPaperback by Christine Macel, Rizzoli  International Publications, 2017