Homo Algus

Strange primordial figures, half human and half vegetal, emerge from the mud of the swamp… They may appear disturbing at first, but in truth they do nothing but observe us, half hidden among the vegetation. Their motionless faces, tinged with sadness, seem to spy on our movements: we are the intruders, the real danger, the offspring who have disowned their origins, we are those who have violated, spoiled and worn out nature.
These hieratic creatures, on the other hand, live with the rhythm of the tides; the wind dries and cracks their muddy skin, but does not affect their calm balance — that serenity which only belongs to those who have accepted the fluid pulsations of time.

They are the work of the French sculptor and artist Sophie Prestigiacomo.
Living near the brackish marshes that make up the Réserve Naturelle des Marais de Séné, in Brittany, one of her passions has always been to go into the swamp, walking along creaking wooden bridges, watching the landscape change with the ebb and flow of the tides that cyclically submerge part of the land.

During one of these excursions, as Sophie recounts, a fateful encounter took place: her encounter with an alga.

Having noticed that the texture of this seaweed resembled that of human skin, and that if left to dry it assumed the consistency of fabric, Sophie realized the ductility that this material could have in the artistic field.

Apart from the metal armor that keeps the desired position, Sophie Prestigiacomo’s Homo algus are sculpted solely with mud and algae. A type of ephemeral art, which natural elements continuously affect and modify. The artist occasionally does some restoration work, when the sculptures are falling apart; but their ultimate fate is to wear out completely, sooner or later.

Initially there were only two Homo algus. Intrigued and reassured by the welcome given to these first two ambassadors, other beings of algae and mud have begun to emerge from the stagnant waters, perhaps convinced that there may still be a relationship tie with this awkward primate called Man.

Thanks to the interest of the curator of the Nature Reserve, and to a crowdfunding campaign, today the swamp feature about ten sculptures.

Sophie Prestigiacomo is still in love with the marsh, and the way it transforms. She often returns to visit her creatures, which change from morning to evening, depending on the rains, winds, humidity: as vulnerable and sensitive as the ecosystem they are part of.

They just wait for someone to walk along the path, between the tidal flats and the marshes, to whisper in tune with the breeze that comes from the immense ocean: remember, human, that this landscape is yours, as you belong to it.

(Thanks, Roger!)

7 comments to Homo Algus

  1. Giusi Ganci says:

    Grazie sempre per aprire una finestra di conoscenza in più! Personalmente queste figure evocano un’umanita’ anziché primordiale piuttosto post – sfruttamento della terra. Raminga, affamata, scoperta alle intemperie, disorientata e afflitta dal senso di colpa per avere distrutto l’Eden donatoci… Fondamentalmente nella lettura e comprensione di qualsiasi opera d’arte, al di là dell’intento dell’artista, contribuisce un’appropriazione della stessa imprescindibile dal proprio vissuto, la propria sensibilità e forse dalle proprie paure. Lo confesso, questo è il mio incubo.

    • bizzarrobazar says:

      Personalmente trovo più poetico vedere in queste figure la metafora della connessione dell’uomo con la terra, con il fango adamitico, piuttosto che pensarle come una più classica visione post-apocalittica. Però certo, ogni lettura è legittima. 🙂

  2. Chiara says:

    Trovo sempre interessanti le sculture e le installazioni site-specific, soprattutto quando si trattano contesti naturali e gli artisti rendono le proprie opere parte del contesto, quasi come se guardandole riuscissero a dare l’impressione di essere sempre state lì… Trovo molto toccante questo loro modificarsi e invecchiare con la natura che le circonda, è un bel messaggio! Fa quasi percepire che noi siamo come loro, sempre in continuo mutamento…

  3. paolo tosi says:

    conoscete Swamp Thing l’uomo della palude? è un fumetto americano della Dc comics…queste “sculture” mi hanno ricordato questo.grazie Ivan

    • bizzarrobazar says:

      Certo. Tra l’altro di recente ne hanno tratto anche una serie TV, subito cancellata e tutto sommato mediocre; l’ho guardata solo perché sono innamorato perso della Louisiana. 🙂

  4. Stefano says:

    In qualche modo mi ricordano il Parco Sella a Malga Costa in Trentino, vicino a Levico Terme. Consiglio a quanti non lo avessero visto…..

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