Two artworks in comparison
September 13, 2017 | Blog

Island of Paradise

by Alan Sonfist


Plinths for Living Statues

by Carlo Scoccianti


The first meeting between Carlo Scoccianti and Alan Sonfist took place in 2010. Soon a mutual understanding was born, due to their will to give voice with artistic act to their common feeling for nature. Sonfist, one of the fathers of the Land art movement, has reworked the theme of the fragility of nature during his long career through his artistic research - starting with his famous environmental sculpture “Time Landscape”, created in New York in 1965.

Scoccianti, a biologist and activist in the defence of natural habitats, he is an expert in the conservation of “wetlands” and in the reconstruction of natural environments that arise from a deep awareness of the evolution of living forms in order to tend, in the light of renewed sensibilities, towards the definition of real works of art.

Hence this mutual understanding became true friendship, especially when Sonfist was invited to visit the territorial works created, year by year, by Scoccianti in the surrounding of Florence, with specific reference to the wetlands landscapes and their typical flora and fauna. Today the two authors, although coming from very different experiences, have decided to confront each other through the realization of two artworks that are placed within the same area, in dialogue with each other. The two artworks express a common propensity to reflect on environmental issues. Their comparison is based on the use of the same material, iron, and on the fact that the two works are both placed in the water, on which they will float. These structures, which are also located within these flooded areas, have a function of aid for aquatic birds. 

The identified area for “Island of Paradise” and “Plinths for Living Statues” has been chosen by Carlo Scoccianti a few kilometers to the west of Florence, in Signa, where the stream Bisenzio flows into the river Arno.

While Sonfist’s artwork finds its place within a newly formed lake, located in the areas where the extraction activity is still in progress, that of Scoccianti is part of a wider intervention, on which the biologist himself had intervened, operating from 2000 to 2006 one of his first environmental works, one of the interventions that Scoccianti calls “Work-Sites”, entitled “Cingersi d’acqua” (Enclosing with Water). The intervention gave shape to the lake itself, which today begins to house its new “Work-Element” titled  “Plinths for Living Statues”, in an artistic act that today transforms the whole place, a destination already for numerous visits inside the Parco dei Renai of Signa.

After the first flotation and final placement tests, the two artworks are becoming part of the environment in which they were placed. The final inauguration will take place in 2018.


More information can be found in the press kit


Photographs (from the top down):

- Carlo Scoccianti 'Plinths for Living Statues' (Photograph Peppe Maisto)

- A moment of the dialogue between Carlo Scoccianti and Alan Sonfist during the event (Photograph Lisa Bencivenni)

- Alan Sonfist 'Island of Paradise' (Photograph Peppe Maisto)