The exhibition Santa Maria della Strada, the Madonna by the artist Massimo Sirelli, curated by Stefano Morelli, in collaboration with the Rocco Guglielmo Foundation, opens on May 5th at the MARCA Museum and the Church of San Giovanni di Catanzaro. The figure of Mary is considered to be the very image of the Church itself and has been at the center of the pictorial civilization of the Christian world for two thousand years since its appearance and first “representation” by the Evangelist Luke.
She was, as the curator Stefano Morelli writes “Odidrigia”, She who leads, or “Theotoca”, progenitor of God, in the Byzantine icons of the East, always distant and never removed, and therefore “Mother”, “Queen”, “Advocate”. ’ and ‘Salvation Nostra’ in their European developments, where the face of Mary, with its infinite representations, is encountered everywhere in as many different declensions: in churches, in the streets, in the squares and in the privacy of homes. Comforting and compassionate, it is perhaps the most frequently reproduced subject by artists in our history. Massimo Sirelli’s work is certainly an evolution of the sacred icon, reinterpreted through his time, his personal sensibility, his artistic universe made up of an always eclectic and curious approach to plastic art, without ever turning to the North Star of graffiti art to forget.
The icon “Santa Maria della Strada” created by Sirelli is soft and musical, she shows her heart to the passer-by and welcomes the young man who happens to pass distracted by life. It does not differ in its cheerful iconographic construction from the canonical representations of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, even if the sword to pierce the heart is missing here, and perhaps a representation of conturbation at first glance becomes similar to the Annunciation, in which Mary gives the salute of the Archangel receives. In the background, based on early medieval examples of the Annunciation, we find the Ave Maria broken down, which now receives an urban rhythm from the litany.
The Opera maestra is the result of a project born in 2017 on the stage of the Officine Limone of the Teatro Stabile in Turin, in which, on the occasion of the staging of the “Tosca”, the artist was asked to be reinterpreted in a contemporary key by Mario Acampa, to perform live and to create a representative work of the Madonna during the game. Sirelli then created this symbol live, like a lively scenography, between the songs of the free but also passionate and tormented love between the young Tosca and her beloved Cavaradossi. A pictorial seed that will only sprout after four years, or in 2021, the year in which the work will be completed, exactly one year after the end of the treatment cycle of the disease afflicted by Massimo Sirelli as curator Morelli writes “[…] suddenly alone in the face of his own fragility, and he too finds himself lost.
Lost, like an old man, instead of despairing, he prayed and invoked God, who answered through Mary, who reveals herself to the artist and through the artist to us in a new calm and intimate immediacy. This is how, I believe, miracles, apparitions and mystical manifestations happen: in a humble stillness indistinguishable from the banality of everyday life. The exhibition route follows a two-stage journey. The masterpiece “Oh Lady Mary” in the format 140 × 200 cm can be seen in the Church of San Giovanni. In the Marca Museum, in the permanent collection hall, it will be possible to see another painting on canvas of “Oh Lady Mary” in a smaller size of 100 × 100 together with the preliminary sketches of the same.
“Santa Maria della Strada” is a project of the Rocco Guglielmo Foundation, thanks to the support of the Curia, the Bishop of Catanzaro Maniago and Don Francesco Brancaccio of the Church of San Giovanni, whose chapel will house the artist’s Madonna. Massimo Sirelli – Biography Massimo Sirelli is an Italian artist. Art and Creative Director: curious, versatile and multifaceted. His approach to the visual arts takes place in his youth through graffiti art. Through the perspective of the street, he learns to filter the languages of the metropolis: writing, advertising, street furniture, public transport and waste, everything becomes an environment for him to research and experiment. In 2003 he graduated from the IED in Turin in the Department of Digital and Virtual Design and worked for several years as a freelancer with various communication agencies, working on well-known national and international brands (Alpitour, Rai, Coca Cola, Ferrero, Seven, Fiat, Iveco, etc. .). In 2006 he opened the creative studio Dimomedia and his work has been published in some of the most important graphic and web design books in the world (Taschen, Gestalten, PepinPress). He teaches presentation and portfolio techniques at the IED in Turin and Como.
In 2013, Sirelli launched the AdottaunRobot.com project, the world’s first animal robot adoption house. Little robots orphans of industrial progress and unbridled consumption find their heart and soul through the work and research of the artist who assembles them and tries to give them a new “family”. His works have inspired well-known fashion and product brands: Cirio, Amarelli, Jadis, with which he has created limited edition capsules. He is an Airc ambassador, collaborates with Insuperabili Onlus and is the founder of the “My Calabria is beautiful” project.