Milena Altini, slight little lost soul …, 2017
from the cycle “waiting souls – suspension of waiting”, 2016 calfskin and lamb leather, silk cores,
site specific installation, environmental dimensions

Animula vagula blandulaare the verses of a short poem by Emperor Hadrian (76-138), that Marguerite Yourcenar has Hadrian murmur in her 1951 novel ‘Memoirs of Hadrian’. The emperor speaks to his soul as he takes leave of his earthly life and sees his soul drift, vagula, as if lost. He addresses his soul and requests that it listens to the story of his life. Milena Altini’s sculptural group is made up of souls free of guilt, before judgement. In this space these souls are joined to dialogue with Mustafa Sabbagh’s work Hebe vs. Hebe (2017), in a close confrontation between two metaphysical views, between two equally visionary artistic expressions.

The installation thus adds a further chapter of the anthological exhibition of the work of Mustafa Sabbagh that began with his major exhibition at the San Domenico Museum Complex “XI Commandment: You shall not forget”. Milena Altini’s souls are large bulb-like constructions made with strips of skin (calf and lamb) sewn together to create gigantic organisms, elongated mitochondria, ovaries covered with a sheath, a perisperm, like arcane anatomies, the anatomy of souls.

The leather sheath reflects the great theme of Mustafa Sabbagh’s poetics, the protective dermis of creatures, replaced in Hebe vs. Hebe with a black, clayey coating.In the works of Milena Altini, the coating is made of animal skin, a casing of sacred or sacrificial animals, composed and juxtaposed in a sort of grandiose contemporary Lamentation, in which the souls of mothers weep, reflected in the black of their skin.