The Palermo Project is composed of two oeuvres: Wave of Memory and Stories of the Sea. Wave of Memory is a wall of symbols of civilization destined for the Falcone-Borsellino Airport in Palermo, Italy. Unlike the stable grid of Adelfio's other Memory Walls, the Palermo Project is in the shape of a wave, expressing the disruption and dynamism of immigration. The symbols represent people's contributions to the world (amphoras, boats, books, columns, and houses), all made from cast glass.
Stories of the Sea is a platform filled with flooded books in a wave pattern forming a sea. The predominant theme in this work is that every immigrant, every person, has an important story to tell that lasts beyond the temporal nature of his or her life on earth.
Stories of the Sea, Virginia Wesleyan University, 2017
Luisa Adelfio's sculpture in cast glass interrogates the power of objects, derived through the meaning that humans give to them throughout life. The work alludes to the magnitude of cultural contributions made by science, literature, and art. Glass is the perfect vehicle for the ideas expressed in Adelfio's work. Its hardness represents the permanence of cultural contributions, and its transparency the intellectual and spiritual nature of thoughts and ideas.
Memory Walls, 2016-2018
Glass on wood panel
Luisa Adelfio's Memory Wallsare collections of symbols inspired by the deep personal and cultural memories that crystallize within our souls throughout our lives. Made of cast glass, the symbols are at once solid and ethereal; strong and transparent.
The symbols are literary, personal, and cultural, based on a Jungian notion that memories are formed within the context of our native and extended families and begin there before we are even born. Cultural memories refer to symbols in the artistic contributions (art, architecture, literature) in the physical world that surrounds us. They are filtered through our eyes, thoughts, and hearts, and take hold inside of us.
3ft x 3ft (92cm x 92cm)
Slover Library Public Installation, 3ft x 5ft (92cm x 152cm)
Innocent Objects, 2017
Glass, wax, gold leaf
Innocent Objects interrogates the power of objects, derived through the meaning that humans give to them throughout life. The sculptures allude to cultural contributions made by literature and architecture. The use of glass symbolizes through its hardness the permanence of artistic contributions, and through its transparency their intellectual and spiritual form.
Ascent, 2017. Plaster, beeswax, torched and cast glass.
Structure, 2017. Cast glass and gold leaf.
"Structure" is a mysterious, hollow architectural structure-simultaneously domestic and fortress-like-in tones of translucent white and gray glass with hints of gold leaf. At once solid and ephemeral, it seems to silently reverberate with narratives: past and present, personal and epic, historical and mythological." Betsy di Julio, Veer Magazine, 2017.
Collective Memory, 2015
Paper and ink
Collective Memory is a collection of work that combines architecture, literature, drawing, science, and sculpture. The columnsrepresent a connection to other populations and people through major works of art. This is fundamental to the continuum of cultural patrimony. Not only is architecture beautiful, but the buildings are imbued with the spirits of those who lived, worked, and worshipped there. Literature is not just a story, but a connection to the commonality of our life on earth as human beings, no matter where and when we live and work. Art is the pillar of our humanity; without it, we collapse.
The aspect of artistic heritage that has a powerful magnetic pull for me personally is more ethereal. It is the collective unconscious, present in the abstract in the form of thought and energy, but made more concrete through the gifts left by the artists, architects, authors, and poets throughout history.
This collective unconscious, recorded in artistic achievements, creates a connection to other times and cultures and takes us out of our current time/space reality. My large installations are loosely based on the Greek temples of Sicily. Each column that I construct shows reverence to the great writers, thinkers, and artists that have lived before us and reminds us not only of our connection to them, but of our own potential in our version of the present.
The columns range from 6–12 feet in height. They are constructed with heavy printmakers’ paper. After the paper is cut, I copy passages from the words of the chosen artist, author, architect, or philosopher with an ink pen, sharpie, or sepia ink. This process is very liberal, with license given to the accidents of ink spills and smudges. At this point, I sometimes add symbols overlaying the writing. Here I use a variety of media including collage, watercolor, pencil, or ink. When the writing and drawing are complete, I brush encaustic over the entire surface of the piece. This process, historically used in painting, laminates and protects the paper and also adds a third intriguing dimension to the surface of the piece. I then wrap the paper around a core (from the Latin, cuore, heart) to erect a column. Finally, I tie the column with wire, string, or rope both to hold the piece and to add contrast and visual stimulus to it. They are at once contemporary and classical.
Memory Wall I and Memory Wall II take symbols from my own Italian Mediterranean ancestry. Cast in glass, the components are repeated, just as in our own memories and dreams, certain objects are repeated. While different symbols are significant for different people, they are always rooted in the place and time and values of our education. Hence, while individually meaningful, they are always also a part of our Collective Memory.
Luisa Adelfio | Collective Memory Exhibit | The Slover Library