Paolo Ravalico Scerri: Queen of Europe

  April –
May 2004

Image by Paolo Ravalico Scerri from the exhibition Queen of Europe at Gallery of Photography Ireland, April 15 – May 23 2004.

Curated for the Gallery of Photography by

Vittorio Urbani, Nuova Icona, Venice

Italian artist Paolo Ravalico Scerri’s first show in Ireland includes a 5-screen video intervention called Queen of Europe. This piece was initiated two years ago. Shot inside the park of Miramare Castle in Trieste, it was concluded following a residency of the artist in the Ulster Univeristy at Belfast.

The work stems from an idea about the association and peaceful co-existence of the peoples of Europe. The chief character is an elderly lady, roaming freely in the park of the castle. She is the ‘Queen Mother’, played by Maria Scerri, the artist’s grandmother. For the part of the ‘Queen’, a female voice (Laura Antonaz, soprano) sings, binding together various scenes. Alastair MacLennan (artist from Belfast) plays the ‘King’ and slowly observes. Elena Ravalico, the artist’s niece, takes the role of the ‘Young Queen’. She appears on the site of the greenhouse of the Botanic Gardens in Belfast, suggesting fresh hope for Europe.

In this allusive work, the past and the future are mixed together. Reality and political Utopia overlap… Queen of Europe can be taken as a symbolic journey amidst the memories and dreams of a sovereign or of an old lady. It might also be read as an ironic invitation; an anthem to the Europe which is emerging from the charter of citizens’ rights in the new European Constitution; a plea for, or a fantastical reminder of when the people lived or will live united in a single ‘realm’ respecting the ethnic, religious cultural and sexual difference of individuals…

The show in the Gallery of Photography coincides with Ireland’s Presidency of the EU and the Day of Welcome to new EU states. In parallel, an installation will also take place at the University of Ulster in Belfast over the period April 19th – 23rd.