Room in Rome - an installation by Franz West in Piazza di Pietra

Room in Rome by Franz West
Rome is already an open air museum where one is left smiling with surprise and wonder at every turn, so it follows that its squares and open spaces should lend themselves so well to temporary art installations and exhibits. Piazza di Pietra, where the imposing columns of a Roman temple built to Emperor Hadrian were incorporated into the central Customs Office under architect Carlo Fontana at the end of the 17th Century, is the setting for the first public installation in Italy by Austrian artist Franz West. Entitled Room in Rome, the sculptural installation is constructed in aluminium panels, soldered together in a patchwork effect to form three monumental forms, then lacquered in colours familiar to anybody living in Rome – sky blue, and shades of orange and pink used to tint the local intonaco or plaster.

Sitting on a raised plinth, the pieces appear as if on a stage set, although the audience is explicitly invited to climb up and interact with the installation and even sit on the scupltures breaking the “Do Not Touch” taboo! Certainly, when I visited Piazza di Pietra yesterday afternoon on a gloriously sunny day, a couple was sitting in the crook of an elbow-like shape, children were playing in and around the structures and the entire installation was exciting considerable curiosity.

Room in Rome by Franz West at Piazza di Pietra is presented in conjunction with an exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, Rome and continues until October 16, 2010.