In early 2020, at the invitation of Fondazione ICA Milano and Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters, Simone Fattal visited the Archaeological Park of Pompeii in order to study in person the site and the archaeological storages – a research that later led to the reflections and the sculptural representations of A breeze over the Mediterranean, her first solo show in Italy, at Fondazione ICA Milano. The exhibition included several works realized in ceramic, created by Fattal in 2021 in Italy, at the renowned Officine Gatti of Faenza. One of her sculptures – Hermes (2021), directly inspired by the artist’s field trip to Pompeii – was acquired by the Archaeological Park, becoming one of the founding works of Collectio.
Fattal observed the universal history and the multiple individual stories of Pompeii, taking inspiration from the Pompeian artefacts and their cultural, religious, social and historical archetypes. The artist is interested in their interconnected existence between the mineral, vegetal and animal elements, of which they were originally composed, and the cultural functions they covered before becoming fragments in which any distinction between life and death, myth and history, natural and cultural, human and non-human vanishes.
Fattal’s ceramics, including Hermes (2021), evoke a palimpsest where the multiple meanings and the possible interpretations correspond to an archetype in which the different Mediterranean cultures coexist, merging with each other and with their ecosystem, fixed in an apparent eternal present available to our gaze. In her works, the artist draws forms out of natural and living matter such as clay – forms that evoke the union between the carnal and mystical dimensions, reality and imagination. Fattal shapes figures that return the deepest intimacy of our feelings and thoughts connecting them to both historical and cultural dimensions to express the value and, at the same time, the care and fragility of human life.
Simone Fattal (Damasco, 1942. Lives and works in Paris)
Text from the introduction of Simone Fattal’s POMPEII COMMITMENT 05, by Stella Bottai and Andrea Viliani.