Caracalla, a Contemporary Paradise



ROME – Baths of Caracalla, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, in collaboration with Cittadellarte and RAM radioartemobile will host a quite exceptional event: the  Nuovo Segno d’Infinito (The New Sign of Infinity) and represent that age-old conjunction between what we have  been, what we are and what we will be.  The occasion will also see the opening of the Mithraeum, long since closed to the public.

The Third Paradise is one of the best known signs of Michelangelo Pistoletto, the rewriting of endless times, the sign of infinity, where instead of two, they form three circles. The third circle is the result of the joint of between the first and second Heaven”, in the words of the artist himself, the moment of Union and of new-found harmony between the natural and the artificial world. A dimension in which the man has found himself completely immersed, to become a prisoner of its own artifacts.

A real artificial world – he suggests – who, with exponential progression, pollutes and corrupts, corrodes the natural planet by creating irreversible processes of extinction. The danger of a tragic collision between these two spheres has now announced anyway. The third paradise project consists in conducting the artifice, namely Science, technology, art, culture and politics to return life to the Earth. Third paradise signifies the passage to a new level of planetary civilization, essential for ensuring to mankind its own survival. The third paradise is the new myth that leads everyone to take personal responsibility in this momentous juncture.”

After composing his Third Paradise in several places of the Bel Paese (archaeological parks, squares, monuments, unusual places) and have it made with the most diverse materials (from recovered appliances to rags), Pistoletto returns to his symbol (and since installing symbol has always an extraordinary evocative strength) the archaic dimension and rebuilds with the same archaeological finds that have littered the area of Caracalla.

Achille Bonito Oliva, curator of the event, says: “the Third Paradise of Michelangelo Pistoletto at the Baths of Caracalla marks the coming together of the great history and contemporary art. In the mythical archaeology of the artist has inscribed the sign of the third paradise using as materials that finds originate from an antiquity still present. Evidence of a sign-archetype that designs the past, reducing each historical distance, addresses the present and future rides with a project in which art becomes responsible for the destiny of the whole society. The work finds its expansion and the radiation in the radio web of RAM radioartemobile.

The found Mithraeum

The long restoration campaign ended, the mithraeum of the baths of Caracalla has just been returned to the public after 10 years of closure. Is this the main meeting places of the followers of the cult of the god Mithras found in Rome: 25 m long, 10 m wide, centered on the pit sanguinis, a rectangular 2.5 meters deep hole was drilled the bull sacrifice.

With the restoration of the pit was protected and secured, thoroughly cleansed all the plaster in the House, including the fresco of Mithra, that already in ancient times with the advent of Christianity had had cancellations; He was later freed from mud mosaic geometric designs in black and white that decorates the floor; was cleaned up the petra genetrix, marble relief from which was to get a bust of Mitre, and on which is recognizable, among the rocks, a snake.

Reset the shells, and with a new lighting system, the mithraeum returns to convey to contemporaries the sense of magic that was to be accompanied to the mystery cults. “With the reopening to the public of the mithraeum, which will be completed soon since the opening of the Thermarium underground, never opened so far, will double the itinerary of the monument, now open in almost all its parts, completing the rebirth,” Announces Mariarosaria Barbera, Superintendent for archaeological heritage of Rome. The mithraeum visits are possible for groups of maximum 25 people and reservations are required.

Open from Tuesday to Sunday. From 29/10/12 to 06/01/13 in Rome,  Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 52.

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