“The journey of an encounter”, when a work becomes a narration of the values of the Third Paradise
Yesterday - 21 April - the installation by Ludovica Sitajolo was inaugurated in Monte Isola. It is the result of the artistic residency part of the project “Light is Life”, carried out through a collaboration between Cittadellarte, the Municipality of Monte Isola and A2A. “The work aims at telling the story of an encounter between people,” says the artist, “accompanying them on the journey of a conversation. The hot air balloon created with fishing nets joined with a romantic bench leads our travellers through unexplored landscapes and dreams”.

When you set foot on Monte Isola for the first time, you have the feeling of crossing the threshold into another world. A place that brings with it an unusual connection, right from its very name, between a mountain and an island, a unique combination of scenic and environmental beauty. Monte Isola is the largest lake island in Italyand among the largest in Europe, and sees, in every season, a strong presence of tourists from every corner of Italy and the world. Visitors can discover fine frescoes, manor villas, country and parish churches, and at the same time the craft activities that characterise the island and that have been handed down to the present day, namely boat building, net making and paper flower making. Not to mention the many excellences of taste, including oil, salami and fish specialties, to name but a few. In this gem located in Lake Iseo, for years there has been a new protagonist: art. It started with The Floating Piers, a land art installation by the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude which consisted in a network of floating piers open to the public set up on Lake Iseo, between Sulzano, Monte Isola and the island of San Paolo to then move on to the trinamic symbol.

The behind-the-scenes
We are referring, specifically, to The Third Paradise of Energy, a work realised by Angelo Bonello from an idea by Michelangelo Pistoletto, curated by Fortunato D’Amico for Cittadellarte, with the support of A2A and Fondazione Banco dell’Energia – inaugurated in July 2023 as part of the events organised for Bergamo Brescia Italian Capital of Culture 2023. The installation, made with reused materials, was composed of 16 piles of nets, as many as the municipalities of Lake Iseo, crossed and united by a led perimeter, outlining the revisitation of the mathematical sign of infinity created by the artist. Consistent with the mission of A2A Life Company and Fondazione Banco dell’Energia, and giving continuity to the project of The Third Paradise of Energy in Monte Isola, is the commitment to the development of the themes of energy poverty, sustainability, social transformation, the environment, civic education and active citizenship. The process that led to the achievement of these objectives was articulated through ad hoc projects and meetings, such as the Rebirth Forum “Third Paradise of Energy” held on 9 November in Sale Marasino (all the details can be found in a previous article) and the artistic residency (organised by A2A Life Company, Fondazione Banco dell’Energia and Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto, in collaboration with Accademia Unidee, UNIDEE Residency Programs and The Round Table).

Ludovica Sitajolo with her father. Photo: Journal’s staff.

The residency and the inauguration
The light art installation Il viaggio di un incontro (The journey of an encounter) by Ludovica Sitajolo was inaugurated on Sunday 21 April in Monte Isola, in the Siviano neighbourhood. It is the result of the artistic residency part of the project Light is Life, carried out through a collaboration between Fondazione Pistoletto, the Municipality of Monte Isola and A2A. Ludovica won the call for the artist’s residency, held half at Cittadellarte in Biella and half at Monte Isola, with the aim of creating a work to be donated to the island’s municipality, using the waste and reused materials – fishing nets and led lights – from the Third Paradise of Energy exhibited in Monte Isola last July during the summer spin-off of Light is Life – A2A’s Festival of Lights. During her stay at Cittadellarte, she was guided in the process of investigation of specific aspects linked to a responsible transformation of society through debates and meetings with curators, artists and civil society operators, studio visits by experts and visits to places relevant to the themes of her research. During her stay in Monte Isola, she had the opportunity to measure herself with the materials that led her to the creation of a work representing the idea of social change and innovation, focusing on key issues of our present and future, such as energy poverty, the transition process towards renewable energies and circular economy. The work, which will be exhibited for the whole year, will thus become a narration of the values of the Third Paradise project, with the conviction that art can and must participate in generating social change, spreading awareness and activating territorial cooperation.

Ludovica Sitajolo, Renato Mazzoncini and Fiorello Turla interviewed by Luca Deias.

The artist’s explanation
The work was presented in the course of a conference moderated by Rebirth/Third Paradise ambassador Francesco Moneta, which was attended by Ludovica Sitajolo, Renato Mazzoncini (A2A’s CEO), Fiorello Turla (mayor of Monte Isola) and Luca Deias (director of Fondazione Pistoletto’s Journal). When she spoke, Ludovica was visibly moved: “The work wants to bring people together,” she began, “accompanying them on the journey of a conversation. The hot air balloon created with fishing nets joined with a romantic bench leads our travellers through unexplored views and dreams. Starting with Monte Isola’s historical tradition of producing nets, these were used not only for the creation of the hot air balloon, but also as a metaphor for the immense connection of nodes representing the infinite connections of our encounters. This hot air balloon represents the journey one takes when talking to someone, an infinite journey, a place of encounter where one can travel, an exploratory journey where the conversation is the journey itself”.

The unveiling of the work.

The speech by A2A’s CEO
Mazzoncini highlighted the link between the work and sustainability instead: “The A2A Festival of Lights, with its double date last February in Brescia and Bergamo and last July here in Monte Isola, exceeded our expectations and won over both public and critics. Returning here today to talk about art and energy means having once again the opportunity to convey messages on sustainability and the efficient use of resources. Ludovica, together with A2A, Fondazione Pistoletto and the municipal administration of Monte Isola, has been able to give new voice to the waste materials of an iconic work, The Third Paradise of Energy, born from an idea of Michelangelo Pistoletto and the skilful hands of Angelo Bonello, to remind everyone that resources are not infinite and that we must use them conscientiously, networking and thinking also of those who cannot access them. It is a different way to stress what Fondazione Banco dell’Energia has been doing in recent years in the fight against energy poverty”.

The mayor’s comment
The first citizen put the spotlight on the impact of art on the island: “With this artistic performance by Ludovica Sitajolo, the journey that began in 2023 with the project Light is Life, the event held at Monte Isola at the conclusion of the beautiful experience of the A2A Festival of Lights as part of the initiatives of the year of Bergamo Brescia Capital of Culture 2023, comes to an end. Thanks to the collaboration between Cittadellarte, Fondazione Pistoletto, the Municipality of Monte Isola and A2A, it was possible to complete this splendid cultural and artistic journey that involved our territory as an island of artists and taste. After the performance of the eclectic artist Christo with The Floating Piers in June 2016, and with Angelo Bonello’s Third Paradise of Energy, inspired by the most influential artist on the national and international art scene Michelangelo Pistoletto,” continued Fiorello Turla, “Monte Isola was confirmed as a natural theatre for any initiative of artistic and cultural nature in which what prevails is not the ‘I’ but the ‘we’ as an absolute value. This ambitious programme was made possible thanks to the precious contribution of A2A, which believed in and won the bet of investing in culture on Monte Isola”.

From the left: Mazzoncini, Sitajolo, Turla, Deias, Novali

The voice of Cittadellarte
After conveying the greetings from Michelangelo Pistoletto, Paolo Naldini (director of Cittadellarte) and Francesco Saverio Teruzzi (coordinator of the ambassadors of the Third Paradise), Luca Deias dwelt on the collaboration between the different organisations, united for a common goal: “We are in a splendid, evocative, almost dreamlike place. Yet, thanks to the synergy and co-planning of different organisations, the wonder of this place goes beyond aesthetic beauty, nodding at creativity and sustainability through art and culture”. The editor of the Journal then focused on Sitajolo’s work: “The first element I would mention about the work is the title. Yes, because every encounter in our lives is a journey, an opportunity to learn, to be enriched, to grow. Every conversation, every listening, every word, every element of non-verbal communication, every connection, shapes and contaminates our existence. Ludovica’s work,” he added, “has a non-trivial task, namely to become a narration of the values of the Third Paradise project. Just as the Third Paradise teaches, 1+1 results in 3. This was also the case for Ludovica, who after her residencies with us at Cittadellarte and in Monte Isola had the creative input to give life to her installation making the principles of the trinamic symbol her own. Now, thanks to her and her experience, it will be possible, freely, to undertake an intimate and introspective – at the same time a collective – journey, simply by sitting, alone or with another person at our side”. Finally, the comment of Saverio Teruzzi: “Art at the centre of a responsible and sustainable energy transformation. Through synergy and co-authorship, the Third Paradise of Energy created by Angelo Bonello and Michelangelo Pistoletto is reborn and compenetrates in the work of Ludovica Sitajolo who, in a sort of circular art, using waste material, highlights the importance of the cognitive and meeting processes at the basis of the experiences, choices and emotions that the journey of life offers us”.

Photos by Christina Penocchio (unless otherwise specified).