Antonino Cardillo

Arches & Grottoes

Before the Modern era, as paintings and sculptures were permanently unified with the space, architecture was a human narrative.

Since 2012, the Arches & Grottoes chambers by Cardillo investigate the primordial images¹ of the sacred and eroticism. These figures, which still inhabit the unconscious of the mankind, warn us that there is something else beyond the platitudes imposed by society.

The Arches & Grottoes chambers convey a dualistic aspect derived from Mediterranean myth. The metrics which structure each space portrays the idea of the rationality (Apollonian). Besides, the encompassing rough surfaces investigate the idea of the irrationality (Dionysian).

The Arches & Grottoes chambers appear semi-concealed as the nymph-house of a Renaissance garden or Picturesque garden. Nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature. Thus, nymph-house conveys the idea of the unfolding of the senses. It symbolises the place where human feelings are more connected to the earth and where the senses are amplified.

The Arches & Grottoes chambers celebrate the eroticism concealed in the act of the construction. Unveiled by the act of the wildly plaster casted surfaces created by the masons’ trowel; they suggest a sensual dominance of the void. Pozzolana, also known as pozzolanic ash, is the mineral dust which is what the rough plaster is mainly composed of. First carved from the volcano Vesuvius of Naples, and mixed two-to-one with lime, this ancient concrete was widely used by Romans for building the largest constructions of the Late Antiquity. The most famous example is the dome of the Pantheon in Rome.

The Arches & Grottoes chambers are illumined by rooms of light. In front of the windows, these interstitial spaces are carved between the inner space and the existing building wall. In dialogue with the weather, they are constantly mutable and represent the place where the light is interpreted before being introduced into the chamber. Thus, the waves of light resonate the chamber void like the waves of sound resonate the sound box of a musical instrument. Additionally, when light encounters the solid material changing its nature and form, this play reverberates on other surfaces in a game of divisions until it decays into darkness.

Embodying alternate realities, the Arches and Grottoes chambers explore planes of existence, anthropological significance, and labyrinths of meanings.

1. See definition in: C.G. Jung, 1921: Psychologische Typen, Rascher & Cie. Verlag, Zurich.

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Arches & Grottoes © Antonino Cardillo