SAM’s ornate Porcelain Room features an evocative ceiling fresco, The Triumph of Valor over Time (ca. 1757) by the greatest Venetian artist of the eighteenth century, Giovanni Tiepolo. Contemporary artist Diego Cibelli presents a site-specific response to the famous painting with a freestanding porcelain sculpture set in the center of the room. Originally painted for the Porto family palace in Vicenza, Italy, Tiepolo's design is an allegory in which Victory crowns the golden-robed figure of Valor with a laurel wreath, as Time watches helplessly from the shadows below. In response, Cibelli creates a mountainous peak in which human figures tumble down the craggy slopes, their bodies, in various states of free-fall, experience transformation into branches, leaves, and flowers—a return to nature. This project is guest curated by Christian Larsen, a cultural historian and independent curator.
Image: Courtesy of Diego Cibelli and HAADA, photo: Francesco Squeglia