Maja Arte Contemporanea is delighted to present Baldo Diodato’s first solo exhibit within its walls, entitled Pedibus calcantibus. On display twelve works, one frottage and eleven casts. In 2016, the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (National Modern Art Gallery in Rome) hosted an anthological exhibit of Diodato’s work, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva.
Pedibus calcantibus is a Latin phrase; it means “on foot, with one’s own legs” and is often cited playfully. Here, it indicates the artist’s desire to carry his viewers down Rome’s ancient streets; the virtual walk begins in Piazza Montecitorio and ends in Piazza del Collegio Romano, and it is punctuated by the urban landscapes condensed into the ground.
Literally, the phrase reads “with feet touching the ground,” evoking the act through which Diodato reproduces a cast of the Roman pavement, the true protagonist of this group of works completed between 2001 and 2017. To realize his works, Diodato places aluminum sheets on the ground and allows the footwork of pedestrians to model them, finishing the molds with the help of a hammer. Through its symbolic Sanpietrini, the eternal city reveals its shape: the metal casts capture and crystallize its timeless skin, yielding a sculpture.
“I am not merely looking to reproduce the image of the Sanpietrini, I want to capture the traces left by people passing through as they combine with the markings of time, which have molded the stone, softening its edges. It’s as if I were sculpting time itself, by seizing the things that happened to a single space over the years,” Diodato says of his work, noting that his molds seek to be a witness to time perceived both through the changing silhouette of the stone and the colorful footprints that have touched it.
As ancestral marks, the footprints allow viewers to reconstruct a movement that has been frozen in time, while matter attempts to render a single gesture eternal. A ‘collective self’ leaves a trace of its passing through; history, past, and future meet in this series.