officially launched its fifth edition on Saturday, April 8th, with artist Virginia Overton's monumental sculptural work entitled Tulip. Located at Orbetello's Polveriera Guzman facing the lagoon, Tulip is a 6-metre-high concrete structure punctuated by constellations of pink glass windows. Arranged back-to back, three vertical segments made from pre-existing moulds typically used for the construction of large tunnels, open towards the sky taking on the form of a tulip.
Presented for the first time at the 59th Venice Biennale as part of The Milk of Dreams, Tulip activates a new form of collaboration that aims to share contemporary artistic practices in dialogue with the Maremma landscape. Overton's work will interact with the historical architecture of the Polveriera Guzman: a building constructed during Spanish rule in 1692, by the Flemish architect Ferdinand De Grunembergh. Throughout history it was employed as a gunpowder store then remained closed to the public for an extended period of time. It is currently the headquarters of the Orbetello Archaeological Museum, where Etruscan, Roman, and Mediaeval artefacts found in the surrounding area are preserved to narrate the exploits of past populations.
Although concealed by an elusive inscrutability, Overtons chosen materials are never selected purely for their aesthetics but also their histories and the future potential they hold. Interested in reviving, re-contextualising and appropriating, Overton often uses recycled or readymade materials which she finds in the everyday detritus of the urban landscape.
Overton's interest in public art originates from its symbolic function within a collective space, where her sculptures often call attention to the inexorable demands of scale and gravity. The public is invited to move around this work and its surrounding benches, without preferring a single perspective. Together Tulip and the Maremma landscape reflect on our environment and our community by highlighting both.
Virginia Overton was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1971 and lives and works in New York. Her work, which includes installation, sculpture, and photography, is the result of her direct intuitive response to a specific space. From a process of research and exploration, she creates works that re-activate the viewers spatial and sensory experience with an elegant physicality. Infused with an ethos of economy, Overton employs everyday, elemental materials to engage with a site, its geographical location and history. Wooden planks, beams, metal, mud, sheetrock, and bricks things commonly associated with construction work or farming are cut, bent, stacked, and hammered into shape, often pushing the material to its physical limit. Evincing the power and sensory quality of their own textural materials, her sculptures and installations, through their new functionality, expose the energy and associations encapsulated within their parts.