3 Jul 2010

‘Fontana di Vino’ in Slow Decline

THE ECSTATIC but brutal vision at Piazza Francesco Pizzo, Marsala was imagined by painter, architect, writer, stage designer and sculptor, Salvatore Fiume (1915-97) in the early 80’s. His aim in bronze: to playfully depict the relevance of wine, women and toil in the region.
Provocatively, a bunch of grapes just conceals the nudity of the sprawling, splay-legged, drunk-looking donna, who precedes a euphoric, bucking donkey. A cart seems notably absent.
According to my guide, Francesco of wine producer, Casano, wine spouted a ring of faucets during festivals. Perhaps due to the high prices Fiume’s work commands, these were ripped off and stolen some years ago. In response, all went dry.
I found the substantial work compelling. Mischevious, direct and amusing in this otherwise bland square. In the chipped, broken state, abused and abandoned by those it was built for (who may never have wanted it) it was also the saddest sight of my Marsala trip.