Along the breakwaters that reach out into the sea marking the harbour entries to Lido to the north and south of the island, we are accustomed to see tetrapod reinforcing structures, monstrous solid geometrical figures that accompany us in our trips along the shore, all the way to the mooring areas at either end with their tall lighthouses. When the works on the Mose project are completed at San Nicolò and Alberoni we shall certainly see an increase in the number of these structures, used prevalently to resist stormy seas, so as to ensure the continuance and duration of all the work contemplated in the projects of the sites. These works will considerably alter the environmental layout of these areas, designed to provide small harbours with mooring areas and parks on the beach where reclamation work is already in progress, anticipating future developments. For his installation at San Servolo, Marco Maria Giuseppe Scifo probably chose to use the tetrapod as a symbol of the change that is taking place, trying to favour its aesthetic prerogatives, which often pass unnoticed, but which the artist reconsiders at the level of the design and of the materials used, in his case not cold and invasive concrete, but organic wood, emblem of the natural corruption of material, but also of its regeneration and of the consequent necessary care that should be taken regarding any human work. An interesting investigation at a modular, technical-scientific and organic level, with the intent of restoring art’s intrinsic relationship with science, but always fully respecting nature. To conclude in Scifo’s own words, “the volume in cubic metres of the two tetrapods now located on the Island of San Servolo is not a space occupied by shapes, but the capacity of a molecular whole inscribed in a place”. 


Text by Saverio Simi de Burgis