Sara Cucé, 2020 - ongoing
'Agrigento' is an ongoing body of works that I began researching and creating in 2020,
during my first visit to the city, travelling along the south western Sicilian coast.
Since then, I’m regularly visiting the city, creating a body of works that could represent the unique feeling of living in a space where time feels like suspended, almost as if it was a non-place, an in-between space and at the same time trying to catch the rooted traditions, smells, shapes and more.
It has a very specific type of beauty, the beauty of something ancient, almost stuck in time and yet wonderful, that feeling of travelling back in time and walking around like you are a stranger in a different era. The beauty of decay, the beauty of a limbo, the beauty of going far away, in a space-time where it feels like the standard rules don't really apply.
This city is an en plein air archive, a repository of memory. Time is inscribed in the architecture, the food, the culture, the language, the walls. The marks of history are left everywhere in a city that is stuck in the past, and the generations bear these marks on their facial expressions, the posture and the walking pace, calm but heavily subjected to past events, inner struggles, a sort of inexorable passivity.
Agrigento is permeated by a magical veil, that stops time and space. Everything seems like crystallised in time, people’s expression, the architecture, the words, the streets, there is an ancient halo covering their thoughts and their gestures. It’s a decadent beauty, so fascinating, dragging you to come back again and again, it's enchanting.
A strong religious belief is rooted in every person, and it’s mixed with a prominent sense of superstition and pagan beliefs, like in all the rest of Sicily. When your foot lands on the Sicilian soil, you can see that airplane at your back and then you forget the rest, you are just back in time, like you just took a time machine. So the celebrations for the famous saint ‘San Calogero’ in Agrigento is rapidly mixing up with a walk down the cathedral, in the main plaza, where there is an APE car, famous around the 50s, heavy and full of the most fresh and exquisite fruit and veggies just picked up from a surrounding farm, with a very old and fashionable scale in the middle of the vehicle, and a man screaming undetected words in a Sicilian dialect to alert everyone around, that the man with fresh fruit and veggies is there now.
On the front seat of the Ape car, there is a series of things hanging from the car rear mirror, a bunch of garlic, a cross, some salt, a red chilly, the image of Mary and something else that I didn’t recognise. I’ve asked him ‘what’s that?’ and he said ‘it’s a bunch of things that wish me luck’.. and I said ‘ in what sense?’ and he replied ‘well.. they make sure to keep away bad people energy and thoughts so I will sell a lot today’.
It's incredibly fascinating to see how life there goes on.