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Perenial Cactacea

November 2018

Perenial Cactacea


Namsal Siedlecki


by Namsal Siedlecki


Curated by Alessandra Poggianti

November 2018


“Thingness”, the annual program of exhibitions and artist residencies curated by Alessandra Poggianti for TERZOPIANO, inaugurates his second appointment with Namsal Siedlecki.

The American artist chooses a small town in the Tuscan countryside as his work base: Seggiano.

Siedlecki’s partner is nature. From here begins a search based on continuous experimentation between man and the surrounding environment, between culture and nature, between knowledge and resources.

In Lucca Namsal proposes a project in which some plant species are protagonists, in particular cacti, a plant symbol of nature’s ability to defend itself and adapt.

The cacti are deprived of their thorns, their shape is tamed and subsequently subjected to a galvanic bath and finally exhibited in the exhibition space, used by the artist as a living organism.

The gallery walls are sprinkled with copper green, a fungicide used in agriculture: the artist cites this ritual practiced in the vineyards to create a wall painting that functions as a chromatic trace, a memory of the human will to dominate nature, but also an attempt to create a union of knowledge.

Creating a “perennial Cactus”, title of the exhibition, is part of that continuous attempt by man to modify nature according to his own needs. Plants thus undergo a galvanic bath, a process usually used to cover a less precious metal with a nobler metal layer. Through this process, for example, chrome plating and gilding are obtained. Although there is the possibility of making the cacti immortal, absorbing them completely in the metal, the artist chooses to cover only one portion, like an Achilles heel that allows us to witness two temporalities, the organic and the mineral. In an attempt to preserve a form otherwise destined to change, the organic part will therefore undergo the inevitable process of deterioration, while the metal part will remain unchanged.

Cacti become objects and as such they open a symbolic field, multiplying the points of contact with reality: new relationships are created between knowledge and know-how, becoming bearers of new forms of knowledge.


“Thingness” is a two-year (2018-2019) program of artist residencies aimed at creating new artworks linked to the idea of an object and its “thingly” character (M. Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art,” 1930). The object is therefore not understood through its functionality but, as Roland Barthes suggests, is a device capable of activating symbolic visions, types of meaning, loose signs, true texts. The object thus mediates the relationship between man and action, contributing to the creation of a new social potential and giving a different value to material life. From here, it is possible to begin to reconceive an ideology of utility.

Project carried out as part of Cantiere Toscana, the regional network for contemporary art, in collaboration with the Municipality of Lucca, the Tuscany Region and Giovanisi. | www.cantieretoscana.org

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