Exocolumn – Emerald
With The Grand Ball of Delphi, Sergio Roger seeks to tie together the neoclassical and romantic rose-colored view of antiquity, its intersection with 19th-century colonialism and decor elements that were typical of that era. The use of cerulean and mauve evoke beloved colors for 19th-century home decor; pale gold recalls the gilded surfaces of imperial-age furniture and modernism alike; while green is reminiscent of verdigris, the color of oxidized bronze statues.
Roger’s work questions our assumptions and idealized views of antiquity. By contorting, bending, and twisting his columns, he guides us into a more mystical, initiatory, and visionary dimension of classicism.
For the first time the artist makes use of Dupioni silk to create this new body of works. As commonly assumed, silk is not a fabric exclusive to the East. In the IV century BC Aristoteles himself referenced how, on the Greek Island of Kos, there was this fiber made of wild worm cocoons.
This stylistic choice underlines how Classical civilization and culture did not exist in a vacuum: mystery religions, oracles, and rituals, for example, transcend the Graeco-Roman milieu, and the vision-inducing entheogenic substances that were commonly used by the Oracle of Delphi and the Eleusinian mysteries could be found across all Indo-European traditions, from the Sanskrit soma to the mead of the Old Germanic tradition.
Still, true to Roger’s opus, satirical elements go hand in hand with solemnity. His colorful, twisted, and bent shapes are what is in your line of vision after one last, swirling waltz at a Grand Ball, and the colors are, indeed, lifted from quintessential period movies such as the Sissi film trilogy and The Leopard. With this sherbet-like color palette, lush textures in rich silks, The Grand Ball of Delphi reminds us that art and culture were hardly entirely serious: they were also fun and fancy-free.
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