Gravity’s Dance


6 metre diameter.

Black weighted cloth, LEDS, Forex central stiffener, 3 phase motor, inverter, control system

‘I began the work that would lead to Gravity’s Dancein 2014, when commissioned to create a permanent installation for the Museo della Canapa, Sant’Anatolia di Narco, a small town near Spoleto. The museum is dedicated to local textiles, in particular to hemp that in the past was used for clothing. My initial idea was to stack pieces of fabric onto a central rod in what resembled many layered skirts. The skirt is a female symbol, although worn by men in many cultures and used by Sufis in their whirling trance-inducing dance, in which four men symbolizing the moon spin around a central male figure representing the sun.

What started with my twirling three or four circular pieces of material on a metal rod, became with months of experiments in my studio and the technical help of Plastikart in Cesena, an installation of two whirling totems that I called Spinning Dolls.The textiles I used for one were especially woven from hemp thread by the inmates of the high security prison in Spoleto, whereas the other was five layered skirts of crocheted hemp. The word spinin the English title means both the art of making thread and rotation: the threads Ariadne deployed to lead Theseus out of the Minotaur’s labyrinth, the threads that spin innumerable tales, the threads that the Moirai spin, the web of destiny, the rotation of atoms and planets and stars. These two works invoked a many-layered metaphor of the feminine archetype, while simultaneously referencing astronomy, aerodynamics and zoology.

Since my A-I-R withUniverse 2.0, I have been experimenting with much larger diameters, transforming the previous works into a cosmic dance, a hovering rhythm of the push and pull of opposite forces, in which the form taken by the spinning cloth appears very similar to the twisted form of the Milky Way.

My thanks to Istvan Zimmermann and Giovanna Amoroso of Plastikart, Cesena, whose encouragement and tireless effort have enabled me to create this work and to Stavros Katsanevas and EGO, who have funded this project.’ – Liliane Lijn