Vai Saber

by Manuela Cirino


Recent studies in archeoastronomy suggest close connections between lithic basins (also called cupules), widely found in the north-western Alpine arc and certain star clusters. The artwork ‘Vai Saber’ evokes the relationship between the small cavities carved into existing rocks in the Grana and Maira valleys and the Pleiades constellation.

In the work, some stones were taken from the valley to be returned to the mountain from which they presumably originated. Bringing them back in space (upwards) symbolises a journey back in time, recalling those distant epochs to which the petroglyphs so widely present in this territory date. The full volume of the stones contrasts with the carved cavities of the cupules. The seven stones symbolise the seven main stars of the Pleiades constellation.

They do not rest on the ground but are suspended enough to situate themselves between earth and sky, outside the historical time we are immersed in. The title’ Vai Saber’ (in Occitan, ‘who knows, go figure’) alludes to the speculative and uncertain nature of the meaning of the cupule rock phenomenon. The data for designing the work was determined with the scientific consultancy of astronomer Alberto Cora of the INAF Astrophysical Observatory of Turin.

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Manuela Cirino

Manuela Cirino (born 1962) lives and works in Novara and Milan.

She trained at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts under Luciano Fabro. In 1988, she was involved in an exhibition project, conceived and curated by artists, entitled ‘Politics’, which addressed the theme of citizenship in Novi Ligure. From 1990 to 1993, she participated in a collective project, displaying works at ‘Care of’ and the Massimo Minini Gallery. Since then, she has had numerous solo and group exhibitions. From 2012 to 2015, she presented the project ‘L’Immagine Negata’ (‘The Denied Image’) at the Martano Gallery and the Milano Gallery, focusing on the interplay between artwork and observer.

Always keen to explore the concept of sculpture in open forms, she employs a variety of media such as photography, drawing, and text. In her current work, she revisits the theme of sculpture and the concept of ‘system’ for envisioning it, with a particular emphasis on the use of ceramics, which has consistently featured in her work.