During the night of 13th July 100 Liu Ruowang's wolves are moved from Naples to Florence invading the renaissant architectural spaces of Piazza Pitti and Piazza SS. Annunziata. The wolf carries a double symbolic meaning: on the one hand it is an aggressive and threatening creature, and on the other it is perceived as benevolent and bearer of knowledge. In the darkness of an artificial world that permeates and threatens nature; wolves orient themselves with their sight and moving ferociously through urban spaces warn and guide human kind towards awareness.
In Piazza SS. Annunziata the pack of wolves surrounds a warrior that despite his monumental shapes, inflating as to challenge the boundaries of matter, appears to us powerless and feeble.
Contemporary man thanks to technology stands as Creator, dominates and destroys nature. As Spengler already predicted in 1931, the tragedy of mankind will be caused by this fatal division between Man and Nature. The pack of wolves stand as a warning to humanity, reclaiming the superior power of Nature macrocosm that we often seem to forget. The aggressiveness, the toughness, the strenght and security of the 280 kg iron sculptures propagate creating a dramatic tension and breaking the harmonious order of the architectural environment. Locating the installation in Florence seems now evident, a city built with an anthropocentric idea of the world typical of the XV-XVI centuries.
China had its reinassance too, but it happened four centuries before ours. It was around the year one thousand that a group of intellectuals with technocratic attitudes, mondane spirit, dedication for science and cult for the ancient, settled in the heart of the burocracy of the empire. These ante litteram humanists will be called song literates from the name of the dinasty that will hold the fate of China untill the beginnings of 1200. They will revive the interserst for books of the past: in first place the “classics” of confucianesim, but also foundamental texts about mathematic and traditional medicine, skillfully restored and studied with surprisngly philologic criteria.
Song literates are bearier of a new conception of intellect, less rigid and assertive, almost freed from a strict autoritarian principle. The criterion on wich song scholars directed their action is “gè wu”, the investigation of things, and especially of things in nature. It was during Song Dinasty that the Shan Shui style experienced its peak, a type of pictorial art wich name means literally mountain river , and in a wider sense landscape. Deep orizons, shaded mountain ridges and foggy atmospheres are the costants of an expressive style in wich nature is not simply depicted but summoned in its deepest energetic substrate, in order to establish a connection with the viewer of the artwork. Francois Jullien, the western philosopher that conducted the most fertile studyies about chinese culture, highlighted a key difference between “the two renaissances”. While 15th century Europe tries to detect geometrical structures in nature,and working modules on wich set the arts and architecture, China looks at landscapes as an unrestrainable stream , a dimension almost indistinct on its inside. While Filippo Brunelleschi, on the basis of a precise study of natural proportion, designes the Spedale degli Innocenti, Palazzo Pitti and other buildings that started modern architecture, chinese art already entered in the Ming dinasty, is also wondering about establishing some background rules but allowing the landscape to dominate the scene leaving it untouched in its ungraspability. 1400s i salso the century of the official encounter between China and Firenze throughout a misterious diplomatic missionof the Ming Empire in the city referred as Fulin, and sometimes Farang, alreadydescribed in several Yuan era chronicles as a crucial and essential place for Western’s destiny. During that century Fulin’s cultural debate, permeated by neoplatonic ideas, revolves around that notion of harmony on wich, with different tones of meaning, chinese culture focused its relationship with reality, especially with nature. The loss of this armony and the nefastous and the nefastous consequences for the faith of mankind and the world underlines all Liu Ruowang’s work. It is a tragical event shared by West and East, by wich nature is no longer a dimension to be part of but an enviroment to dominate. Here it is the Original Sin to wich the artist has dedicated a series of disturbing sculptures: the original consists in overturning the reletionship with the natural world, subjecting it to a domination that can only result in a destructive rebellion. According to Luca Massimo Barbero’s vivid definition, Liu Ruowang’s Wolves are “conscience shakers”, they aim to rise a deep restlessness in the ones who meet them: even more if the encounter takes place in the context of an architecture wich bears witness of a world with no sin (yet), a reality set on the idea of harmony. But to be shaken, the conscience needs to be born again, maybe measuring itself precisely with Renaissance culture.