This work is sold with a photo-certificate signed by the artist.
'Once you have found your way out of the labyrinth, you are free to imagine innumerable other labyrinths, all of which lead back to the starting point.' (Paolini cited in -Arte Povera in collezione exh. cat. Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Ate Contmeporanea, Turin, 2001, p. 212.)
Casa di Lucrezio is one of a series of important works on the same theme and with the same title that Paolini made between 1981 and 1984. Consisting of a varying number of busts and plinths installed into the gallery space, these works were all inspired by the drawing of a labyrinth found on a pillar in the so-called 'House of the Tragic Poet', also known as the 'Casa di Lucrezio' (House of Marcus Lucretius), in Pompeii. The significance and meaning of this classical labyrinth - evidently of some importance for the citizens of Pompeii in A.D. 79 - is unknown having been lost in the passage of time. As such it served as an ideal prompt for Paolini whose art centres around the concept and articulation of human creativity as an eternal open-ended continuum - one that exists beyond the confines of time, place and medium.
For this sculpture Paolini drew a copy of the labyrinth onto a table made of plaster. This he then broke into fragments -fragments that illustrate the disjuncted, fragmentary nature of our understanding of history and the classical world and which speak of the labyrinthine way in which our minds reconstruct a cohesive image of the past.
The imagery of Casa di Lucrezio centres around the themes of the labyrinth and of the poet - in this case represented by a plaster copy of an angel's head made by Alessandro Algardi. Algardi was a seventeenth century sculptor from Bologna committed to the classical ideal, a student of both Ludovico Carracci and Gain Lorenzo Bernini, he was also a restorer of classical sculptures.
In incorporating repeated copies of Algardi's bust of an angel, Paolini sets up his own intricate and open-ended labyrinth of interpretation in this work, that typically poses questions about artistic originality and authorship. As in so many of his works, here there is no beginning and no end, no apparent authenticity or central origin for the work whose imagery palsy back and forth across time. Everything exists in a state of flux and continuity, as indicated by the flowing purple cloth draped between and around the statues, everything is both a fragment and a copy, mimetically echoing and repeating itself as if it were an autonomous and authorless work of art created without Paolini's intervention.