La Porta di Caronte

(Charon's door)
Year 1984
Text by Claudia Jaeckel

[…] Whether we experience the path through Poggi’s installations as a path of life or death, each time we enter a still intact world, an untouched order which is only disturbed and destroyed by our entry and presence. (In the first part the installation has a floor of adjacent mirror squares breaking more and more with each of our steps). With the experience of the inevitable destruction, the visitor also experiences an awareness of his responsibility to his own life (and death) and towards society.

Ground floor plan and several details.
Sketches, 1983–84

In the center a narrow corridor, covered with ropes, through which the visitor has to fight his way. Window openings on both sides of the corridor provide a view of the intact order: A mirror wall, in front of it a metal grid, right side on the floor the word “right”, on the left side the word “left” – both words in impersonal print. The mirror image of the person entangled in the ropes disturbes the order. Finding oneself on his way through the turmoil of life only as a mirror image in this basic order.

In the last room of the installation, the screened mirror surface moves to the ceiling. An intact, undestroyed world receives the man redeemed from battle. An image of peace for some, for others a social utopia, hope, or the hopelessness, because the harmony of order and individual becomes possible only in the stage of death, after the arrival in the underworld. Pino Poggi does not resolve the ambiguity, but confronts the visitor with it, letting him ask the questions of life and death, of peace and struggle. Answers can only be given by everyone for themselves – or all together.

Download text (pdf): German

Helmut Schneider (Ed.) et al.: Pino Poggi. Verlag Silke Schreiber, Munich, 1986, p. 45–47.