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THE MILLENNIUM CHAIR

Andrea Bianconi
Curated by Giuseppe Frangi
In collaboration with Casa Testori and Città di Vicenza
Fondazione Coppola – Torrione of Vicenza
17 July 2021

Being alone contains light.
The departure guarded by Palladio thoughtfully… The dressing, a warrior’s bandana on his forehead… An intimate rite seeking a great collective rite. The awareness that a gesture is worth more than a word. A path in a course, Palladio… In front of me a deserted space, behind me an armchair of 20 kg on my shoulders… People, together towards a light that turns on the darkness. Suddenly a sound invades the course, envelops us all and leads us like a magnet towards the trumpet… Diego’s trumpet, halfway between earth and sky… I had emotion filling my heart and was enveloped in peace and joy. After so many months I was serene. A rainbow behind me in a sky that looked like it had been painted by Tiepolo. The climb, the 186 steps, the effort was nothing compared to the feeling. I climbed the steps with feeling, hearing the sound of Diego invading outside and inside. At the top, in the lantern, Antonio and I pressed the button, turned on the tower, illuminated the city, it was 8:58 p.m., the exact moment the sun was setting. 
Telling the story of the performance is like living it from the outside while remaining inside.
Ideas bring light and light brings ideas.

We are all light.
Andrea Bianconi

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The journey of Andrea Bianconi’s Sit Down To Have An Idea landed on 17 July 2021 in the heart of Vicenzafor the performance The Millennium Chair, realised by the Fondazione Coppola in collaboration with Casa Testori. The armchair of ideas reached the Torrione of Porta Castello, a medieval fortification and symbolic monument, for centuries inaccessible to the public, now back to life thanks to the Fondazione Coppola, which has made it a space for contemporary art. A very intense performance – curated by Giuseppe Frangi – conceived by Bianconi to restart after the umpteenth stop due to the pandemic.
The chair, which was renamed The Millennium Chair for the occasion, was at the centre of the procession. A short route on a track that conveyed so much intensity, because it connected two very suggestive places: the square of the Palladian Basilica (the starting point) and the Torrione. Andrea at 8 p.m., alone with his armchair in Piazza dei Signori, waited, in a sort of silent recollection. At 8:30 p.m., after having put his armchair on his shoulders, he set off for the Torrione, in a march from Piazza dei Signori to Porta Castello together with the public. At 9 p.m. the real performance began: with the help of a harness, the artist climbed to the top of the lantern. It was a slow and tiring climb up 146 steep steps to a height of 41 metres, almost as if to symbolise the effort required of everyone to open up to hope again. When he positioned the armchair – which will remain as a permanent installation on the Tower’s lantern – Bianconi set off a beam of light on the city, a message of confidence and hope after the long dark period.
The venture was accompanied by the notes of trumpeter Diego Ruvidotti, a soloist and composer who has worked with various artists and directors for whom he has written film soundtracks, such as Gabriele Muccino’s Ricordati di me, as well as releasing numerous successful records. 
From 9 p.m. everyone was able to climb up to the Torrione, sit on the armchair and, above all, activate the lighthouse, thus resuming the ancient function for which the tower was built in the 12th century, lookout and beacon harbinger of messages. 
«This time we will not only be spreading ideas, but also light, the light that will occupy everything after this long period of darkness» explains Andrea Bianconi «And that is why I want others after me to go up to the Tower, sit in the armchair and cast other beams of light: it is a call, an invitation to become aware that every man by his presence and through his actions can bring light». And above all, the message is to provoke new ideas, to restart and be reborn, to build a better share, in the hope that we have finally emerged from the worldwide nightmare of the pandemic. «Having an idea is everything and perhaps never more than now will be needed» states the artist. 
For the curator, Giuseppe Frangi, The Millennium Chair in Vicenza becomes almost a ritual to give strength to the city, because cities are rekindled by the “light” of ideas. In this case, a passage is necessary: the climb up the Tower, an act of fatigue, which is a premise for a “liberation”. After him, the audience present was able to do so, to climb up the lantern individually and in turn light up the lighthouse on the Torrione, in the sky of the city.

THE ARTIST

Andrea Bianconi, born in Vicenza in 1974, lives and works between Vicenza and New York. The project Sit Down To Have An Idea, the armchair of ideas, is a journey that began in January 2020 in Bologna on the occasion of Artefiera and again in Bologna at the Duse Theatre, continued later in the Dolomites, at Cima Carega, and then in Tropea, Colletta di Castelbianco, Chiampo and now in Vicenza.

Posted on: 29 October 2021, by : Alessandro Ulleri