THE FOOT OF THE STAIRCASE
Migrants have experienced at first hand the blackmail of corruption. They experienced it on the other side of the Mediterranean when they had to put their hard won savings in the hands of the boat operators or their agents. They have often met it in Italy, when their reception finished in the hands of organizations run by racketeers. Two works in this exhibition, of great impact and value, bear witness to the migrants. Tindar, the “nickname” of a Milanese artist now living in Rome – and who has opened the doors of his home to a migrant – is present with a triptych inspired by an experience at the frontier, near Calais, in the months of the “Jungle”, the great refugee camp of migrants hoping to cross the Channel. With Migrazioni [Migrations], Tindar overturned a paradigm. He asked the migrants (for a small payment) to gather the footprints of those who, for whatever reason, passed through the camp. The footprints, mounted on panels covered with earth, create a nebulous image of presences crossing from one world to another. In a work such as this, Tindar brings into play his being as an artist. The same thing happens with a charismatic name from another generation. Corrado Levi has brought to Casa Testori a photo of himself (taken by Beppe Finessi), in which he is wearing clothes found on the rocks of Otranto (Vestiti di arrivati [Clothes of people arriving], 2015). Clothes abandoned by migrants who had landed there. Levi gathered them up and put them on. “I imagined I was other people’s bodies”, he has said. “I know I was pretending, but when I could, I felt the thing inside myself. When I take them off and leave them there on a beach, there on the rocks for others to find, that is the moment when I hope to change my life. This is freedom. It’s like baptism… For believers”.