Piotr Skiba at Spazio ORR

Artist: Piotr Skiba

Title: Murmur over the body lobe

Venue: Spazio ORR, Brescia, Italy

The rain has stopped. The waterfall will roar like that all 
night. I have come out to take a walk and feed. My body–foot,
that is–is wet and cold and covered with sharp gravel. It is
white, the size of a dinner plate. I have set myself a goal, a 
certain rock, but it may well be dawn before I get there. 
Although I move ghostlike and my floating edges barely graze 
the ground, I am heavy, heavy, heavy. My white muscles are 
already tired. I give the impression of mysterious ease, but it is 
only with the greatest effort of my will that I can rise above the 
smallest stones and sticks. And I must not let myself be dis-
tracted by those rough spears of grass. Don’t touch them. Draw 
back. Withdrawal is always best. 
The rain has stopped. The waterfall makes such a noise! (And
what if I fall over it?) The mountains of black rock give off such 
clouds of steam! Shiny streamers are hanging down their sides. 
When this occurs, we have a saying that the Snail Gods have 
come down in haste. I could never descend such steep escarp-
ments, much less dream of climbing them. 
That toad was too big, too, like me. His eyes beseeched my 
love. Our proportions horrify our neighbors. 
Rest a minute; relax. Flattened to the ground, my body is like 
a pallid, decomposing leaf. What’s that tapping on my shell? 
Nothing. Let’s go on. 
My sides move in rhythmic waves, just off the ground, from 
front to back, the wake of a ship, wax-white water, or a slowly 
melting floe. I am cold, cold, cold as ice. My blind, white bull’s 
head was a Cretan scare-head; degenerate, my four horns that 
can’t attack. The sides of my mouth are now my hands. They 
press the earth and suck it hard. Ah, but I know my shell is 
beautiful, and high, and glazed, and shining. I know it well, 
although I have not seen it. Its curled white lip is of the finest 
enamel. Inside, it is as smooth as silk, and I, I fill it to perfection. 
My wide wake shines, now it is growing dark. I leave a lovely 
opalescent ribbon: I know this. 
But O! I am too big. I feel it. Pity me. 
If and when I reach the rock, I shall go into a certain crack 
there for the night. The waterfall below will vibrate through 
my shell and body all night long. In that steady pulsing I can 
rest. All night I shall be like a sleeping ear.

Giant Snail, 
Elizabeth Bishop

Piotr Skiba in his work clearly underlines the physical presence of things and people, putting everything on the same level. In his works stands out a value connected to the square of the Kosmonautów residential complex, where he lived and worked for years.

His attention is focused on the potential of “lowest rank” disposables. Skiba uses mass-produced objects, parts and materials related to basic, universal human needs. Things such as steel filters, abandoned clothes, broken light bulbs, lighters are often combined in bronze and aluminium castings with organic forms, e.g. with insects, cuticles, nails or KFC wings. The artist lives with them in his apartment, changing, dismantling or assembling into prototype elements, creating sculptural hybrids of neighbourhood monuments. Piotr Skiba’s objects seem to evoke a world where things have taken control, where the human body has only left traces. Similar to Nick Flynn’s poem “Statuary” (Sculptural) – he works like a bee struggling with the body of a snail or mouse poisoned in a hive. Acting methodically, the artist struggles with the object – “the body”, to finally expel it or dismantle it in order to, as Flynn described it poetically, “hermetically close it in a propolis and wax tomb above the city’s ordinary monuments.” Skiba’s archaeological excavations describe a man who tries to oppose nature and fails, leaving a feeling of emptiness and melancholy.

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