Museo Etrusco Guarnacci | archeological artefacts

Federico Gori (Italy) |engravings and natural oxidation on copper

Palazzo dei Priori (Volterra)

17 July – 15 September 2023


For the second chapter of the three-year TIMELESS ENCOUNTERS art project, KALPA Galleries present PROPHETIA, an exhibition comprising the work of Italian artist Federico Gori (Prato, 1977) and a selection of Etruscan artefacts from the permanent collection of the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum in Volterra. For this occasion, a rare cinerary crater with painted figures, a group of architectural elements from holy temples in the Volterra area and three sculptural bodies of Etruscan alabaster urns are put in dialogue with the Tuscan artist’s new modular and monumental installation in copper.

PROPHETIA develops as a contemporary prophecy, bringing back to life the ritual of complete catharsis between different temporal and spatial planes and referring to the Etruscan cult of divination which embodied the interconnection between Earth and the cosmic elements of the universe, the micro and the macro. Specifically, Gori’s work recalls the partition of the sky into four macro sectors, each in turn divided into as many four, each corresponding to a different god of the Etruscan pantheon.

Across the surface of the overall composition, the artist imprints with salt and acids the map of the sky of July 17, 2023, the opening day of the exhibition, as well as natural and symbolic forms from the Etruscan cult of divination and burial of the dead, such as feathers of different waterfowl and asphodels – flowers that spontaneously grow in necropolis areas and for this reason symbolically linked to the afterlife. In addition to this, the selected artefacts from the Etruscan Museum – fragments in terracotta and alabaster of faces and bodies now drawn and now sculpted – are placed directly on the top of four copper elements of the monumental work.

In this sense, PROPHETIA is a unique site-specific installation that includes the soul of contemporary research and ancient workmanship, establishing a dialogue at both conceptual and chemical levels. Through contact with the different materials, copper oxidises and changes its composition and appearance, giving the exhibition the status of a living work of art that is constantly in evolution through space and time.

PROPHETIA, from July 17 to September 15 2023 in Palazzo dei Priori in Volterra, was born as part of the three-year TIMELESS ENCOUNTERS 2022-2024 project. It is promoted by the Anima Silvae Cultural Association and the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum, and has been made possible thanks to the coordination and support of KALPA; the generous support of Altair Chimica of Saline di Volterra. The exhibition is under the patronage of the City of Volterra and Regione Toscana.

Collezione Museo Etrusco Guarnacci

Founded in the mid-1700s thanks to a donation from the noble abbot Mario Guarnacci, the Museum is one of the oldest and most important Etruscan museums in Italy. The core of the archeological collection is in the order of 600 Etruscan funerary urns. The production of these objects grew in Volterra between the 4th and 1st centuries BCE using various materials: notably terracotta, stone and alabaster. The most significant urns are made of alabaster, a material that was both easy to shape and suitable for painting.

Artist information

Developing a strong interest in abstract comb-sign art at the beginning of his career, Federico Gori (Prato, 1977) aims to capture the secret code and signs of Nature, across its biodiversity and evolutionary journey. Many of Gori’s polyptychs hold repeated patterns, displaying a highly symbolic minimal landscape of the memories of fossils, extinct plants, and contemporary nature. Throughout his career, Gori has participated in numerous national and international projects and exhibitions in Italy, the UK and Japan. His most recent solo exhibitions include the Golden Age at the Archaeological Museum of Taranto and EstintiIl gelo e la luce at Fattoria di Celle in 2022; also in the same year, he participated in the group exhibitions Coltivare l’arte at Isola Bisentina and Collezioni del Novecento at Pistoia Musei. In 2019, the project Earthrise in collaboration with the neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso at the Museo Palazzo Fabroni Arti Visive Contemporanee, Pistoia.


Images courtesy of KALPA Art Living, Museo Etrusco Guarnacci and The Artist. Federico Gori’s portrait by Eleonora Chiti.