Martin Chramosta's solo exhibition at Cassata Drone Palermo.

Martin Chramosta: Anténa
3 April - 18 May, 2024
Curated by g. olmo stuppia
Cassata Drone Expanded Archive - Cassata Drone Attic Room, Palermo

An owl, a swallow, a triton, a snake and other mythological animals surround an iron 'Anténa' - a sculpture produced ad hoc for the exhibition - faithfully following the line of the sea horizon that overlooks the Khalsa, our neighborhood. The monumental sculpture, after which the site-specific exhibition nucleus of Chramosta is named, once again opens up the space of Cassata Drone in Via Malta 21, teaching us how to inhabit and to transmit peacefully. The terracotta medallions act as totemic activators as they challenge the verticality of the over 3,5 m high “Anténa”. They defy time and represent new zodiacs, deconstructing the necessities of the Gregorian calendar. The exhibition of the Swiss-Bohemian artist feeds on reminiscences: Journeys home and memories from the family archive are being welded into the symbolic architecture of Prague. With “Anténa”, Chramosta presents his first solo exhibition in Sicily. The antenna is the dominant apparatus of our age: From Niscemi, MUOS antennas propagate data fluidised into the ether to satellites that guide machines and ideas of death. Antennas spread signals of cabaret and 5G. 
The Internet of Things relies on antennas, from where it is spreading and from where it pretends to unite us. It is the new electricity. A fibre cable of light that becomes air and then returns. Partner in crime to the 'damned' repeaters on the ground, crashing us to the same ground. The rest is taken care of by 'the blood of our flats', the tamed light force. An "antennification" that glues us to the era of "overflow politics", anaesthetised by information trauma. 

The sculptural elements present a primordium: a soaring transmission to the sky. Iron welded by fire and the shapes of an inner alphabet, from which one sees a swan - the White Swan. A sculpture that becomes a radio antenna also transmitting in fm and via web, a continuous vocalisation: Bohemia, a desert country near the sea....
An Easter ritual like the Palermitan 'cassata-quas'at'. It was filled and decorated with pistachio and ricotta arabesques by the hands of Knight Guli for the Universal Exhibition in Vienna at the end of the 19th century. To turn around is the only way to a future of optimism and peace. To broadcast is always also to welcome, to pile up words, to listen to Radio, to love enemies and friends, to review the more than eighty writings of Radio Benjamin or Carlo Emilio Gadda.

In Palermo, Chramosta presents his monumental yet delicate iron sculpture in the centre of the attic, inspired by the antenna of the famous Czech shopping centre 'The White Swan' in Prague. It comes with a Soviet-fantastic flavour, telling us a sublime and private odyssey. The intimate memory of a paternal tale that becomes a counter-postcard; the need to disenchant borders and aggression through the use of forms and metal. A filiform volcano. 

A new cosmogony materialises around the public, between slender elements and transmissions obscured by the intrigues of power.  An existential gradient between landscape architecture and urban tension in the space of the 'crooked palace' bombed by the RAF in 1943. An exhibition that tries to stitch together the lacerations between south and north, east and west, welcoming the best ingredients like a fine ricotta paste. From the sanguine iron to the sweet taste, from the shape of the rational architecture of the 'Palazzo Storto' to the 'geological basin' of the Cassata Siciliana and the need to transmit and radiate. An inalienable force of the human being: the fury of utterance. From tribal totems to the deadly antennas of MUOS, for example: a need to communicate with the celestial, today like in ancient times: a need for community and single glances that channel the magical impulses of history.  
Once again, 'quas'at', a colour-sensitive bowl with an Arabic name, becomes a refined aesthetic container; unfolding before the eyes of the audience, accompanying them on an imaginative, fantastic, delicate journey. 



Anténa is an artistic research project between Bohemian and Sicilian culture curated by g. olmo stuppia. It insists to unravel the violent game of politics of all mythological, technological and ethnographic transmission, which it aims to turn into an artistic apparatus, a device for diffusion and education. The device configured by Martin Chramosta for Cassata Drone is like edgy nostalgia returning home. Like tasting an ancient food, nourishing one's heart and body. A sculpture that embraces and propagates a signal. It dialogues with the history of the Cassata Drone Expanded Archive and its political and iconological attempt to dismantle piece by piece the necessities of the armed gaze, to make art beyond simplifications and polarisations. 

Let us propose an intimate moment with the art instead, let’s touch the sculpture and look at it in a nonbelligerent way. Look how the largest and most militarized island in Europe is perceived from a multiple eye: Trinacria.
Chramosta diffuses his signal with the language he holds most dear: sculptures of metal and terracotta. If it was proto-artists who painted the caves of Marettimo and Lascaux, it is in a prism of 'primitive' decomposition that Chramosta's visual alphabet is inscribed, flowing from the Danube to the Mare Nostrum. Symbolist medallions surround his Anténa. They seal a magical time and create a fantastic pseudology capable of self-attraction, of charging even the architectural schematism of the Soviet era with affection and to offer it a singular reinterpretation. 
Around the docile signs, a new existential coinage: a cycle of terracotta medallions. The artist states: 


A series of medallions depicts motifs from the Mediterranean environment, birds in flight, beings beneath the waves. This is a templum that we are defining in the space of Via Malta, and whose signs we are perhaps trying to read. We point our metaphysical antennae at their messages. The antenna also listens.
The augur used to use the crozier to designate a square area in nature, called a templum, which - sometimes facing east - was used for observation. Here, the augur practised contemplatio, i.e. he was attentive to the various signa ("signs"). There were two main classes of signa, auguria impetrativa ("requested signs") and auguria oblativa ("unfavourable signs"). There were also five different types of signs, one of which was ex quadripedibus ("of the quadrupeds"). 

Like the pagan gods before Hermes stole knowledge from the nymphs, Chramosta plunges into a delicacy, into a long savouring of the sculpture's ferrous perfume - into an almost ephebic and playfully erotic tension, slouching along the swan's neck, immersing himself in a reverie that manufactures a furtive gaze. Like the gaze of the owl probing the dark, looking for prey - yet, no bloodshed shall take place, only rites of liberation of the mind and the body.  
Transmission occurs by touch, 'the sanguine smell of iron'. The hand of Hephaestus beating in the heart of Etna. 


g. olmo stuppia

Text: g. olmo stuppia

With the generous support of Kanton Basel-Stadt

Photo: Adriano La Licata