I once lived in Trieste and then moved. Later a friend asked me to do a project there so I did. This is the story.
I moved to Trieste to avoid war in 1991. The city was superbly dilapidated and smelled of long gone Austrian times. Also it smelled of last half century of miserable existence at the border between two hostile empires. If you remember the famous Churchill speech – it is here that Iron Curtain ends. And it smelled of cat piss. Below the large geopolitical tectonics, the city was always marked with the interfacing of dominant Italian and a very much present Slovenian crowd. So I decided to show that in a project.
My dear friend Pino Rosati who used to run Laboratorio P in Trieste was forced to move to Rome for few years and there he curated minimalist shows at the Lift Gallery. It was a real elevator where he invited nice people to do site specific pieces. Then suddenly after twelve years of not being in touch Pino found me and asked me to do a piece for an elevator in Trieste. It was placed in a music school that used to be a brothel before first world war.
I read the story of Trieste brothels and learned that large percentage of working girls there were Slovenians. So it became clear that there must have been some interesting cultural touch going on here. I decided to write a small Slovenian/Italian dictionary of prostitution. Here are the results:
I quite liked how the pages of the dictionary flow into each other. Also it was sweet how silver on silver resembled the coins that must have been circulating then. All in all a fun secret project.
Names of girls involved in commercial sex were frequently italianized because it helped the sales. And surely it gave the girls some identity dilemmas to contemplate. It is definitively comparable to what Jan Fabre says about Panamarenko here: