On Tuesday, March 12th, Italian artist Marco Nereo Rotelli presented the culmination of his work as Artist in Residence of Northwestern’s Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. Described as an “artist of light” by Holly Clayson, Director of the Institute and Samuel H. Kress Professor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Rotelli has explored the relationship between poetry and art through his light installations at landmarks across Europe. To celebrate the neo-gothic architecture of Deering Library, which recently underwent a renovation to re-open its main doors, Rotelli transformed Deering’s façade into a vision of luminous poetry.
The evening began in Rotelli’s studio in Kresge Hall, where the artist spoke to students, faculty, and other artists about the meaning of his “Languages of the World” exhibit. Curated by Holly Clayson, the exhibit included works from Rotelli’s “Videolanguage” series, which was inspired by the spatial magnitude of a videogame screen, and a pictorial diary dedicated to the effervescent light of Lake Michigan.
Following his talk, the group walked to Deering Library, where Rotelli’s light exhibit, composed of poems about trees, transfigured its stone walls into a page of living poetry. Students, faculty, and other guests stood transfixed by the gleaming cursive words flowing across the façade. Images of this stunning exhibit may be viewed here
Inside the library, award-winning poets Parneshia Jones, Ed Robertson, Jennifer Scappettone, Reginald Gibbons, Elise Paschen, Rachel Webster, Arica Hilton, and Ana Castillo read aloud from their work, while students and other guests wrote poetry of their own on a 100-foot scroll. Francesca Tataranni, Northwestern director of Latin instruction, led a chorus of undergraduates in a performance of medieval Latin songs.
Rotelli’s residence was co-sponsored by the Global Languages Initiative, Residential Colleges, and University Library.