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ON THE VERGE OF (2017; wood, marine paint; H250 x 98W x 225D cm.) by artist Francesca Vivenza is located in the garden of the Consulate General of Italy, 136 Beverley Street, Toronto, (on the North West corner of Beverley Street and Dundas Street-across from the AGO).

The work mimics a catapult, or “mangonel”, a wooden construction employed in warfare against fortifications since at least 399 B. C., as the historian Diodorus Siculus writes. During the battle, the catapult faced the walls of the castle: from its long arm missiles of many sorts were ejected over the walls, from stones to body parts, to kill and scare the enemy.

This work was commissioned by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura on the occasion of Castello Italia, the Italian National Day celebration held at Casa Loma on June 4, 2017, and where the catapult historical warfare position was reversed: it faced the city. On the top of its arm sits the maquette of a house, the icon of stability and traditional values. Here, though, its precarious balance suggests that the house verges between the margin of a place - the top of the arm, or spoon - and the possibility to be launched away. Hence the artist presents On the Verge of both as a menacing catapult and a big toy, which suggests two contradicting concepts: the situation of the house implies instability or an act of force, but conversely, the possibility of the launch invites the viewer to set free of these fears. Thus the artist offers a visual equation of the contradictory nature of human desire: the struggle between assimilation and marginality, complicity and escape.

Francesca Vivenza is a mixed-media artist who lives and works in Toronto. Her works include site-specific installations and artist’s books, that she calls Tentative Itineraries. In her work, Vivenza addresses themes of travel, conquest and displacement and questions the stability of taken for granted sites of personal identity as home, nation and native language.

Born in Rome, Italy, in 1941, Vivenza graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts (Brera), Milan, and has exhibited internationally since 1971. In March, 2017, she has exhibited Tentative Language, a series of works on paper based on a research on the bilingual brain, at Il Gabbiano-Arte Contemporanea, La Spezia, Italy. She is also participating as one of the artists of Central Canada to the Benetton’s project, Imago Mundi, exhibited at Palazzo Loredan, in Venice, Italy, August 29 to October 29, 2017.


Date: From Tuesday, August 08, 2017 To Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

In collaboration with : Consolato Generale d'Italia in Toronto

Entrance : Free


In the garden of the Consulate General of Italy 136 Beverley Street, Toronto M5T1Y5