curated by Maria Letizia Tega

For Daniele Sigalot expressing himself in a context such as that of the Reggia di Caserta is worth a great deal: there is no desire to defile a place with provocations which these days would be anachronistic, nor is there any presumption for self-praise. If anything, the idea is to incorporate his language into the building without ruining the harmony of it.

But it is not only this. The contrast between ancient and modern is certainly no novelty, nor is it a peculiarity exclusive to Sigalot. Rather, it is the creativity and the desire to experiment which unites the artist and the history of the Reggia.

The title Tutto è già vostro (Everything Is Already Yours) is a tribute to Carlo di Borbone (who was called Carlo
III once he became the sovereign of Spain). It is a reference to a quotation from the First Tome of Le Antichità di Ercolano Esposte (The Antiquities of Ercolano Revealed), a decisive work for ancient culture, originating from the activity of the Accademia Ercolanese, founded by this very illuminated sovereign. On the first page of the volume it is possible to read the words of the Ercolanesi academics addressed to the king:

“In offering Your Majesty the First Tome of the Antiquities of Ercolano and the surrounding areas, concerning a small proportion of the paintings, we feel greatly honoured by the kindness you have bestowed upon us. Everything we bring you is already yours”2

Like the academics of Ercolano, Daniele Sigalot knows that offering something to a king that already owns everything is a courageous move. It is even bolder to hope that he will be astounded by it. And if there was one Majesty in 1757, today there are thousands of visitors to the Reggia, and capturing their attention is difficult because they are already immersed in a masterpiece of beauty. Daniele’s installations are without doubt scenic-the only way not to fade into the background in the presence of the Scalone d’Onore (staircase of honour) of Vanvitelli!

In observing his works, we are witnessing a sort of postmodern trompe-l’oeil: in the scene there is an object which portrays the imitation of another object, whose appearance we recognise, until we realise one moment later that the materials used to make it are not usual. Actually they assume the opposite function.

The undisputed protagonists of the exhibition are the ideas themselves, turned into a theme: two rooms are dedicated to worshipping all the intuitions of the artist, including the wrong ones. The now obsolete image of the academic scrunching up and throwing paper when he is not satisfied with his findings comes to life in a new form. Once again, the sheets are in varnished aluminum, indistinguishable from paper if seen from a distance. The bad ideas are needed to bring forth the good ideas which are only just distinguishable from those which have been screwed up and appear less interesting.

Ultimately, in order to really understand the works of Daniele Sigalot you simply need to not take yourself too seriously, and above all, not take too seriously a situation which acclaims and turns anything into art, as long as it is incomprehensible. The elusive power of the artist does not exist. The art happens in the eyes of the observer, in its public.

Daniele tries to astound and trick the mind: these are the only rules of this game which live on ambiguities, both semantic and semiotic.

Maria Letizia Tega