For the third time, Assab One will once again host a large installation by Andrea Mastrovito based on books — in homage to the works produced by GEA (Grafiche Editoriali Ambrosiane), the well-known Milanese printing business whose headquarters were previously located on the premises.
‘Babel’ began as a restoration of the floors in the gallery spaces. Over the years, with the dismantling and moving of large-scale printing machinery, several parts of the green cement flooring had been removed, leaving behind a series of black areas, the two largest measuring 150 and 100 square meters respectively.
Thanks to a series of open calls in the neighbourhood, via the press and social networks, and through a dense network of contacts and friendships spanning the globe from India to America, around 3000 books with green covers were collected, published in dozens of different languages. The various covers, once removed from the books, were glued onto 1.5 mm thick boards, then sheared with a puzzle die in a uniform size, each measuring 3.5 cm by 3.5 cm.
The resulting thousands of tiles created with the book-covers became the tesserae of a huge mosaic, laid one by one, in Assab One’s large “black areas.” The resulting camouflage-like green fabric reconstructed the floor by perfectly filling in the broken parts, creating a continuum between the art work and the surrounding cement that by virtue of the joints between the pieces of the different books, established a new relationship between the various books and the various languages and cultures.
A veritable Babel of languages that does not seek the sky but spreads out across the earth!