Opened on September 23, 2018 Amphisculpture is one of the most important land art projects ever made by the artist in Italy: an open-air theater of 3000 square meters, 1800 seats, the largest in central-southern Italy, created and donated from Beverly Pepper to the city of L’Aquila, designed to be built on the slopes of the Parco del Sole, close to the Basilica of Collemaggio.
“I am honored to have been called to give my artistic contribution to this beautiful city.” she wrote in a letter to the city of l’Aquila.
“When I was proposed the project, I took advantage for a visit in L’Aquila and was stunned at the beauty of the architecture and the landscape, greatly inspiring me while designing my ‘amphisculpture’.
The Abruzzi region boasts a solid theatre tradition and L’Aquila is where the Teatro Stabile is based, a company run in the past years by great directors, actors and play-writers. Up until 2009, L’Aquila’s theater industry had one of the highest percentages of spectators in all of Italy, suggesting how much the Abruzzesi appreciate and love theatre.
This city also hosts an important University, which enriches it culturally but also fills it with young women and men from all over Italy and Europe.
I always kept in mind these precious qualities of this city while designing and creating the amphitheater.
The earthquake that struck the Abruzzi region on April 6th 2009 caused the territory to fall into a grave state of emergency, which is not only human and structural, but also became social. By ‘social’ emergency I mean the necessity to allow the people to live their city and territory again, pushing them to go outdoors, in public spaces, together, for a healthy social life which every citizen has a right to. By creating a place of art, theater, culture, entertainment and environmental beauty, I hope to contribute to solving this social emergency.
I conceived my “amphisculpture” as a meeting point, a place to share, students and citizens of L’Aquila together. An environmental sculpture that people will not marly look at, but participate in, all year, in every season.
Inspired by the gorgeous stone floors of the Basilica of Saint Mary of Collemaggio, I decided to use stone of the local quarries for the theater, in harmony with the territory. Keeping in mind how cold the Abruzzi winters can be, the stage is designed to become an ice-skating rink. I wish the sculpture to participate in the people’s every day life, and I am honored to be its creator.
The practical aspects of Pepper’s sculpture characterize it as a public work destined to be utilized by the community from an ideological, aesthetic and practical point of view. The Amphisculpture is a living space, a universal theater that welcomes whoever will want to enter it and that celebrates the timeless show of nature.