You don’t have the chance to walk into an artist’s mind very often. Yet, this is exactly the feeling when you cross Arnaldo Pomodoro labyrinth’s door. Inspired by the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, conceived in 1995 as an exhibition and now a permanent installation hosted in the headquarters of Fendi in Milan, it took over 15 years to complete.
Previously part of the space managed by the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, Entering the Labyrinth is open to the public only for guided tours by appointment. I had the chance to explore it thanks to WAAM TOURS, which walked us through this oneiric and massive place out of time.
Indeed, time is the very first dimension you forget when you are down there. As to build this archetypal environment the sculptor went literally underground, in the heart of what was once the Riva Calzoni building in via Solari, light was carefully reduced in order to create the feeling of a womb. Once you’re inside, bronze, copper and fiberglass all around speak Pomodoro’s unique language, and there is very little surface which is not carrying his trademark writings.
Surrounded by a compendium of his work as a sculptor and set designer for theatre and opera, you are free to wander through his signs in an almost noiseless environment (even though Milan is in full swing just a few meters above). Here, Pomodoro has unleashed his “aniconic alphabet” and has created a synthesis of his professional life that spreads across 170 m2.
Although at first it might recall the mood of a pyramid (if you’ve been into, let’s say, one of the monuments in Giza, you may feel that sense of claustrophobia at times), the labyrinth manages to reverse the vibe of a tomb, and has become a catalyst of life instead. As a matter of fact, Pomodoro’s intention was to celebrate a journey, both personal and professional, and the labyrinth became the embodiment of a career that spans over half of a century.