Since 1968, Luciano Fabro has extensively focused on the cartographic shape of Italy in his Italia series, which comprises sculptural works based on the familiar “boot” of the Italian peninsula and its surrounding islands. Italia all’asta depicts two silhouettes of Italy: one upright and the other flipped upside down, arranged so that the north and south ends of the country meet. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are layered on top of the mainland, uniting all three into one landmass. This fragmented map represents a series of tensions: between northern and southern Italy, mainland and islands, regional and national identities, and between the cartographic image of Italy and the symbol of nationhood it evokes.
In Italian the word asta has two meanings: “pole” and “auction.” Made during the early 1990s, a period of economic and political upheaval in Italy, the work evokes the value associated with Italian products, culture, and identity in a global context.