Nico Vascellari at the Whitworth, preview: Arcane powers & satanic legend

Suzy Prince

As winter draws to a close and we start to glimpse some greenery again, Italian artist Nico Vascellari takes over the Whitworth’s landscape gallery.

From the 25 February, visitors to the Whitworth art gallery are invited to explore the haunting installation by Italian artist Nico Vascellari, Bus de la Lum, which draws on the arcane powers of the forest and suggests the deep secrets within it. In reality, Bus de la Lum (which means ‘hole of light’) is a natural cavity located in the woodland of the Cansiglio plateau in Northern Italy. Shrouded in mystery, the void emits an eerie light that has long been associated with magic and satanic legend. During World War II the cavity acted as a death pit for hundreds of prisoners and casualties of war: this grim fact adding to the storytelling and myth making that surrounds it.

Two magical places interwoven by light, shadow and an extraordinary soundtrack

Vascellari’s installations also connects us to another place, Darvaza (otherwise known as the ‘Door to Hell’) a vast, burning crater in the desert of Turkmenistan. The stories of these are the focus of this new exhibition, the two magical places interwoven by light, shadow and an extraordinary soundtrack created in collaboration with Turkish-born musician Ghédalia Tazartès. As a musician as well as an artist, Vascellari’s work delves deeply into sound as well as visual exploration.

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