EMPIRE reflects the basic building element of ancient architecture, the Roman brick, transforming it into an element with new aesthetic potential and meaning.
The installation consists of terracotta bricks, hand-crafted in the UK from clay ranging in colour from red to black. The bricks are configured as a site-specific installation – the size, shape and appearance of each installation determined by its relationship to the setting; self-supporting structures assembled without mortar and in an intrinsically stable conformation.
The work addresses the crux of the relationship between ancient spaces, archaeological heritage and the contemporary museum.
The term 'empire', with its varied and contrasting meanings, suggests figures of power and grandeur, and at the same time evokes dark scenes of coercion, domination and submission. By positioning herself at the crossroads between history and memory, between symbolic and political value, verbal language and visual experience, Benassi reflects on the relationship between the past and the present.
The work is exhibited for the first time in the UK at MOSTYN and at the Italian Institute of Culture before travelling to various venues in Rome.