Understanding Rome’s past through art from its present
If the Baths of Caracalla weren’t already on your bucket list, now is the time to add them. Located only a short walk from the Colosseum, this grandiose complex was built by Emperor Caracalla between 212 and 216 AD. The marble structures once greeted thousands of visitors daily as the second largest public baths in the Roman Empire and were used for cleansing, socializing, exercising, and visiting the library. Now, a newly restored underground portion of the baths has been open to the public. This sector underneath the exedra of the calidarium was the beating heart of the system and was continuously maintained by slaves. It holds ancient sculptures and artifacts and conveys one of the Romans’ most impressive technological advancements.
Artist Fabrizo Plessi was inspired by this underground system as well as Emperor Caracalla and the slaves who worked tirelessly to please him. His exhibition, Plessi a Caracalla: Il Segreto del Tempo or “The Secret of Time” can now be enjoyed in more than two-hundred meters of this newly-restored sector. At the start of the exhibition is large a virtual book which highlight’s Plessi’s personal history.
Plessi is an Italian artist with internationally-recognized video installations which primarily focus on the themes of water and fire. Plessi a Caracalla incorporates these themes in order to convey truths about the setting and history of the baths during this time of rediscovery. This exhibition is curated by Alberto Fiz and is organized by the Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma in collaboration with Electa.
Plessi a Caracalla is set to music by composer Michael Nyman and includes twelve video installations. One of these features a moving image of the emperor and one features a fire which commemorates the slaves who fed entire tons of wood into the furnaces on hot Roman days. Here, modern art is used as a tool to understand an ancient way of life, yet one that was also far ahead of its time. Plessi a Caracalla is a poetic feature meant to be an immersive experience for visitors, bringing history to life, uncovering its glorious secrets and extravagance while also acknowledging its pitfalls.
Till september 29, 2019
Underground of Baths of Caracalla
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 52 (Aventine)
Monday 9am – 2pm
Tuesday – Sunday 9am – 6.30pm
Entry fee: €5-11