Behind Our Backs

The irksome and evocative land art installation is the result of the artist’s socio-political position. Every element is deliberately and unstably suspended in the precious surrounding of Saint Stephen’s Church. Handmade knives are tight to stretched ropes under some big black balloons floating in space. This image recalls the unresolved ambiguity of the current models of civil, political, and religious society. The dagger, in fact, hints at a constant fight to survive, it does away with distances between bodies and translates into a material and physical conflict.


Its “gravity” lays in the fact that it keeps men in a state of primordial brutality. It is the reason behind all expressions of indifference, behind every failed attempt at freeing society of violence.


The title of the artwork, My Country on my back, also conveys the feeling of betrayal and deep mistrust felt by the men of his country, who have just experienced a dramatic struggle for independence and who are still today living through anti-government demonstrations, an economic crisis and the threat of terrorism. This is a Country that, “behind our backs”, seems to be on the verge of stabbing us and of offending our dignity. It is a Country that cannot fly nor look up, which constantly suffers its losses and fears for its freedoms. Selmani’s black balloons throw a shadow on the memory of parties and childhood games. This country on the other side of the Adriatic Sea and of the small medieval church


Exchiesetta – Polignano a Mare October 2016

Curated by: Roberto Lacarbonara, Pino Pascali Museum