The artist Antonio Rovaldi brings to Bergamo the project End. Words from the Margins, New York City, presented last November at Harvard University.

The exhibition Il suono del becco del picchio, extended until August 31, 2020 and hosted in the spaces of the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, constitutes the second chapter of the project End. Words from the Margins, New York City, promoted by the GAMeC in partnership with Harvard University (Graduate School of Design), the Kunstmuseum of St Gallen, and Magazzino Italian Art in Cold Spring (NY), with which the artist was awarded the support of the fifth call of the Italian Council, the program promoting Italian contemporary art around the world, held by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity and Urban Regeneration of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.

Curated by Lorenzo Giusti, Director of the GAMeC, together with Steven Handel, Visiting Professor of Ecology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Francesca Benedetto, Design Critic, the exhibition—like the project itself—constitutes a eulogy of waking, of the physical crossing of the most marginal of spaces, and is based on the idea that it is from these
very limits—not only geographical but also political and anthropological—that a conscientious rebirth of society may be developed.

The project presents the most iconic metropolis in the world from the point of view of its city limits and the outermost edges of its five boroughs—Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island—which Rovaldi traced with his walking project, rendering the artist’s experience through a photographic series capable of representing its complexity.

In his research, Rovaldi has addressed themes such as suburban green areas in the face of the growth of cities, urban detritus, the link between photography and literary production, as well as photography as a “visual novel” built around the city. This experience gave rise to the creation of a series of images presenting an outlying and lesser-known New York, with its vast lagoons near the ocean, its highway turnoffs and uncultivated areas, many not easily accessible.

As well as the fifty analogical photographs in black and white which will adorn the walls of the exhibition space, the show will also feature a number of geographical maps produced by the landscape architect Francesca Benedetto, showing the urbanistic, geographical and meteorological transformations of the city, alongside a sound installation and two bronze
sculptures produced especially for the show.

Five Walks. NYC, 2017–2020 originates from the collaboration between the artist and the sound designer Tommaso Zerbini, and through a constant flow of voices and sounds, provides the image of an elastic geography in which the borders stretch little by little, stop after stop, with the slow and reflexive rhythm of a long walk.

The first of the two bronze sculptures represents the form of a limulus (or horseshoe crab): a Pleistocenic creature endowed with primeval armor, which washes up along the American East Coast and in particular around New York, by which the artist wishes to remind us that the edges of the city have ancient forms and stratified geological eras.

The second depicts the remains of a keyboard found along a beach in Staten Island which, placed vertically on a pedestal like a miniature monolith, may appear reminiscent of both an ancient and future godhead at the same time: a devotional object from a city submersed in the gray waters of the ocean.

The display also features the video The Rest of the Images, produced in collaboration with the director Federica Ravera: footage which documents the artist’s practices and, at the same time, the close relationship between walking, the photographic image and the construction of a sequence.



The Sound of the Woodpecker Bill: New York City, published by Humboldt Books, represents the mainstay of the whole project. It is comprised of five chapters—one for each of the five boroughs of the city—each made up of a selection of one hundred black and white photographs documenting Rovaldi’s walk around the perimeter of each area.

As well as the text by Antonio Rovaldi, the volume also includes maps produced by Francesca Benedetto and contributions from Francesca Berardi, Cecilia Canziani, Anna de Manincor, Claudia Durastanti, Lorenzo Giusti, Steven Handel, and Mario Maffi. Through their interventions, the authors share an ordinary, hidden yet distant New York, providing an essential and contemporary gaze through which to contemplate the future of the city, its neighborhoods and inhabitants.