Trilogy: The She Wolf as Shape of Time
The Comune di Roma, TEVERETERNO, and Fondazione Volume!
Tiber River, between Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini, Rome, Italy
Paper-backed aluminum foil and glue
Wolflight is a silver frieze of detailed silhouettes, cut from fine aluminum foil. Historical Roman She-Wolves cross Ponte Sisto and lead the public from downtown Rome, across the river and into Trastevere with a procession of iconic images adhered to the bridge and embankment walls. The fluid progression will echo the flow of the traffic, people and river.
As the main pedestrian artery of the Roman passeggiata, Ponte Sisto is traveled by thousands upon thousands of residents and visitors alike.Wolflight animates and orients the lively space, celebrating both the city’s past and its present, evoking Rome’s symbolic history in contemporary visual language.
Drawing upon the rich mythology of the City’s dawning on the banks of the Tiber, the work is luminous both day and night, magnifying the existing site and reflecting surroundings and passerby. Wolflight is a playful and evocative invitation, welcoming the public to the life and beauty of the river.
Project Background and Research
The She-Wolf has been the recognizable symbol of Rome for millennia. She is the icon of the mythological beginnings of Rome, embodying the dichotomy between nature and culture. The legendary account of the city’s origins tells of the wild she-wolf who drew the infant twins Romulus and Remus from the flooding river, saving their lives and nurturing civilization.
The She-Wolf is the icon of TEVERETERNO . In June 2005, to inaugurate the vision of TEVERETERNO, twelve majestic she-wolves were etched from the patina of history. The darkened travertine walls were simply washed, revealing the shadowed figures that had always existed. In time, they will again disappear, fading back into history.
A chronological sequence of the she-wolf image was initially conceived as a filmic metamorphosis of the icon through time. Artist and Director of TEVERETERNO, Kristin Jones worked closely with archaeologist Claudio Parisi Presicce, the foremost scholar of the She-Wolf (and now the Director of Rome’s Capitoline Museum), whogenerously offered access to his research of more than three hundred images from the archives of the Capitoline Museum and around the world. Under Presicce’s guidance, eighty images were drafted from the nearly 3,000-year history of the She-Wolf icon.
Over a three-year period, Jones worked together with Roman artist Francesca Fini to produce accurate renderings drawn directly from the historical images.
The design process for Wolflight began with the concept, informed by an understanding of the site. The work is a synthesis of many factors, incorporating the advice and involvement of a broad spectrum of individuals, which has included architects, engineers, historians, community members, city planners, and contemporaries. Ultimately, Wolflight strives to awaken a sense of the City’s origins and mythology at the source itself, the Tiber River, exploring time and place in relation to the surrounding environment.