Live wire: Edoardo Tresoldi’s mesmerising mesh installation in Italy

Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi’s striking public intervention on the Reggio Calabria seafront sees 46 open wire mesh columns frame the Strait of Messina

Public installation in a seafront park
Edoardo Tresoldi, Opera, a permanent public installation in a seafront park in Reggio Calabria. The composition comprises 46 columns which are each illuminated at night
(Image credit: Roberto Conte)

The Lungomare Falcomatà seafront is a historic promenade in Reggio Calabria, Italy. Overlooking the narrow Strait of Messina, and with sweeping views across the Sicilian coasts, it has been branded ‘The most beautiful kilometre in Italy.’ 

This forms the enchanting backdrop for Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi’s latest public intervention, Opera, which was commissioned by the city’s local Municipality and the Metropolitan City two years ago. 

‘The first thing that touched me about Reggio Calabria was the Strait of Messina, in my opinion, the city’s real eternal “monument”. I realised that I wanted to celebrate its contemplative quality,’ Tresoldi tells Wallpaper*. 

Edoardo Tresoldi wire mesh installation, Opera in Italy

(Image credit: Roberto Conte)

Structures - peaking at eight metres tall

Opera comprises 46 columns and creates a dialogue between its organic environment and the Strait of Messina

(Image credit: Roberto Conte)

The permanent installation, which sees 46 towering columns arranged in a mix of configurations, is created in Tresoldi’s signature medium: wire mesh, or what the artist refers to as ‘Absent Matter’. These structures - peaking at eight metres tall – are spectral, translucent and have a ‘shy and delicate physicality,’ as they frame their ever-shifting backdrop. 

In 2013, Tresoldi staged his first public sculpture. The wire mesh piece, Il Collezionista di Venti (The Winds Collector) in nearby Pizzo Calabro sees a human figure, ghost-like in its gauzy skin and contemplative in its gaze. It looks out to sea, towards the Aeolian Islands, a landscape that in turn looked directly through it. In 2016, Tresoldi created Basilica di Siponto, which earned him the Gold Medal for Italian Architecture from the Triennale di Milano and the Italian Ministry of Culture. The monumental structure saw a 12th-century Christian basilica, which had occupied the same space, resurrected through wire mesh in a marriage of contemporary art and archaeology.

In 2018, the artist created Etherea for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, a monumental temporary composition of three wire mesh buildings inspired by neoclassical and baroque architecture. Tresoldi’s ability to give new life to classical architecture and simultaneously forge new narratives gives his work an arresting quality with seemingly few physical limitations. 

A temporary installation inspired by neoclassical

Edoardo Tresoldi, Etherea, a temporary installation inspired by neoclassical and baroque architecture commissioned for Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2018

(Image credit: Roberto Conte)

Opera is a ‘tribute to Western cultural heritage’s founding archetypes’ and one Tresoldi hopes will become a new landmark for the region. Nestled in the 2,500 sq m via Giunchi park on the seafront, the installation, which is illuminated by night, sees a dialogue between organic forms and the strict rigidity of the columns.

The combination of Tresoldi’s ‘Absent Matter’, the constant environmental movement and the language of classical architecture gives Opera both a sense of permanence and ephemerality. The formation of the installation is intentionally at odds with the layout of the surrounding park. This is a tension the artist likens to music; a melodic and rhythmic counterpoint with each architectural system operating independently, yet coexisting in harmony. 

Contemplative installation frames

Tresoldi's contemplative installation frames the Strait of Messina and the distant Sicilian coasts

(Image credit: Roberto Contea)

In Opera, Tresoldi suspends viewers in a web of contradictions: reality and representation, presence and absence, static and kinetic energy. ‘The installation monumentalises the relationship between people and place by favouring simple actions like observing, listening and contemplating’, the artist reflects. 

As for what’s next, Tresoldi can’t tell us much ‘out of superstition’, but he has just launched two new creative labs: ‘Tresoldi Studio’, a design studio inspired by the artistic language of his art, and ‘Studio Studio Studio’, an interdisciplinary project creating and supporting contemporary art endeavours.

Towers with trees

(Image credit: Roberto Contea)

The narrow Strait of Messina

(Image credit: Roberto Contea)

Mesmerising mesh installation in Italy

(Image credit: Roberto Contea)


Opera is on permenant view in via Giunchi park in Reggio Calabria, Italy.

Harriet Lloyd-Smith was the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.

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