Costantino Ciervo

"mare nostrum"
Synchronised and computer-controlled 3-channel video sculpture, with a poem by Marco Mantello, 97 x 171,5 x 19 cm, 2020

In terms of content, Costantino Ciervo refers to the theme of habitats in the sense of borders, migration, nations, human rights and anthropological exodus. mare nostrum shows a three-part video under which the title of the work mare nostrum shines in white neon lettering. In the animated video, a poetic text by Marco Mantello is embroidered with red yarn into a billowing sea surface.


Quando dici legalità, al singolare
quasi ce ne fosse una sola
che sia sacra di suo e solo perché legale
Tu confondi questa lurida morale
dei fatti nostri e del casa tua
con tutti i nomi dei morti in mare

If you say it´s the Law
in its singular form
like there´s only one Law
that is sacred itself on the earth
you confuse moral theory
of your business and home
with the names of the dead
written in water and not in stone

(Wenn du von Gesetz sprichst
im Singular, als gäbe es nur ein Gesetz
als sei es heilig, nur weil es legal ist
verwechselst du die Moral
deiner Angelegenheiten und deines Hauses
mit den ins Wasser geschriebenen Namen der Toten im Meer)


„Sew in the Sea“
Video installation with old sewing machines, dimensions variable, 2019

The videos of the installation Sew in the Sea show data from shipwrecks in the Mediterranean between 2011 and 2017, each with over 200 fatalities, in an endless loop. Sober sequences of numbers as symbols of great tragedies, sewn into the surface of the sea as a signal red stitching.

At the centre of this is the concept of "exodus" or rather the expanded concept of liberation in the sense of the emancipatory struggle that is inherent in us humans. Exodus not only reminds us of the causes and foundations of global inequality, the consequences of post-colonial exploitation and the functionality of never-ending war, but it makes it impossible for us to close our eyes to these contexts.


COSTANTINO CIERVO, *1961, Naples (IT), has lived and worked in Berlin since 1984.
The range of themes in the works of the video and media artist from Naples includes upheavals in the field of scientific and technological research and development, especially computer science, AI and communication technology, as well as ethical and philosophical questions with regard to the complexity of human relationships.

Through different forms of expression and the use of various media such as installation, video sculpture, performance but also photography, drawing and collage, Ciervo explores the complex mechanisms of society and culture in the capitalist world in dialogue with the audience. His works are exhibited at home and abroad and have been shown at the Museum Tinguely (Basel), ZKM Karlsruhe, Kunstmuseum Centre Pasquart (Biel), Fondazione Mudima (Milan), National Museum of Contemporary Art (Seoul), Kunstverein Erfurt, Museumsquartier Wien, KW Berlin and the Venice Biennale, among others. The Museum Fluxus+ in Potsdam shows work complexes from various creative phases in its permanent exhibition.


Marco Mantello was born in Rome in 1972. He lives in Berlin. His first works were published in the Italian magazine Nuovi Argomenti. His first novel, La rabbia, was a finalist in the "Dozen" of the 2012 Italian literary prize "Premio Strega". For the last ten years, Marco has been working in Berlin on a seven-part dystopian series called Abendland. He recently signed a contract with Neri Pozza Editore and his next novel, Marie Gulpin, will be published in December 2022. He has written three books of poetry and is included in the anthology of Italian writers Italville: New Italian Writing (Exile Editions, 2005).