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Luca Monterastelli; Old Masters

On a mid-winter night, two men prepare to leave the house. They’re armed and proceed at a steady pace in the thin thread of snow covering the countryside. They are silent, as they were taught. This is how it should be done. There is an age difference between them, let’s say the youngest is the son of the first. He watches the other remain silent; this is how he teaches him, this is how things have to be done.

Luca Monterastelli; Old Masters
Installation view at "Old Masters", solo show at Keteleer gallery, Antwerp. ph by Denis Decaluwé. Courtesy Keteleer gallery
Luca Monterastelli; Old Masters
Luca Monterastelli; Old Masters

After about three-quarters of an hour, they hear the first noise. The older one doesn’t move. As they told him to, as a young man must learn to do. He calmly discovers the weapon. He shoulders it, pointing the end of the barrel to the root of the noise. Then, he’s patient.

Luca Monterastelli; Old Masters

He focuses his senses, trying to visualize the form he believes to be the cause of that sound, and where it comes from. He imagines it one claw at a time, then some feathers: one detail of the prehistoric body at a time. This is how it can be done, this is how it is done. He imagines it, one claw at a time, digging into the ground, making the dry leaves, covered by a thin layer of frost, crunch.

Luca Monterastelli; Old Masters

He imagines it loading the lower muscles to give itself a push, he also imagines feeling the small kick that the whole world undergoes under that push. Now he’s waiting for it, with his gaze directed at the point where imagination should coincide with reality, this is the right way to do it. At the end of the foliage where it is hidden, in the blue of the morning.

Luca Monterastelli; Old Masters Luca Monterastelli; Old Masters

He knows how to coordinate the direction of his gaze with that of the weapon’s barrel, over the years, he has also learned how to find the right moment to pull the trigger, this is how he can do it. He knows that if his capacity for abstraction has not deceived him, he will encounter it at the moment in which something imagined is exchanged for something real. Now, shortly. Now, very soon. The boy looks; the father misses. The black bird flies.

It’s the XVII century

Luca Monterastelli; Old Masters

At the end of the 80s of the twentieth century, a boy notices the same bird alight on an anonymous building. He catches it but does not give it much weight.

Luca Monterastelli; Old Masters

More than twenty years later, a noise of feathers stirs a boy’s attention waiting for the bus on a cold mid-winter morning. He raises his eyes, and there it is; the same bird. The same presence. He points the phone and clicks; that’s how he can do it.

Luca Monterastelli; Old Masters

The beast points its paws. It holds as tightly as it can that strip of a city that lies beneath it.

The space boy turns and walks away.

The old masters watch the scene. They know it'll still want one last tribute before nightfall.