fabrizio cicero's controversial 'minchia' luminaria: a shining swear word in the sky

fabrizio cicero's controversial 'minchia' luminaria: a shining swear word in the sky

on the twelfth edition of manifesta, the nomadic biennial of contemporary art & culture, a play on words has caused a stir. a walk through the historic centre of palermo, this years hosting city, an installation by the artist fabrizio cicero titled ‘aichnim‘ greets visitors with a controversial display of lights. known as a luminaria – a popular icon of festive events in southern italy – the controversy arises from a similarly local expression. at the center of the luminaria is the sicilian term ‘minchia’, local dialect that indicates the male sexual organ, a crying out of the word ‘d**k’. it serves as no surprise then, that after appearing on the day of the pope’s visit to the city, it has ruffled a few feathers.


but beyond its most vulgar derivation, the term has evolved to become an expression of exclamation, of contempt, of appreciation or of amazement. travelling to the northern parts of italy because of the huge immigration of citizens from the south, it has also gone onto produce terms such as minchiado (to indicate nonsense) or minchione, to indicate a silly person (i.e the one who, in the northernmost dialects, is called coglione). it is this play on language and its complex routes that has provoked cicerco’s inclusion of the phrase.

fabrizio cicero's controversial 'minchia' luminaria: a shining swear word in the sky

courtesy of guidasicilia



minchia becomes a luminous writing, a period of time, where the word resounds like an echo of the past, still welcoming foreigners and citizens who cross it’, cicero explains. ‘the intermittency is a beacon in the night, a meeting point between yesterday and today, between outside and inside. what may seem like a desecrating and ingenuously breaking operation, is instead a small, modest hymn to the sacred ‘.


‘what may seem like a desecrating and ingenuously breaking operation’, cicero explained la repubblica, ‘is instead a small, modest hymn to the sacred. write a dirty word in the sky or re-appropriate the most ancient sense of the sacred through an art, among the most recent, from the origins associated with religious celebrations: the lumen symbol of life and tension towards the heavenly home’.


source: attribune

  • Whoever does not have art shocks the public to draw attention, since they haven’t artistic endowments…
    This lay public, perplexed, unable to define what is art and what is just absurd deformity, applauds ceramic urinals and the genital organ that is used to urinate on it.
    Viva Pompeia! …

    Sérgio Werneck de Figueiredo says:

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