Nick Bastis’s “Sentries”
              Simone Menegoi
              “Can you see anything?” Lord Carnarvon anxiously asked Howard Carter, who was peering, through a small hole by the light of a candle, into the anteroom of the tomb of Tutankhamun. “Yes, wonderful things!” was his famous answer. Viewers who access Nick Bastis’s exhibition do not see “wonderful things”; on the contrary, because of the contrast between the dazzling Roman summer light and the semi-darkness of the gallery, for the first few seconds we see almost nothing. Nevertheless we have, like the great English archeologist, the impression of being on the threshold of a recently excavated burial space. There is no neon or halogen lamp, only daylight from the entrance door and from an arched window, normally covered, which has been opened for the occasion. A few meters from the entrance the light is already dim, and darkness reigns at the furthest end of the gallery. At first sight, the only presence in the whole vast space is an old wardrobe. Inside it we discover two cylindrical metal objects that the artist calls “flutes” (Flutes with Armoire, 2017) and two small round shapes that materialize the volume drawn by a key turning in a lock (909, 2017). Which doors are opened …

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