Lapidarium is a monumental sculptural work by Mexican artist Gustavo Aceves, which will be installed at important historical sites across Rome including the Colosseum, Trajans Market, the Imperial Fora and the Arch of Constantine this autumn. This evolving work is of incredible scale and ambition, being comprised of some 40 individual sculptures ranging from 3 to 8 metres in height, and some works reaching up to 12 metres in length.
Lapidarium is Aceves’ powerful response to the European migrant crisis, one of the most pressing and divisive issues of modern times. Aceves portrays the catastrophe within a long historical context, each sculpture representing a moment in time from the ancient history of diaspora. A testament to the unsettled times we live in, Lapidarium is a reminder that forced migration has been played out with brutal ferocity to countless peoples, from the Jews, Armenians and Kurds in recent history, to the thousands of migrants currently fleeing civil war and persecution from the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Cristina Ruiz spoke to Gustavo Aceves for The Art Newspaper, on the eve of the unveiling of Lapidarium on September 15th, about his inspiration and motivation for making this remarkable work. Nicholas Forrest also recently spoke to Aceves for ArtInfo, along with Naina Bajekal from Newsweek about his artistic influences and what he aims to convey with the project.
The project also featured in 1843, describing the 'sheer scale of the endeavour as astounding'.
Since the installation has been completed, Tom Kington from The Times argues Lapidarium is 'giving the city back the kind of monumental statuary it has not seen since the days of capital Rome, whilst Hannah Ellis-Petersen from The Guardian notes that 'never before has permission been granted for new artworks to stand among these ancient ruins'.