Eternal Spring: Sylvio Giardina’s Artistic Rite of Fashion and Rebirth “Si/lenzio” at Diocletian Baths, housed in the Roman National Museum with performer Mina Serrano and curated by Alessio de’Navasques


Dear Shaded Viewers,

SI/LENZIO was conceived as a site specific intervention with one only sculptural and monumental dress, almost an archetype, in which the echo of the myth, the dimension of the ritual, of the memory, of an eternal and ineffable feminine in transformation, are the narrative traces for an epiphany that blends fashion and performance.

In an enchanting exploration, Sylvio Giardina, through his latest project “Si/lenzio,” delves into the interplay between haute couture and visual art, weaving a narrative that speaks to the depths of human emotions. Building upon the success of /gal-le-rì-a/ at Palazzo Farnese, Giardina embarks on a journey of rejuvenation and revival, drawing inspiration from archetypal sentiments.

Within the vast expanse of the ancient Diocletian Baths, housed in the Roman National Museum, one encounters the grand dimensions of emptiness, where time stretches infinitely, and architectural remnants transform into mythological imprints of human history. It is within this mystical and chiaroscuro ambiance that a performative experience unfolds, revealing profound insights. A metaphorical spell is cast, illustrating the mechanism of shedding desires and freeing oneself from the projection of appearances. Simultaneously, the performative aspect takes shape, signifying the space that the individual body occupies—a space of agency capable of influencing both daily life and societal systems.

Like a map or a landscape, the sculptural dresses set in motion a choreography within Hall X, engaging in a transformative dance with the space. Through a centrifugal flow of processes and sensations, each element of the ensemble undergoes metamorphosis. Colors undulate, reminiscent of brushstrokes, layering themselves upon the geological strata of a textured and sculptural dimension. The dress itself becomes a canvas and an installation, blurring the lines between the two. It is within this mysterious performative realm that the visible is invited, yet the spoken remains unuttered. Immersed in an atmosphere of initiation and silence, the ineffable realm of slumber unveils an archaeology of traces. Here, the stories of countless women who have graced the Giardina atelier over the past decade intertwine. Fragments of fabric, yarns, and embroideries bear witness to the art of shaping garments on mannequins. This vibrant and iridescent mosaic of memories, encompassing past collections and special projects, encapsulates the hidden relationship between body and dress—the ritualistic nature of extraordinary occasions and intimate ceremonies. Carefully assembling and attaching this intimate fragmented archive onto fabric becomes an act of dripping, defying the codes of haute couture. It is within this creative freedom that Giardina envisions the birth of blossoms and galaxies, symbolic representations of eternal regeneration.

Drawing inspiration from the mythic figure of Persephone, the enigmatic Arretos Kore, Sylvio Giardina crafts a performance that transcends words and becomes a rite of rebirth. Euripides aptly labels her the “unspeakable girl,” embodying the essence of life itself. This divine maiden, skillfully channeled by Spanish performer Mina Serrano, exists in a realm of duality, simultaneously mother and virgin. As the sacred yet elusive embodiment of femininity, she cyclically emerges from the depths of the underworld, heralding the arrival of spring and summer. Giorgio Agamben, in his work “The Unspeakable Girl, Myth and Mystery of Kore,” describes her as life that defies definition, unbound by age, sexual identities, and societal masks.

Silence, inherent in all mystery rites, becomes the gateway to embarking on a journey of self-discovery, resonating within the grand halls of the Baths. Black and white mosaics, inscribed with the oracle of Delphi’s timeless command, “Gnothi sautòn” or “know thyself,” beckon visitors into a space where a slumbering girl, enveloped in her celestial gown adorned with blossoms, embodies an eternal spring. This tableau offers a path towards rejuvenation.

Through his latest project, Sylvio Giardina challenges the conventional expressions of fashion creation, liberating it from the constraints of temporalities, trends, and overarching fashion structures. Such an artistic endeavor evokes a collection of haute couture garments that transcend mere physicality. Instead, it delves into the realm of signs, traces, and colors, interwoven with visceral sensations. Within the dimensions of haute couture, the designer discovers a realm where reflective freedom flourishes, and sartorial design becomes the catalyst for his artistic exploration. It is a theory brought to life, demonstrating how the fashion system can be reimagined through new paradigms of creativity, in a world marked by intercontinental movement, travel, and the capitalistic forces that pervade the industry.



Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.