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IL MONDO SOSPESO – Text by P. Gargano

The Pastoraro who creates pastori becomes in his turn a shepherd. A Spaniard screeches to a halt, enchanted on spotting a small masterpiece in the window-such a tiny masterpiece goes to the Royal Palace of Madrid, and kicks off the parable of the Scuotto brothers. Time may pass, yet these young men, craftsmen of antique and very modern art have not lost the yearning to explore, to dig into the depths of tradition and fantasy, mixing and matching-what is Naples but an eternal “mmescafrancesca”?- (a cocktail of culture and confusion!) seeking out true originality. The purity of the clay,malible and shiny, becomes a challenge. Latest proof is the exhibition “Il mondo sospeso. Presenze e assenze nel presepio napoletano.”
Documented in harmonic sequence in the beautifully photographed catalogue of Sergio Siano. In the new pastori of the Scutto brothers there is an immediate comprehension and yet a parallel and more complex vision. They make you think, if you want. Take this group-the thugs who will compete in the rustic zumpata duel.It represents the “law” of the strongest, very much in fashion. But it is contrary to the duel between the angel and the devil-the angel wins in the end,asserting hope for better things for the future. Other groups are an even further departure. The angels in triumph are classical and magnificent, but the cherub has a Grecian air. One similar to the writer of these lines may be found in the Museum of Ephesus, and was a votive object. Naples has Grecian origins. The votive offerings of the Greeks, then the Romans, were of clay, taken to the temples of the Gods, made in the stone maze of the city where the pastori workshops still spill out onto the streets. From a distance come the washerwomen on the presepe scene, the same ones the Apocryphal Gospels foretold would be the unexpected midwives of Mary. Another metaphor, washing the blood of birth from the cloths? Who knows. The certainty remains slightly off course, useful for dissolving the deeply engrained and wounded doubts of Naples. Our starting point is tradition, and we can, and we must, renew it.
Pietro Gargano “Il mondo sospeso” exhibition catalogue Chiesa di San Severo di Pendino Naples 2005


PHOTOS by Sergio Siano