Upwards / Downwards. Il Teatro Andromeda di Lorenzo Reina

The exhibition aims to reconstruct the poetic and at the same time scientific universe of one of the most evocative projects on the international Land Art scene, the Andromeda Theatre, imagined and created over three decades ago by the shepherd and sculptor Lorenzo Reina on the top of a hill in the Monti Sicani, overlooking a geographical and celestial space. On exhibition, in addition to the extraordinary photos taken in recent years by Christian Reina, there will be the surveys and digital models of the complex carried out by the IUAV University of Venice and the University of Trieste in 2023/2024. The latter will show also the celestial alignments – solstitial and equinoctial – of some of its tectonic and decorative elements, which make it a stellar vessel traveling towards the infinite cosmos. 

Lorenzo Reina (Agrigento, 1960) began the construction of the Andromeda Theater in 1984 on the hills overlooking the town of Santo Stefano Quisquina in Sicily. One night in the 1970s, Reina, a shepherd on the plateau, imagined while gazing enchanted at the constellation of Andromeda, the sleeping sheep arranged among the meadows just like the 108 stars visible in the sky. The first construction phase involved the definition of the correct orientation of the future theater along the east-west axis, as in the most ancient traditions linked to the foundation of sacred buildings. This operation was supported by the presence on site, since ancient times, of a large stone similar in shape to a geoid, still visible today and defined as the ‘Mother Stone’, used to establish the alignment with the setting sun on the day of the solstice in winter. In the initial construction phase, the side of the hill facing west was leveled, the one that opens up most to the landscape towards the infinite, to accommodate the stage space characterized by a small elliptical stage, made of stone and raised by a few dozen centimeters. On the opposite side, the eastern one, in the portion of land that gently rises towards the area hosting the Mother Stone, the seats of the stalls were placed, each formed by two superimposed parallelepiped blocks of Sabucina stone, rotated with respect to each other by 45°. Between 1990 and 1995, with the help of a celestial map and a wooden grid, the 108 stations were placed to form the counter-projection to the ground of the stars of the constellation of Andromeda with greatest magnitude, about 97 light years away from our planet. In the same years, these first elements were surrounded by a dry-stone wall made of irregular stones: a sort of peribolo with a Mycenaean flavor and a vaguely trapezoidal shape, characterized by some openings oriented by the artist according to archaeo-astronomical principles. Finally, the Andromeda theater establishes a further archaeo-astronomical link with the summer solstice: the setting sun on that day sets behind a large sculpted face (the Mask of the Word located to the south, near the main entrance) and slowly crosses, for about five minutes, the pinhole formed of his mouth open. If the celestial alignments described have remained unchanged, the same cannot be said of the tectonic elements of the complex: starting from October 2022, indulging a creative fire, but also the need to make the stone structure more stable, Lorenzo Reina has decided to bury the archaic theater to build its definitive version on top. The scenic space was enlarged and made circular, while the precarious dry stone wall enclosure was replaced with gigantic blocks of golden-yellow Sicilian calcarenite; finally, the floor of the stalls was covered with azole, a particular quality of grey-black sand, typical of the Etna area, used here to reduce the dazzling effects of intense daylight. The Andromeda Theater is a work in progress, in continuous transformation. Perhaps it will never end.


01. — 07. 07. 2024
— 10.00 — 00.00
mostra / exhibition
Upwards/ Downwards: il Teatro Andromeda di Lorenzo Reina

ingresso libero / free entry
la mostra sarà visitabile fino al 15. 11. 2024 / the exhibition will be open until 15. 11. 2024

a cura di / curated by
Alessio Bortot, Agostino De Rosa, Imago rerum, Università Iuav di Venezia
fotografie / photos
Christian Reina
testi, modelli digitali, scansioni laser, video, animazioni e progetto di allestimento a cura di / texts, digital models, laser scans, videos, animations and installation project by
Imago rerum: Alessio Bortot, Università degli Studi di Trieste, Agostino De Rosa, Università Iuav di Venezia, Gabriella Liva, Università Iuav di Venezia, Damiano Rossetto, Università Iuav di Venezia
modello fisico / physical model
Fabrizio Avella, Dipartimento di Architettura, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Fabrizio Lanza, architetto, Easy 3D Lab – Officina digitale Palermo
sulla base dei rilievi digitali eseguiti da / based on digital surveys carried out by
Imago rerum / Università degli Studi di Trieste, Università Iuav di Venezia
Tavolo interattivo / interactive table
Odd Agency s.r.l., Palermo
materiali audiovisivi / audiovisual setting
Pietra Pesante, Davide Gambino, Italia 2012
produzione / production
Associazione Sole Luna, Un ponte tra le culture ETS