Balena Project


2011 – 2016
23 woolen jackets

Different materials and sizes

Photo: Andrea Rossetti, Sophie Mutevelian

After the funeral (Les Funérailles de la Baleine, 2010), the Whale’s body no longer exists, although its outcomes will live on for several years. The whale’s body was completely transformed within twenty-four hours. From the remnants of this ritual slaughter came a variety of new objects-forms-thoughts: men’s jackets lined to resemble a newspaper telling the story of the whale’s travels and encounters, a hundred smaller whale-forms filled with the same material as the Mother Whale, as well as dozens of bags made from the blue plastic of the large inflatable bladder.

Between 2001 and 2015, the twenty-eight jackets made from its skin, based on an original design by Antonio Marras, were sent to an equal number of individuals chosen on a random basis, or who were already acquaintances, both in Italy and abroad (the furthest away from Greenland). I asked them to use the jackets they received in the mail like a written message, modifying them, if they wished, by attaching objects, writing or sewing things on them, adding a new chapter of the story to each one.

Like real skin, the fabric of the jackets has scars and stitches, there are parts marked by wear and tear, mending and patching. Twenty-three of them have returned.

Thanks to: Tournn Klokkernes, Silvia Berrettini, Amanda Kapousouz, Irene Zambon, Andrea Collavino, Henriette Rasmussen, Patrizia Tocci, Marco Ciriello, Janet Biggs, Benedetta Barzini, Valentina Scaglia, Alberto Cavaglion, Lella Costa, George Hollanders, Nunzio Marcelli, Louise Desbrusses, Tiffany Hunold Dehejia, Margherita Berlioz, Giorgina Bertolino, Antonio Marras, Lucy Orta, Giovanna Bignami, Alice Labadini