Tourists in the Eternal City got a thrill last week as thousands of multicoloured balls rumbled down the Spanish Steps into the square below. In another outlandish move, Graziano Cecchini, the self-declared artist and political activist responsible for turning the Trevi fountain’s waters blood red last October, delighted tourists and enraged local officials with his second eye-catching spectacle.
‘This behaviour is not acceptable. Trying to get publicity at the expense of the city’s image is not funny’, said city hall official Jean Leonard Touadi, who arrived minutes later to inspect the incredible scene. Cecchini and his three assistants were arrested for interrupting public services and taken into police custody. Local police say the activist will likely be fined for public disorder.
Standing at the top of the famous staircase in front of the Trinita’ dei Monti church, the 54-year-old artist released 500,000 coloured plastic balls down the marble steps. Claiming it was an act of protest inspired by art, Cecchini said ‘This is an artistic operation which documents through art the problem that we have in Italy. They’re always telling us lies, both the Left and the Right’.
Prominent art critic and Milan culture superintendent Vittorio Sgarbi praised Cecchini’s latest move for being ‘consistent with the principles of contemporary artIt occupies the landscape, without asking permission and also has a surprise effect. Anarchy is a typical feature of contemporary art,’ Sgarbi affirmed.