Every nine days (revised detail 1)

Annalisa Metta & Luca CatalanoEvery nine days

Every nine days is a site-specific landscape set up on the front lawn of the American Academy during the late winter and early spring of 2021–22. For Luca Catalano and Annalisa Metta, “The lawn is a living palimpsest animated by a never-ending choreography: its surface collects many kinds of grasses, with many shades of green and textures varying during the year; it records the passage of the gardeners and their machinery; it hosts insects and is bitten by the birds. These ‘lawn events’ are so tiny and nobody usually minds.” Catalano and Metta chose, instead, to track and highlight them.

Over the course of sixteen weeks, at nine-day intervals, they laid down a series of iron plates, neatly spaced across on the lawn. Beneath the plates, the grass yellowed or died according to the amount of time it was covered, leaving behind a variegated surface. The plates also underwent change. Patterns of rust disfigured them in beautiful swirls of color that, in their gradations, reveal varying exposures to the life of the lawn.

Now indoors, the plates are protected. But by inviting visitors to walk on top of them, Catalano and Metta refuse their work any preciousness. The changes wrought by nature are just one stage in its ongoing evolution. Every nine days is thus a meditation on the creative force present in decay, and on what it means to leave imprints at this crucial juncture in our relationship with the planet. (ER)

About the artist

Annalisa Metta was born in 1977 in Canosa di Puglia, Italy. She was the 2017 Enel Foundation Italian Fellow in Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome. She lives and works in Rome as an associate professor of landscape architecture at the Università degli Studi Roma Tre.

Luca Catalano was born in Rome in 1974, where he lives and works. An architect and landscape architect, he is a founding partner of OS A, a design office based in Rome. Catalano has been awarded numerous projects, including the winning entries for Alibeyköy Park in Istanbul (2020, under construction), the new site of Fondazione La Quadriennale in the Papal Arsenal in Rome (2019), and the South Archaeological Promenade on Palatine Hill in Rome, which opened in 2018. He also authored the runner-up entry for Morandi Bridge Park in Genoa (2019).

Every nine days (revised detail 2)
Annalisa Metta and Luca Catalano, Every nine days, 2021–2022
(artwork © Annalisa Metta and Luca Catalano; all photographs by Daniele Molajoli)
Every nine days (revised detail 3)
Every nine days (revised detail 4)