The paper artwork competing in the 2016 edition, the eighth in Biennale’s history, was then part of the permanent Biennial exhibition displayed inside the city walls of Lucca.
In 2021, for the 10th edition, “Hoodie” returned to Piazza San Frediano to pay homage to the history of the event, never ceasing to strike passersby and tourists with its grandeur and mysterious charm.
With this work, artist Michael Stutz expressed what for him was the underlying theme of the 2016 edition: “Boundaries and Perspectives.” “Hoodie” is the classic hoodie that we all use. In particular, this item of clothing is related to the African American community, which once resided in the slums of large American metropolises called the “Hood.” But also of the immigrants during the Lampedusa landings who at that time were the protagonists of sad deaths and unfortunate events still ongoing today. “Hoodie” is thus much more than a garment, it is a true economic marker that marks a boundary between contrasting communities.
Majestic and scenic paper giant that had brought Lucca to the world through an Apple News+ commercial with the church of San Frediano in the background, no longer exists: it was set on fire by a vandal who was later tracked down and denounced by the police and the organizers of the Biennale.
These are the words the artist shared on social media:
“My cardboard sculpture, “Hoodie,” from 2016 that lived within the walls of Lucca, Italy, has been destroyed. “Hoodie” was known in Lucca since I built it there for the Biennale, a celebration of art in paper and cardboard. It was a sculpture that marked a moment of change in my life-and that it still existed 6 years later made me feel grateful that Italians loved my art. A 24-year-old man set it on fire only to be arrested thanks to security camera footage. Everything changes-and very few of my monumental cardboard works survive-but I am sad-the message of the work had much greater power than I had ever imagined.”
The bitterness and sorrow that is touching us has no words “Hoodie” was part of the Biennial, almost the iconic symbol that has accompanied us for the past few years. One of us. Although it is not one of the first sculpture vandalizations, we will never tire of our mission to cultural and artistic awareness, with the hope that the world will get better sooner or later.