Tiber Courtyard is an “experiment” in public space that is configured as a platform for aggregation and reflection on the future challenges of the cities and the communities that inhabit them. A new project by Greg Jager brings together art, anthropology and urban planning in Rome.
As part of Cantieri San Paolo, a project of the Municipality VIII of Rome Capital with the support of the Lazio Region and produced by the cultural association Dominio Pubblico, the artist Greg Jager has produced Tiber Courtyard, a hybrid intervention between art and design curated by Michele Trimarchi that investigates the theme of coexistence in the public space.
It is hard to find the borderline between the abandoned hangars and the faculties of Mathematics, Physics and Engineering of the Roma Tre University, the small open-air landfills, housing emergencies, a student residence under construction, the high school Cine-TV Rossellini, sports centers and the occupied and self-managed social center Acrobax. And it is even more difficult to find an interpretation of the various communities that animate the area: students, Roma families, activists, sportsmen. This is the unsettling but fascinating vision that is contemplated by crossing that bend of the river Tiber that outlines the quadrant of “Valco San Paolo”: not a real neighborhood, not a suburb, not even a victim of that phenomenon that some have called beautification.
One of those places that represents the contradictions, the full and the empty of the city, where different souls coexist, triggering spontaneous and self-regulated balances, not far from symbolic places of the capital such as the Garbatella district, the Pyramid of Cestius, the basilica of San Paolo and the banks of the Tiber.
In this “valco” Tiber Courtyard takes shape, a territorial investigation project by Greg Jager which unravels itself in a reading of a territory made up of contradictions, multitudes and balances.
In line with his rigorous artistic research between anthropology and architecture, Greg Jager transforms the public basketball court in via della Vasca Navale 6, in front of the Acrobax social center, into a device with infinite interpretative solutions in which the human body is an integral part of the artwork. Combinations of colors and shapes distort the canonical geometries of the playing field without making it impractical, to reformulate a new and choreographic social dimension, leaving open interpretations of other possibilities of coexistence in the public space. A graphic collage of styles and colors as diverse as the souls that populate the territory.
The idea was born in 2019 together with the sports association All Reds Basket Rome and took shape only in 2021 thanks to a public tender by Regione Lazio, with the support of Dominio Pubblico. The operation also triggered a spontaneous collaboration between institutions, associations and citizens, all actively involved in the restoration work of the surrounding area and in the creation of the artwork.
The artist sentences:
“Tiber Courtyard is configured as a platform for social aggregation and reflection on how aggregation systems in the public space will change. The goal is not to “gentrificate” but to seize an opportunity to pose urban, anthropological and design questions starting from the real needs and stimuli of the multiple communities that animate the urban fabric. The field is designed to be in fact a patchwork of ethnic groups, cultures, multitudes that coexist in the same environment, and some areas of the field can have a life of their own through the evocation of games, others that take shape through free interpretation. Cities as we know them now are no longer sustainable. Only by creating real bridges between the territory and the institutions is it possible to respond to the needs of communities and design the geometries of new ecosystems.”
The curator Michele Trimarchi adds:
“The urban fabric looks more and more like a broken patchwork. Cedric Price in the 1980s compared it to scrambled eggs. Until recently the dynamics of the city were governed by a spatial hierarchy and by the contrast between the center and the periphery. The new metropolitan humus, made up of different communities, versatile cultures, fertile intuitions, requires a different vision that restores the sense of belonging to the residents and the desire to explore to visitors external, in order to reconnect the material infrastructure to the social values of the urban community. “
Greg Jager (37) is a contemporary artist based in Rome. Known for his abstract aesthetics, he began practicing art in public spaces after training as a graphic designer. He has evolved his research in a geometric universe that has led him to deal with different languages, both in public and private spaces. The dialogue between art, anthropology and architecture is the main theme of his investigation. He collaborates internationally with cultural institutions, museums and galleries including MacRo, Palaexpo, Bitume Platform, Contemporary Cluster, Cerquone Gallery Madrid, B-Murals – Urban Art Center of Barcelona, Italian Cultural Institute of Barcelona and Athens.