Exploded view

workshop at the Via Appia Antica in Rome

Report workshop by written Molly Crowe, ERASMUS+ student fine art 2019

From the 19th until 28th November 2019, 10 3rd year students of the fine arts department from the Arts Faculty of Maastricht participated in a 10 Days workshop called ‘Exploded view` at MACRO - Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma and Ex-Cartiera Latina in Rome, Italy initiated by Krien Clevis.

The workshop is an important addition to the so-called project Exploded View, which is an international project that involves artists, scholars, and practitioners in a joint research process focused on landscapes in transition. This project focuses on two different but also comparable landscape parks in an urban context in two capital cities in Europe: Rome and Amsterdam. In Rome, the project examines the Parco Regionale dell’Appia Antica, with the aim of making it visible and experienceable through all layers of meanings and memories, as in an ‘exploded view’. The final exhibition in Rome, as a result of the Artistic Research – carried out so far by a group of Dutch and Italian artists – will present at the Ex-Cartiera Latina at the Parco Regionale dell’Appia Antica in November (Opening Nov.15, with a pre-opening Nov.14 at MACRO Asilo), curated by dr. Krien Clevis and Daniela de Paulis.


Krien Clevis is a lecturer at the Faculty of the Arts, Maastricht, where she teaches Artistic Research at the Fine Arts department (BA&MA). She works as a photographer/researcher and curator (Ph.D.) on long-term projects in Rome and the Netherlands. In her research, she investigated the notion and quality of ‘place’ – especially in the power of transition – and confronted this artistic research with archaeological debates about the place. Her research combines historical/archaeological, artistic, and personal exploration of locations, with the aim of adding new or alternative meaning to layered places. Currently, she is working on a research project on the Via Appia Antica in Rome: Exploded View, in collaboration with the Interfaculty Research Institute CLUE+/VU University Amsterdam (where she works as a research fellow), and carries out with Roman partners. See also:

http://krienclevis.com/ .

How everything finds its place

Because of the project Exploded View with Dr. Krien Clevis her initiation opened the opportunity in part of the ERASMUS+ Programme to 3rd-year students of the Fine Arts department the collaboration with Dr. Dario Evola (prof. Esthetica and Cultural Heritage of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma), Dr. Irene Scaturro (Adjunct Professor, Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma and the Sapienza University of Rome), and to students Fine Art, Cultural Heritage and Communication. 

Topics of the workshop are Changing Landscapes, Archiving the Via Appia Antica, and Experimental Heritage, around the current exhibition Exploded View, as a result of a long-term research project with international artists working at the Via Appia Antica, Rome. 

The aim is to look at the changing landscape and the heritage of the Parco Regionale dell’Appia Antica in different and experimental ways. The emphasis is on learning from each other, as part of a learning community. 

The Workshop opened the fine art students to the occasion to work together in the elaboration of new ways of thinking about historical patrimony in the city with students of the Accademia Belle Arti Roma, as well as some artists from the project and Fine Arts alumni Eline Kersten and Maarten Davidse and established Italian artists such as Daniela de Paulis and Performance artist Paola Romoli Venturi

The Via Appia Antica

The Via Appia Antica in Rome or also the Appian Way or Queen of the Roads i s one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads of the ancient republic. The construction of which, dates from 312 BC under the consul Appius Claudius Caecus. Today, the Via Appia as state road 7 is an important part of the Italian trunk road network and largely has the same route as the ancient road. It runs for about 540 km and it connects Rome to Brindisi, in southeast Italy. 

The area of the Park around Via Appia Antica could be an additional cultural development for the district city of Rome but from the inside view given by the archaeological team of Dr.Caterina Rossetti (archaeologist of the Parco Regionale dell’Appia Antica). it has been neglected or to say it has not been in the focus yet. 

During the workshop, the students were given inside views into the processes of Caterina Rossetti, who is working on bringing the cultural heritages of the via Appia in focus by exploring its importance which is world-class, because of its uniqueness, authenticity, and integrity.

Experiencing the Via Appian Way

One day during the workshop the students and Krien Clevis hiked the first 11 miles of the ancient via Appia Antica, starting point at the Ex-Cartiera. Near, where it gets riskily busy by hastily Italian traffic road crossing, is where you meet the ‘Domine Quo Vadis’ church, on a charming quiet movie backdrop. According to legend, Jesus met Peter at this point. Peter was fleeing Rome at the time, but returned to Rome after this meeting with Jesus, to be crucified, but the other way around Jesus Christ. 

Although the rainy weather accompanied the eight exploring artists, they discovered many different areas. They passed through superficial front yards of very wealthy homeowners down to bourgeois townhouses. Through busy Italian traffic up to swamp-type quarters to old ruins and catacombs, over to bogland and wine yards to farmlands, - to sheepers resting under threes, in the midday, having lunch. At parts, they had to stop and wait for cows and goats passing across Via Appia - through their fields or to catch a glimpse behind the fences seeing Rome from the distance and the hills on the horizon. At parts, they were accompanied for a couple of miles by a heart-warming stray gray kitten. 

The exploring artist walked over ancient enshrined cobblestones or jumped over hedges to escape the river-flooding puddles of rain and even climbed field walls here used as bridges. 

 The history which lays beneath us

Besides these adventurous experiences the significance of the via Appia Antica is shown by its dreamy landscapes which start right at the beginning after about tree Miles you will reach the best preserved section of the road.

Here you can also see the remains of the Circus von Maxentius,an old racetrack. The obelisk, which originally stood in front of the circus, was erected in Piazza Navona.  The Villa of the Quintilierwas a luxurious villa on Via Appia outside of Rome. It was built around 150 AD by the brothers Sextus Quintilius Valerius Maximus and Sextus Quintilius Condianus, who were consuls in 151 AD. The ruins of the villa now span a relatively large area between Via Appia Antica and Via Appia Nuova. The buildings date from the 2nd to the 4th century. The most striking part of the building is the rest of a large nymphaeum directly on Via Appia Antica, which was originally the entrance to the complex. In the Middle Ages, the counts of Tusculum converted this nymphaeum into a fortress to control the Via Appia.

From here you see more and more grave monuments, probably because these places were cheaper outside of the city. The most famous and largest tomb is that of Caecilia Metella, about five kilometers outside the city. She was the daughter of an important general under Emperor Caesar. 

Artistic Research in practise

These and many many more astonishing memories gave the starting point for the second part of the workshop which led to the exchange of results of the participants' research and ideas developed through the experience of the space of Via Appia Antica. This opportunity to meet gave the participants an exchange of many facets of life and learning in Europe. 

Additionally, the collaboration work results were presented at the Ex-Cartiera in Rome. In whom the participants Josha Versteegh, Emma Peters, Hannah Ox, Caoimbhe Molly Crowe, Lucas van Veghel and Sten Salden were contributing their ideas and results to ‘Exploded View’ at the Ex-Cartiera and direct environment during the last week of the exhibition.