"While wandering the surrounding lowlands, Blanche Bruce arrived at Lugo where he encountered a cryptic text inscribed upon a marble plaque on the facade of the Estense Castle. It was here that the hovering ghost of the enigmatic Andrea Relencini emerged from the heavy fog.

More than this stone / may last the memory of / Andrea Relencini / strangled and burned here / in MDLXXXI / for judgment of the Roman Inquisition / and warn that the Church does not tolerate / shadow of freedom.

The stark incongruity of this violent anticlerical pronouncement in the midst of an Italian town was puzzling indeed. The poet Olindo Guerrini wrote it in 1907 under commission of the town of Lugo. The circumstances surrounding the installation of the plaque did not interest me at all. I was more curious about the life of the man himself than the historical aftermath that manipulated the use of his name for political purposes. Aside from the details leading up to his imprisonment, trial and martyrdom in 1581, the biography of Andrea Relencini is a tangled assortment of scattered facts and speculations. It is known that he was a Lutheran freethinker associated with an underground branch of the Protestant Reformation in Romagna and that he had vocations as a carpenter, plumber, mathematician, mechanic and engineer. It is said that he practiced his faith by reflective example, primarily consisting in the study and discussion of sacred texts rather than preaching or proselytizing. His adamant refusal of multiple offers to recant his faith in order to save his life bears solemn witness to the extraordinary depth of his moral resolve. It is this lesser known, introspective aspect of the contemplate martyr that most fascinated Blanche Bruce. The photographs that comprise this volume are the fixed ashes of time, place, situation and instance, which trace the contours of our experience in the quest to converse with the elusive shadow of freedom that is the living spirit of Andrea Relencini." (Blanche Bruce)

Blanche Bruce is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural practitioner, composer, essayist and musician. A vigilant torchbearer of the 1960’s jazz avant-garde and of the anonymous tradition, he shuns the recognition of singular authorship in favor of visitant collaborative experiences with likeminded creative thinkers. While the majority of these projects culminate in singular works of art created in cooperative duets, Blanche Bruce is also often featured in unfolding constellations of activated architecture, sculpture, sound, video, choreography and recitation under the auspices of the Lone Wolf Recital Corps. In addition to fellow members of the Sacred Order of Twilight Brothers, wherein he presides as Minister at Large, Blanche Bruce works with a consortium of international collaborators that includes Lorna Simpson, Dread Scott, James Andrew Brown, Aldert Mantje of Maat, Charles Gaines, Jamal Cyrus, Carrie Mae Weems, Filippo and Luca Nostri, Terry Adkins, Don Byron, Tameka Norris, Sherman Fleming, Demetrius Oliver, Peter Campion, Robert Wisdom, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Steffani Jemison, Clifford Owens, Joshua Mosley and Kamau Patton, among others. Blanche Bruce sightings have been reported at Addis Ababa, New York, Amsterdam, London, Rome, San Francisco, Houston, Kyoto, Moscow, Toronto, Istanbul, Oslo, Ravenna, Chicago, Los Angeles, Naples, Longyearbyen, Cairo, Zurich, New Orleans, Paris, Dublin, Luxembourg, Pyramiden, Athens, Brussels, Anchorage, Lugo, Kampala, Nome, Florence, Saratoga Springs, Oakland, Alexandria, Indianapolis and Detroit.

Shadow of Freedom

Artist book designed by Lugo Land
Second edition fifteen copies
50 pages, 29 photographs and a statement from the artist (english)
220 x 320 mm
Double softbound softcover
Edizioni del bradipo, 2013

ISBN: 978-88-906449-9-3
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