Michele Guido’s Garden Project is a site-specific intervention inspired by the Mediterranean garden at Palazzo Luce. Michele Guido, an artist who sees the natural world as a historical memory of places has created two fresco installations with ceramic inserts in the shady niches just below the main staircase that connects the palace’s main floor to its lower and external part. Guido draws a poetic parallel between architecture, art and botany, imagining to dilate the layers of plaster with traces of time, revealing ancient wall paintings inspired by the Flemish botanist Mathias de l’Obel. Guido’s ceramic interventions are grafted onto oak stems and leaves and painted in soft colors, creating branches that support “oak galls” with baroque forms, symbolizing the vegetal transformation evoked in the ductile material.

The oak galls which are acorns modified to accommodate the first moments of life are a result of a mechanism of mutation of plant tissue performed by insects. Guido’s creations which celebrate the mysterious balance of the ecosystem, show the circularity of the biological cycle, reflecting the ephemeral architectures of the natural world, stratifying over time, just like the architectures built by man.

The niche on the right showcases an image of a stem taken from the oak of Tricase, considered a real plant monument of Salento, whose presence is documented since the fourteenth century, the same era to which the construction of the Palace dates back. The oak also has a special link with Lecce, whose name derives from a variety of the genus Quercus, that of the Leccio. The golden acorns of the Leccio are found in the coat of arms of the city, making Guido’s work a fitting tribute to the rich history and natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

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