Teaser of “GALLA”, curated by Valentina Sanson for LascensoreOFF, Palermo – Italy.

Exhibition  July 9th – August 25th 2019.

  • L’Ascensore
  • Zoological Museum “Pietro Doderlein”, Sistema Museale d’Ateneo dell’Università degli Studi di Palermo


Derek MF Di Fabio
 (Milan, Italy, 1987. Lives and works in Berlin and Perdaxius, Italy) is the second artist invited to L’AscensoreOFF, L’Ascensore public program curated by Valentina Sansone.


Bike tuning is an urban phenomenon, specific to the city of Palermo, Italy. Loudspeakers and sound systems assembled on bicycles generate these hybrid objects, which play very loud sound on the vehicle, whether stationary or in motion. This form of craftsmanship, particularly popular among young people, combines mechanical tradition with contemporary imagery and technology. Bike tuning is not concerned with researching design or sound. Rather, it is distinguished by a dynamics of aggregation that, for over ten years, has allowed this phenomenon to expand, without ever taking root elsewhere. Through a new and modern appropriation ritual, bike tuning has given rise to a totally free form of expression.



In the dual location of L’Ascensore and, extraordinarily, at the Zoological Museum “Pietro Doderlein” in Palermo, Di Fabio presents a series of new works created specifically for this occasion. The artist’s project for L’AscensoreOFF consists of a site-specific installation at L’Ascensore gallery in Vicolo Niscemi; two sculptures conceived in collaboration with Palermo-based bike tuner Giuseppe Varia, on display at the Zoological Museum “P. Doderlein”; and an online intervention, a 3D scan realized with FABLAB Palermo and the Zoological Museum “P. Doderlein”.



GALLA is the result of research carried out by the artist through an exchange of materials and the most widespread techniques adopted by bike tuners for the customization of their creations. The aim is to focus on the production process, as part of a phenomenon that is slowly disappearing. The selection of materials and details engender a private dimension. This is projected into public space, as a result of the acceleration produced by movement and loud sound.



The production of the objects exhibited at the Zoological Museum “P. Doderlein” involved a collaborative process, following a series of investigations and conversations in situ. Thereby, the intervention of the artist met the initiative of the bike tuners, and vice versa. The two sculptures that originate from this collaboration are envisaged for an uncertain future, where the details of the bicycle merge into an organic body, triggering a short circuit in the space of the Museum. Unlike Di Fabio’s futuristic works, in fact, the collection in the Museum is preserved in original 19th century display cases and furnishings, in the manner of a Wunderkammer.



The artist identified a number of extinct species in the Sicilian territory from the Museum’s collection. Here, the shoals of fish show ferocious and ravenous mouths, immobilized and harmless by their extinction, as well as the chemical treatment that suspends them indefinitely.



In the gallery space in Vicolo Niscemi, the artist created an environmental installation, inspired by the species in the collection of Pietro Doderlein. Starting from a series of photographs by the artist, selected details generate new sculptural elements, which animate the works: a combination of prints on fabric and found objects.



Di Fabio not only enters the space of a gallery or the public dimension of a city university museum. Simultaneously on L’Ascensore, the Zoological Museum and Goethe-Institut websites, the artist establishes a new, temporary circuit, exclusively online. This, by nature, has priviledged access to a shared space.



At its center,GALLA places an urban phenomenon as a means to investigate forms of aggregation and modes of appropriation through actions in public space. It questions possible alternatives to local mobility, for an economy that favors re-use, recycling and environmental sustainability.



The Zoological Museum “Pietro Doderlein” for zoological research and dissemination of scientific culture was founded by Prof. Doderlein in 1862. The Museum’s collection, and current location, have been open to the public since 2009. The collection consists of over 5000 specimens – fish, reptiles and amphibians, mammals, birds, invertebrates, skeletons, skulls and internal organs. Some of these, have great scientific relevance because they belong to extinct species in Sicily. The collection significantly contributes to the understanding of animal diversity and biological evolution and highlights the need for conservation of natural environments. The Museum is an important reference point for scientific culture and a center for the study and conservation of Sicilian and Mediterranean zoological material. Thanks to its particular structure, it immerses visitors in the same atmosphere that Zoologists worked in the second half of the nineteenth century.



Supported by: Goethe-Institut Palermo; FABLAB, Palermo
In collaboration with: Zoological Museum “Pietro Doderlein”, Sistema Museale d’Ateneo dell’Università degli Studi di Palermo