Vettor Pisani (Bari, 1934 - Rome, 2011), of Ischian origins on his father’s side, loved to recount that he was the son of a naval officer and a striptease dancer. His first solo exhibition, Maschile, Femminile e Androgino - Incesto e Cannibalismo in Marcel Duchamp (Masculine, Feminine and Androgynous - Incest and Cannibalism in Marcel Duchamp) held in 1970 at the Galleria La Salita in Rome, won him the Premio Pino Pascali awarded by the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Rome. Pisani combines conceptual investigation with irony, language games with role-playing, disguise with the search for truth, great history with trivial news, the sacred with the profane, the art of the past with the provocations of the present. His fluid research reaches beyond the boundaries between different disciplines, with a circular path that revolves eternally on itself, and that finds a synthesis in the model of the R.C. Theatrum - or rather ‘rosicrucian’ theater - whose first realization is presented at the Venice Biennale in 1976 and that will be taken up by the artist in different versions in the following years.
Lo Scorrevole (The Sliding) is a reproduction of the original elements (steel cable, pulley, chain, leather collar, drum pedal) used by Pisani for the performance of 1972 with Monica Strebel, made in Elisabetta Catalano’s photographic studio. In the same year, the performance was presented to the public for the first time in Kassel during Documenta 5. It was inspired by a comparison of two fundamental works by Marcel Duchamp: La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même (1915-1923) and L’Étant donnés (1946-1966). The performance showed a woman with androgynous features, naked and suspended from a gear, as in a ‘celibate machine’, a symbol of love and death, Eros and Thanatos, masculine and feminine. In 2013, the performance in collaboration with Mimma Pisani, the artist’s wife, was revived at the Madre museum for the retrospective Eroica / Antieroica: una retrospettiva (Heroic / Anti-heroic: a retrospective) curated by Andrea Viliani and Eugenio Viola.