Project designed for the permanent installation at the Pompeii Antiquarium, part of the greater work of restoration and enhancement of the complex, entrusted to the Benedetti-Di Martino studio (Spazi Consonanti).
Four bronze heliostats project beams of sunlight inside the complex. The beams don't change position thanks to the offsetting movement of the reflective surfaces, and they are redistributed by a system of mirrors and diaphragms, revealing objects through the highlighting of their details...
The Elioforo began life as part of the Antiquarium exhibition project. The project entails the permanent display of fragments, artifacts, and plaster casts in the four halls of the main part of the Antiquarium, situated in the two wings adjacent to the atrium. The intention was to forge a direct link between the outer and inner environment, with an experiment that harks back to the long-lost communion between ancient fragments and their context. These were the ideas behind the creation of the Elioforo, a light machine essentially based on the principle of the heliostat. Its aim is to direct sunlight onto the artifacts, highlighting little by little the tiniest of details, or the material itself, or brush strokes; to provide an alternative but complementary vision to the route the archaeological site suggests on an urban scale.
The poetic foundation of this installation essentially lies in its non neutral use of light. With the passage of time, sunlight provides different ways of seeing and interpreting the artifacts, highlighting or using shadow as elements in a language of associations, comparisons, and the exploration of the imaginary.
Through this device, the light of day fully retains its proper shades and colour at any time of day: from the faint pink of dawn, through the dazzling white of midday, and so on until the bright red of sunset.
In summary, the principle on which the installation is based can be described in this way: with the aid of unique astronomical software that is constantly changing its settings according to the position of the Sun during the various days and seasons, a self-propelled mirror projects its own static reflection onto a second mirror tilted at 45°. From there the beam of light vertically penetrates the room underneath, passing through a series of iris diaphragms which split the larger beam into several smaller beams.
Each one of these then strikes another mirror (the third reflection), from which the beam can be aimed directly towards its target, or in more complex cases, towards one last mirror which in turn points the beam to its final destination.
Another important element in this system is the fact that the surface of each mirror changes slightly from its centre to its outer edges: while the reflection from the centre is pointed in one single direction, as the beam of light heads towards the outer edges of the mirror, the reflection opens up with the widening of the beam, and it spreads out over a greater area.
The Elioforo is comprised of a system of four heliostats placed two by two in the skylights of the wings on the left and right sides of the atrium.
Penetrating vertically from the skylights, the main beam of light is split, and makes the first part of its journey horizontally across the room, until it reaches the aiming mirrors.
Stemming initially from the moving mirror, the Sun's rays congregate on one point, where they meet a cluster of nine iris diaphragms, controlled by nine servo-motors that obey a precise program, in turn creating and directing a show of light.