23 January–20th February 2015
Preview: Thursday 22 January 6-9pm

The shadows of Vesuvianna.

In Pompeii a few years ago, the siren Parthenope, daughter of Achelous God of all greek rivers, started dating the centaur Vesuvius and they went dancing. Jupiter, god of all roman gods and resident D.J of all roman clubs got jealous of the romance and transformed Vesuvius into a volcano and Parthenope into the city of Naples. Though Parthenope pressed her breast milk into her lovers crater to chill him out (as represented in the iconic Fontana delle Zizze in Naples),Vesuvius went on a lascivious vendetta against Jupiter's discotheque, which in turn destroyed the entire city. It was that night, at that club I first met the poet Caroline Mesquita.

I was immediately struck by her ability to capture the essence, the portrait and the soul of a place and its crowd. She saw things in the way later overtly phosphoric black & white photographs from the outrageous 1980's Balearian night club scene would, by flashing people held solely by the brackets of their frozen shadows. But Caroline excavated color and warmth from these silhouettes and she sang us their songs in a mineral voice featuring petrified instruments.

She told me all of this would soon be gone and she would open a club of her own, a girls-club, a Hamam of sort, where the jealousy of men would never turn good times stone cold. She would later name that club ''Vesuivianna'', the female volcano.

But Caroline's place as well as 3 villages and 80 aircrafts from the U.S Air Force's 340th Bombardment Group stationed at the Pompeii Airfield as a part of the Italian Campain of WWII were destroyed in March 1944, during Vesuvius last major activity.

A picture taken from an american aircraft during this eruption witnesses the monumentality of the colon of smoke, which just a year before the explosions of Fat Man and Little Boy on Nagasaki and Hiroschima, seems to foreshadow the attacks and the silhouettes excavated by their flashes.

Today, Mount Vesuvius, the most closely watched volcano in the world is expected to erupt again at any time. In prevision of the catastrophy, Caroline Mesquita has re-opened her girls-club.

Mathis Collins


Exhibition Hours

  Caroline Mesquita, Mathis Collins, Union Pacific, London