The staircase to Ophiuchus


Grupparte is an art workshop founded by Tommaso Toncelli, Roberto Fiorentini, Marco Salvadori e Giuseppe Ianni in 2005, based in Peccioli.

In the garden of Vicolo Grotticella is a white wooden staircase leaning against a tuff wall: it leads
the visitor towards an arch in the shape of a keyhole through which the constellation of Ophiuchus
can be admired at dusk.
The staircase to Ophiucus is a site-specific work, created by Giorgio Gremignai, Roberto Fiorentini
and Tommaso Toncelli, symbolizing the way out of the labyrinths of mind.
We often hear of Ophiuchus as the thirteenth star sign. There are thirteen constellations that cross
the zodiac: in addition to the 12 which give their names to the signs, we add the Ophiuchus
constellation, crossed by the Sun, the Moon and the planets like the others, and located between
Scorpio and Sagittarius. Therefore, Ophiuchus is a constellation that crosses the zodiac, yet not a
zodiac sign.
"A hidden garden between an upper part of the town and a lower street leading to the entrance to the
historic centre. The alley is called Grotticella as probably there was originally a cave in this place,
from which water used to flow. If you look closely, the position could be that of the first moat once
built to defend the castle, later covered; yet some traces, still visible, reveal the path of the water
that surrounded the walls. From the original moat, to the high garden, from inside and outside the
city walls: what could represent and enhance this environment better than a connection between
these two parts through a staircase or a drawbridge? In our research this element of union goes
further and unites the higher with the lower; the connection is otherworldly, a stairway to a garden
of stars. This passage is not so easy and accessible and this is shown by the lock-shaped door right
at the top of the staircase, in order to indicate the difficulty and magic of going beyond and observe,
and then wonder what is behind it.
The desire to spy is the desire to know; curiosity is part of mankind and art; discovery is research;
realization is creativity. The signs on the lawn, the staircase and the wall are Ophiuchus: the serpent,
the thirteenth constellation excluded from the zodiac, despite being in the meridian of the
constellations, of those that follow the trajectory of the sun. In this regard, we enhance the position
of the border wall that indicates the west; it also indicates the cycle of the sun, being an observation
point of the horizon, where in July we will be able to see Ophiuchus. The phrase "Looking beyond”,
repeated so many times in art, approaches the most spiritual moment of creation: the cosmic one, as
well as the creation of the famous "COSMIC EGG", from which all things on earth were born; and
this constellation is proof of the duality of the world, as there is no death without life ". Tommaso


“A colorful and illuminated staircase
with imaginary artificial light
passing through the access door
in a non-existent unreal garden,
of locks and plaster flower beds.

Bright is the beginning of the morning
and the sun rises in front
radiating the ascending slopes
of the old hill of heavy tuff.

Baked bricks stacked uphill,
in senseless-looking walls,
design ways unknown to us.

Night stars in the clear sky,
colours of unusual steep steps
indicating different mood directions,
left in the chromatic aspect
of the installation placed on the mountain,
by the casual present observers.

The springing ideas flow downstream
instilling thoughts of new pathways
in the ancient village couched on the hill.

The white and blue sign
rising up the hill
shining cold over the grass
mowed for the purpose.

Other colors shine strong
like those flowers as locks,
oddly emerging to point out
a winding passage
up the steep decline,

almost supporting the bank
that unchallenged develops a way
between the stairs of a little square
and a pretentious garden,
which over time
always has a usurped name”.

Giorgio Gremignai

“The staircase to Ophiuchus
From the desire for colour, the pigments blow up will and finally the thirteenth star sign lives again
in the wheel of time; light and speed as one , impossible to stop, while the route is right; the journey
begins in the geometry greased by colour, the space is dyed and the alley becomes infinity. Shapes
emerge in an instant and become what they are: illusion and reality.
Ophiuchus, the hidden star sign, does not care about who placed that staircase; after all, time is
always right and a zodiac with twelve signs is like a clock with eleven hours, and summer certainly
can't wait. Now or never…"

Roberto Fiorentini


Roberto Fiorentini, Giorgio Gremignai, Tommaso Toncelli, La scala per Ophiucus, Fondazione Peccioliper 2010.



Artista Grupparte
Titolo Opera The staircase to Ophiuchus
Data 2010


Peccioli, Vicolo Grotticella