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La colonna del viaggiatore, the passenger column of Arnaldo Pomodoro, is a milestone, border marker or a totem pole.

Arnaldo Pomodoro
La colonna del viaggiatore, 1964

Are people born to travel?

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On our way through the room, La colonna del viaggiatore, the ‘Traveller’s Column’ by Arnaldo Pomodoro stops us in our tracks.

Just like a milestone, a boundary marker or a totem pole, the column emphasises the significance of a certain point in the room. There is a reason we often find Pomodoro’s monumental works on public squares, at roundabouts or in parks. In the Marnix building, the ‘Traveller’s Column’ has stood for years in the hall that leads on to the esplanade, the point at which the bank meets the outside world.

Pomodoro’s milestone marks not just a place but also time. Not only does the column as a form have a long architectural history, here it also seems stripped of the smooth, bronze skin that we would expect. Instead, on the surface we see a weathered landscape, strewn with notches that keep appearing. Is the column a silent witness of generations of passers-by or is it a symbol of decline? And what kind of decline? Are we looking back on the past glory of antiquity or are we looking ahead to a possible dystopian future?

Our imagination allows us to travel while standing still. It is up to art to help us build the mental bridges to distant worlds and times.