The Prison of Santo Stefano,2011 is informed by research into the state of detention. Focusing on a prisoner’s general conditions, Biscotti analyses the psychological effects caused by isolation, the aim of which is to destroy physical and intellectual abilities. The project was developed inside the first prison built for life imprisonment, which opened its doors in 1793 on the island of Santo Stefano, 50 km from the Italian coastline. The prison is a Panopticon resembling the San Carlo Opera Theatre in Naples. The panoptic structure, developed by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), expresses the desire of institutional powers to punish the prisoner and annul his identity with the constant sensation of being controlled.
As with her earlier works Il Processo (The Trial), 2010–11, the sculptures presented are based on imprints of specific parts of the prison’s floor, symbolizing its physical and existential restrictions. The sculptures have been made of lead sheeting in a process that involves the transport of the lead to and from the island. An artist’s publication in the gallery series, which documents the process of making the work, is part of the project. The publication can be ordered for 10 euro through the gallery or through Motto, Berlin, Pro QM, Berlin and Boekie Woekie, Amsterdam.