Sirmione, over the years, has enchanted and captured the hearts of countless generations of people with its magical atmospheres and its timeless beauty. A place that inspires romance and passion, values that have been captured and interpreted by the artist Lillo Marciano in a work that has become famous: Kiss… Please, an exhortation to kiss and love that finds its expression nowhere else more natural location.
Kiss… Please is an artwork created in 2009 by Marciano in collaboration with Marco Cordini, on the occasion of the Public Art Sirmione ’09 exhibition. The work is installed in the historic center of Sirmione, in a panoramic point on the lake which directly overlooks the Spiaggia delle Muse.
Defined by its author as a “Monument to the Kiss“, the work is a tribute to Gaius Valerius Catullus, a Roman poet (87 – 54 BC) belonging to the Veronese Valeri family and who was the owner of a house in Sirmione.
This illustrious “sirmionese” known for the intensity of the amorous passions expressed in his verses was the author of Viviamo, o mia Lesbia, we live and love, one of the most beautiful love poems of all time, in which the passionate kisses of two lovers are the protagonists of the poignant poetic narrative.
Let us live, oh my Lesbia, let us live and love
and the grumblings of the too grim old men
let’s all count them a penny.
If the sun sets it can return;
but we, as the brief light fell,
we have to sleep a perpetual night.
Oh give me a thousand kisses and a hundred more,
and another thousand and then a hundred again,
then a thousand more and a hundred more;
and when we have made many thousand,
we will mix them, so as not to know them,
and let no wicked person envy it,
when he knows that there are many kisses.
(English translation from the Italian version by Carlo Saggio, Milan 1949 – 1955)
A praise to love and kisses and a symbolic invitation that has crossed time until reaching contemporary Sirmione in the poetic language of Lillo Marciano. The artist has reinterpreted the theme through the use of an artist’s sign that welcomes and encourages lovers who arrive in the historic center of Sirmione and who willingly let themselves be convinced, demonstrating their love with a kiss against the backdrop of a magnificent view on the lake.
The charm of Kiss… Please is not limited to the setting. The installation is a work of art that exploits the pervasiveness of urban communication codes and fits into the typical language of street art, an artistic form that Marciano has explored for many years within the artistic formats of Progetto Utopia. Road signs are known all over the world, they are part of contemporary culture and their artistic reinterpretation is an effective way to communicate with people using urban language.
Over the years the work has been copied and reinterpreted in numerous other Kiss Places.