Ten silent men walk around Europe. Ten giant men. They carry with them a huge steel cube where they keep scale copies of themselves and texts in a punctuated language: they know that relief is convenient to touch as well as to sight. They crossed an ocean on a monstrous ship, with a large apparatus of chains and cables. They seem to be sent from another world to communicate an urgent message to us. In fact, they are, and that is their task. Nevertheless, when we approach them, their covered mouths persist in mutism; they have been interrupted and they do not say a word. Are we sure? It is necessary to listen to silence with attention. Otherwise, it is not possible to hear anything.
To begin, it is necessary to attend to the place where their void is found. In order for a work of art to be considered as such it is necessary for an artistic object and an active subject to come in contact with each other – the role of the spectator is not limited to mere contemplation, not even in conventional instances. If the fates are favorable, an aesthetic experience happens as a living relationship between the object and its public, beyond the artist and their intentions. When it concerns monumental art that suddenly appears on public roads – such as these great bronze pilgrims – the link is established in the city as well as with the city. The city is not background scenery nor is it a hollow continent that welcomes the audience: it is a horizon of meanings that contextualizes the work in a determined and unrepeatable space, history and culture. This gives it a dynamic character as a whole, where each element – sculpture, place, distribution, and public – lives off each other in a river of senses, which – much like Heraclitus said - flows and incessantly transforms itself, which in turn transforms the work itself. Thus, these bronze statues are not the same in Brussels as in Moscow, in Rome as in London: they change at each station; they shed their contents in the new land that welcomes them and send diverse messages to the eyes and touch of the others who re-create them at every opportunity. Their trip is not innocent nor is it fortuitous: their trip was meticulously planned by Rivelino to make Europe’s silence audible, although in the end the sculptures and their witnesses were the ones who planned their true itinerary.