“DEN WEG DES TROPFENS ZU BAHNEN IHM FLUß, DER SICH DURCH DAS GERÖLL DEN WEG BAHNT.”

VIELE SEHEN ES SO, BERTOLT BRECHT

The Crocodile’s Lament, a betrayal of the original Italian title Il Piagnisteo del Coccodrillo, is how Lanfranco Aceti describes his new series of works of art created for the IPER Festival, organized by the Museo delle Periferie, and set on the banks and bridges of the Tiber with support from Tevereterno, a Rome-based non-profit art organization. This project focuses on the river Tiber (il Tevere). It critiques the futile lamentations of politicians in response to each new climate-related disaster, news of chemical compounds poisoning our rivers, and the widespread indifference to a life increasingly devoid of cultural traditions due to American digital imperialism and cultural dominance. This cultural erosion makes it easier to dilute and rewrite cultural history.

Aceti’s works stand against this backdrop with unrelenting honesty, eschewing complacency and exposing hypocrisy. In a world where art is no longer a symbol of future hopes but just a relic left in the waters of a once-great empire, the works of art create a powerful narrative. Waters and time meld together in an ancient philosophical exploration of identity, questioning whether the river remains the same or if it is the person who wades through its waters that changes. Both the people and the waters are subject to the relentless onslaught of time and a capitalistic society that believes it can set margins to restrict and constrain the flow of life — may it be cultural, social, or historical.

The Crocodile’s Lament merges past and present, creating a poignant dialogue about our environmental and cultural crises.

Aceti’s representations of the river Tiber transition from historical to contemporary, highlighting gender theory by juxtaposing ancient female matriarchal deities of water with modern a-historical representations and capitalistic consumerism of culture. The way we live — under the yoke of capitalistic subtraction of fundamental resources like water, common public spaces, and behaviors of the commons — must be acknowledged and addressed if Italy wishes to retain any shred of its cultural heritage. This includes the river Tiber, which risks falling victim to the forces of Disneyfication and McDonaldization.

Lanfranco Aceti’s new project, Il Piagnisteo del Coccodrillo, is brought to life through the curatorial partnership of Giorgio de Finis (Museo delle Periferie), Rosario Pavia (Tevereterno), and Alessandro Melis (NYIT). This compelling series of artworks is a three-part project slated for completion in December 2025. The components — The Home of the CrocodileThe Crocodile’s Lament, and A River of Crocodile Tears — present us with an analysis of the environmental transformations affecting our rivers. These alterations serve as a lens to reinterpret the cultural notions surrounding water and rivers that have been passed down through millennia.

Image Captions:

Image 1: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 2: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 3: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 4: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 5: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 6: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 7: Lanfranco Aceti,  Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 8: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 9: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 10: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 11: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 12: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 13: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 14: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.

Image 15: Lanfranco Aceti, Untitled, 2024. Print on fine art paper.