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From Italian opera to Bosch Parade. That step is actually not that big, explains Simone Serlenga. The scenographer from Turin created The Voyage of the Ship of Fools, a magical sculpture that depicts our stubborn desire for ever more and bigger – while the real beauty lies elsewhere, deep inside us.

He once worked for Italy’s leading opera houses, creating sets and installations. Simone: “Those theatres and opera houses are often huge massive spaces. Using scenography, you create mysteries there, and thus surprises. That’s always a challenge, a fun mind game.” 

Currently, Simone designs “site-specific environments in a language that interweaves contemporary set design, film, theatre, new media and architecture”. And he regularly does so for big names in the world of design. Simone: “I designed installations and sets for Elle, Coca Cola, Volkswagen, Paris Fashion Week, the MoMa in New York, among others. And so now for Bosch Parade.”

He had already been to ‘s-Hertogenbosch once, to see Hieronymus Bosch; he did not yet know Bosche Parade. Simone: “Someone forwarded me the call. I was immediately interested. Partly because of that link with Hieronymus Bosch; I am a huge admirer and find his works very interesting. For me, they are dreams in the past.” So when he brainstormed a design for Bosch Parade with architect friend Amy Evans and costume designer María Camorino Bua, the inspiration was obvious. Simone: “Hieronymus. I think his Garden of Earthly Delights and Ship of Fools are such meaningful paintings.”

The Voyage of the Ship of Fools is an ingenious, sparkling and ever-changing floating construction that amazes and surprises. Simone: “We managed to follow Bosch’s paintings very closely.” The object consists of several layers that peel off “like an orange” to reveal the core. Simone: “The Voyage of the Ship of Fools shows that while an outside may be beautiful, the inside is almost always more interesting. That’s where the purity and beauty reside, that’s where you find the dreams we should follow. We show that you have to give those mysteries room to emerge. So that they can be loved.” 

The Voyage of the Ship of Fools is musically accompanied by the Helmonds Vocal Ensemble.