The work was commissioned by Raul Gardini and ebbedded in the project of the monumental Palace of Arts and Spors by the architects Francesco Moschini and with the Carlo Maria Sadich.
It was Moschini – an expert in history and art and architecture criticism, and a professor with a great experience in the editorial, exhibition and curatorial activity – who, on behalf of Raul Gardini and as art consultant of the Ferruzzi Group, convinced Burri to realise his majestic sculpture.
The main theme is that of theatre, which the Umbrian artist had already investigated with another work, exhibited in 1984 at the Giardini of the Venice Biennale, which was also taken up in the pictorial masterpiece Cellotex of 1994, exhibited in Paris.
12 metres high and made up of five low arches, in its vertical elements, decorated with foliage, it is possible to see the interweaving of the pine trees of the Pine forest of Classe.
Grande Ferro R seems to underline a theatre scene, which at the same time also refers to imagination, telling the relationship of Ravenna with its historical pine forest.
The work also evocates the hull of an overturned, abandoned ship, which recalls the maritime vocation of Ravenna, a place of landing, reception and confluence of cultures. The result is not a continuous surface, but a sort of a broken bridge.