The exposition “Rebirths: the works of art recovered from debris of Amatrice and Accumoli” gives new life to the heritage of the artworks recovered from debris of the churches, currently out of context, and highlights the value of sedimentary culture in the small centers of Italian territory, part of the identity of the Rieti region local centers affected by the earthquake and national collective identity. There are 34 works from churches and religious structures of Accumoli and Amatrice, and their fractions, of the over three thousand goods brought to their rescue, and today kept in the depot at the Cittaducale Carabinieri Forestry School (Rieti). Paintings, sculptures, liturgical furnishings. The exhibition of the saved works, chronologically carried out, is accompanied by a storytelling composed of 21 photographs taken by Paolo Rosselli last September, which reconstructs the state of the places, the atmospheres and contrasts of rebirth, “the elements of material life and religious meanings in an organic whole; animals included”. To don’t forget the still evident and dramatic effects the earthquake produced.

The Works and The Rubble by Stefano Boeri

An earthquake represents a sudden and irreversible deviation from normality. In just a few seconds an earthquake erases centuries-old buildings and decade-long recollections, eradicates pieces of collective memory and conveys the disturbing uncertainty of a land that is no longer Mother Nature, but a source of pain and fear. More than anything else, with its lacerating discontinuity an earthquake moves out of our present time zone. It forces those who lived through it to seek temporary shelters in other places from which it will undoubtedly be difficult to return and it compels those who want to go back in time to chase the nostalgia of a past – the reconstruction of  “where it was and how it was” – that can never really exist again. Starting from these considerations, the salvage and recovery of a significant number of works of art housed in both sacred and civil buildings affected by the earthquake represents an opportunity to open a courageous line of thought looking at our present epoch and  the ongoing actions for reconstruction in the heart of the earthquake’s centre. For this reason we have chosen to set up a space able to present not only the value of the works on display and their recovery, but also their ability to act as temporal and spatial devices, as vectors or prisms through which to look at the places and actions of today from different depths and perspectives of artistic history. The exhibition thus offers a sort of parallel interpretation. On the left side of the four rooms of the Piccole Terme of the Diocletian complex are the works selected by the curators: panels, ornaments and sculptures which thanks to their varied richness, are witnesses to seven centuries of the history of sacred art. On the opposite side, we have instead chosen to place a sequence of great snapshots of the present by Paolo Rosselli, a master of the image and  expert in creating a chilly yet powerful aesthetic. The parallel display of artworks and the exhibition of Rosselli’s snapshots offer the visitor the opportunity to get close to those places hit by the earthquake and to reflect retrospectively on what is going to be done, what is being done and what has not been done. In addition the observer is asked to consider the genuine prospects for the secure conservation of an artistic heritage found in dozens of churches and rural buildings as well as on the reasons for a very delicate relationship between the historical-artistic safeguarding and the safety of this Cultural Heritage scattered throughout the villages and hamlets of a vast and fragile part of our Apennine territory.The visitor will have the opportunity to discover connections, references and a sense of coherency that will be useful to start a reflection otherwise made difficult by the spatial and temporal proximity of the catastrophe.

Project: Stefano Boeri Architetti
Client: Electa Editore
Location: Museo Nazionale Romano
Photo: Paolo Rosselli
Video: The Blink Fish
Year: 2017

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