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Adelma - MIRABILIA, Interpretations of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, italy
locations: Torrione Angioino, Bitonto, BA, Italy - Spazio Solido, Treviso, Italy - CasaCava, Matera, Italy
years: 2018 - 2019 - 2020
curator: Antilia Gallery


City and the dead

In the ancient roman religion, Lares were divinities who represented the ancestors gods. They watched over the domestic life and property. Lararium was the spot of the house where they were worshipped; it was a little household shrine, often with the temple appearance, in which their statuettes were set in.
Aldo Rossi and Gianni Braghieri, in their description of San Cataldo cemetery project say: “urns in the shape of the Etruscan house, and the baker's grave, express forever the relationship between the empty house and the abandoned work. Since then the cemetery’s reference has been set in the architecture of the cemetery, of the house, of the city”.
In this sentence they want to highlight the close relation between funerary architecture and the architecture of the house and the city. In a sense the city of the living is not different from the one of the dead. Calvino in his disturbing journey to Adelma meets some characters in which he thinks to recognize well-known faces. A sailor, an old man, a fever victim, a vegetable vendor, a girl and an entire crowd, all of them embody figures from his past now disappeared. He concludes he could be one of the seven characters himself.
So Adelma appears from the outside as a well-known object, in a sense a domestic one, its small plaster architecture is generic but in some way monumental. It is for the living but also for the dead. Looking inside, the space expands itself and reflects the viewer seven times. If the memory is our identity, you can recognize yourself for seven times. Looking at the bottom or at the top, the space expands itself limitless. “The horizontal line pushes us towards the matter, the vertical one towards the spirit”.
[Franco Battiato]
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