Memory and presence. Signs, symbols and gestures of the cristian faith


‘This is an exhibition of familiar, everyday objects and scenes: devotional plaques on houses or posts along the roadside, processions and votice offerings. A familiarity which has slowly reduced understanding and awareness. And yet an exhibition that shuns mere folklore and consequent ‘museumification’ of the exhibits which are quite rightfully seen in the vast context of symbols through which Man has expressed his relationship with the sacred. Symbols made up of objects, gestures, forms of behaviour that speak of the purpose behind human actions. Thus the procession becomes a symbol of the great ‘pilgrimage’ to the feast made by every individual and by humanity as a whole and the model for all human enterprise, highlighting its every true and secret inner meaning. The relationships that are built up in preparing a procession or a crèche are numerous and form a whole new series of bonds that provide a model for a new society. All the pictures on show can be viewed as a fascinating link between past and present. They are evidence of a faith still very much alive and of past miracles. They teach about the doctrine of faith through gestures deep-rooted in the past and show how human beings have lived and practised their religious beliefs. All the pictures relate to a well defined area – Bologna, Modena, Rimini – but could just as well refer to any other part of Europe. The gestures depicted relate Man to a network of meaning and destiny thereby allowing him to maintain a wide outlook; as Sinjavskij so rightly says, ‘by fasting and keeping the holy days, Man lived in accordance with a calendar of common history beginning with Adam and ending with the Day of Judgement. The peasant had a permanent bond with the immense creation of the world and breathed in unison with the planet alongside Adam… before taking up his spoon to eat the peasant crossed himself and by this single reflex gesture bound himself to the earth and heavens, to the past and future’. These gestures and forms of behaviour are like ‘milestones” along the road modern Man treads toward God and testify to the certainty of our belonging, while at the same time re-presenting it, thereby showing once again today the profound soundness of faith.’


20 Agosto 1988 - 27 Agosto 1988


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions