Il pensiero si fa verbo

Archivio Comunale di Palermo Via Maqueda Palermo –  see catalog

An archive is a place that’s full: of shelves, books, papers and words. Of histories lived by many generations that come right down to us.

It is the antithesis of empty. What would happen if the archives were suddenly to be emptied. A blackout of memory, a dramatic break in the uninterrupted dialogue between past and present,

The exhibition Trasparenza (Transparency) by Janine von Thüngen, hosted in the premises of the historic archive of the city of Palermo, provokes reflection on these very issues: on the countless threads linking past and present, on the future of memory, on the complex process of creation and on ‘words of paper’.

The choice of location is not incidental, since the exhibition draws inspiration from this ancient and important cultural institution and is naturally at home within it. The evocative artistic itinerary starts and ends with the archive.

Site-specific installations are very common, but this is something more. A long DNA chain made of paper descends from the high ceiling of the Damiani Almeyda Room, where another exhibit is a piece of mirror-polished steel in the shape of the island of Sicily. Then there are two ‘towers of time,’ made of sheets of paper with and without writing on them, and a ‘sound shower’ made of sounds and words that accompanies visitors to the second room, where numerous stretched threads the length of the entire coastline of the island speak to us of the meshing of histories and space-time connections, of migrations, departures and returns. All this melds perfectly with the surroundings and dialogues with them.

This is a valuable opportunity for the visitor to become better acquainted with the casket of civic memory, an immersion in a different temporal dimension and in new perceptions of reality.

Eliana Calandra
Director of the Historic Archive of the City of Palermo