(projection, photographs, wax sculpture) – video 8’35”
The installation ‘Let’s visit the house’ tries to unravel the complex concept of relic through which religious institutions strengthen its power on the believers.
My work refers to the legend of the holy house in Loreto (Italy) and questions the sacred value of the place itself. With my research I address the history of the Virgin Mary’s cave in Nazareth (Israel) in relation to Loreto (Italy), a town near the place where I was born on the Adriatic coast. In this small town three walls are conserved that are part of the Virgin Mary’s house in Nazareth. According to the legend, the house in Nazareth was made up of three stone walls enclosing a cave. The cave is still worshipped in Nazareth, while the three walls, were transported in 1294 supposedly by angels from Nazareth to Loreto. Current historical studies reveal that the walls were probably transported to Loreto by sea by the Angeli family (‘angels’ in Italian) who were crusaders. The purpose of the crusaders, relatives of the emperors of Constantinople, was to protect and preserve the walls from the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land, after the expulsion of the Christians from Palestine. Since the Virgin Mary’s walls were removed from its original place in Nazareth to be transported to Italy, is the holiness of the relic defined by the relic itself or by its original place? Does the removal of a relic, affect the value of the relic or the place?
This installation is the result of a larger research about the political value of religious places. My research investigates the processes through which people revitalize religions as a basis for a collective identity and how the relic or a a sacred space legitimizes territorial (and thus political) claims.
Exhibition view at Wilhelmina pakhuis, Amsterdam