SPE - PERFORMANCE AND EXHIBITION SPACE
15 SEPTEMBER-23 DECEMBER 2018
Winning Project Of Death and Dying
Christian Fogarolli Krajany still da video full hd, color, sound PAL 16:9 stereo, 5.44 min, ed. 2 + PA. Courtesy the artist.
Christian Fogarolli is an Italian artist born in 1983. His research is characterised by the relationship of art to scientific theories and disciplines, and how the latter unconsciously serve to advance the creative medium. The work process often involves research of historical archives and uses diverse means of expression, such as environmental installations, photography, sculpture, and video, analysing the dynamics of perception of the image and of the object in relation to subjectivity. The works explore the links between normality and deviance, the relationships between different species and how they are categorised in communal and private heritage, that the artist himself, with his work, seeks to rediscover, analyse or enhance.
The project “Krajany” concerns the Bohnice psychiatric hospital in Prague and the adjoining cemetery, in which the deceased were interred; the mentally ill and suicides of the nearby facility, and also soldiers of the First World War. Fogarolli’s archival research led him to discover how, in 1916, 48 Italians from Trentino arrived at this mental institution, having been transferred from the Pergine Valsugana asylum in Trento when the region became a front line in the First World War. The mental health facilities that also housed the war-wounded were filled beyond capacity and were forced to transport many patients to institutions in other parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. These 48 individuals arrived at Bohnice in 1916 and all died within just two years, many from tuberculosis (as revealed in found registers); they were laid to rest in this place without any precise information about their burials or their identities.
It was not until 1932 that a memorial service took place in Prague, in which two commemorative stones and two urns were blessed and placed on the façade of the small chapel within the Bohnice cemetery. This commemorative initiative seems to have vanished today; the cemetery is in poor condition and the old church has been vandalised, the plaques and urns destroyed.
Eighty six years later Christian Fogarolli seeks to reconstruct the historical event in collaboration with Futura Centre for Contemporay Art in Prague, the Bohnice archive, the Eleutheria Foundation based in Prague and the Pergine Valsugana archive in Trento. After a long archival research both in Italy and the Czech Republic, the artist found the Italian Treninto persons buried there and redesigned and reconstructed the two commemorative stones. He has repositioned the first memorial stone on the façade of the building, creating a new commemorative ceremony with traditional rites and symbols. After a century of history, now these missing persons hav a name. Fogarolli has also made a video documenting the place, where he also created a performative action consisting of an unsteady walk on the ivy cloak that covers the entire area of the cemetery at Bohnice. The decomposition of bodies over the decades has created invisible and deep voids in the subsoil, making some areas dangerous to walk.
Christian Fogarolli, Krajany