MADRE CORAGGIO DEGLI INNOCENTI

An installation in the most austere room of Villa Romana, where all the essential elements of a convivium (plates, cutlery, tables and benches) are wrapped in white paper and paper adhesive tape. Projected on the wall are two fixed images: the relief of a baby in swaddling clothes by Andrea Della Robbia and The Slaughter of the Innocents by Domenico Ghirlandaio. This experience is in dialogue with Gülsün Karamustafa’s project the Swaddling the baby which, inspired by the stories of the Spedale degli Innocenti in Florence, addresses the essential fragility of children with the utmost delicacy. The Spedale degli Innocenti was a foundling hospital that took in illegitimate children andthose who had been abandoned or risked being abandoned. The present Museo degli Innocenti retraces the history of the Spedale and contains a large number of necklaces or pendants, mostly coins, which were broken in two by the mothers with half being attached to the abandoned child. These were a sign that one day, in better times, the mother and child could be reunited again. In Madre coraggio degli innocenti, the wrapping of the elements of the banquet recalls the swaddling clothes of Della Robbia’s newborn infants, and the tearing off that one has to perform to be able to eat is a gesture that resonates with Ghirlandaio’s painting: stimuli to provoke in the diner a critical and rebellious anxiety. The guests of Villa Romana are served a simple meal: a pea puree and bread coloured in bands that evoke the infants of the Della Robbia reliefs of the Institute of the Innocenti.

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