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Over forty years ago Claudio Parmiggiani (born in 1943 in Italy) developed a process he named Delocazione. The principle of this process involves the creation of an installation - in this case a library - in a space which is set on fire. Once the combustion is over, the artist removes the books and the smoke and soot traces reveal the silhouettes by default, thus revealing the trace or memory of what disappeared.

The artist describes these shadow sculptures as “sculpted by fire and time, born of fire and of its ashes”. The staging of destruction - a symbolic destruction, for in fact the books are not really burned, merely fumigated - revives memory and, through memory life itself. The prints left behind by the books removed and the soot are symbols of presences that have disappeared. Books are the remnants and the custodians of our memory. What will remain of memory when all the books have disappeared?

Parmiggiani makes what is absent present; he gives what is not there, what has disappeared, its place in the visible. There, he is raising an essential question in art: making the irrepresentable form part of the representation.

“Some places have this kind of energy; they literally throb, and others don’t. If you make a hole in the wall of any medieval cathedral, blood will come out; if you make a hole in the wall of a museum, nothing comes out. When there is nothing, you have to transform the place, give it a few kicks, shake it up, building another memory in this place without memory - your own. I have an ever-stronger desire, not to produce objects, however refined, not to put objects in space whatever way, but to create psychological spaces, evocative places that give a jolt to the senses. Places that have a voice, a heart beating in the thickness of the walls. Making the invisible sensible”.