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Massimiliano Gatti: The Day Memory Dissolved

I. I. (October 11, 2016)
On display from October 14-November 19 at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America (Columbia University), this exhibition is an artistic perspective on endangered archaeological sites in the Middle East curated by Renato Miracco.

Massimiliano Gatti presents a stunning record of work at renowned archaeological sites including Qatna, Syria, and Nineveh, in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, where the photographer joined an interdisciplinary research group led by the University of Udine. His exhibition features recent images from these ancient cities, and from around the Mesopotamian region, as well as Khorsabad, Tell Gomel, Jerwan, the Tigris, and a wall of inscription- bearing stones from the “Unrivaled Palace” of King Sennacherib.

The show of 25 color giclée inkjet prints of landscapes and artifacts embraces work from four projects: “Rovine” (“Ruins,” 2009–current), “In superficie (“On the surface,” 2014), “Limes” (in Latin, “Boundary/ border,” 2011), and “Questo è il giorno in cui la memoria si è dissolta” (“This is the day that memory dissolved,” 2016).

Gatti’s work has been lauded by Professor Jonathan Green (emeritus, University of California at Riverside) as “poems of enlightenment to direct us into a richer human and historical experience.” In these desert pictures, “the object has not only been removed from any context, but also is bleached by a blinding light, transformed from a fully articulated object into a ghost-like presence. It is vaporizing before our eyes.” This is the American debut for most of the photographs, and the collection is presented together for the first time, assembled in its intended interpretative stratification. 

This exhibition is part of “Protecting our Heritage,” a focal topic for the Washington cluster of EUNIC (the European Union National Institutes of Culture). EUNIC considers heritage as a source of identity, learning, and inspiration for present and future generations; this program is implemented with the support of UNESCO and in partnership with a number of prominent institutions, including international organizations, universities, museums, and foundations. Curated by Renato Miracco