Fogli Fossili or how to deal with dark pages in history?

One of the most intriguing spots in Pesaro is the ,,environment” created by students and professors of the Mengaroni Art Institute on one of the corners of the busy Piazza del Populo”, right in the historical center of the town (1). This environment is in fact a monument for the commemoration of the racist laws under the Mussolini-regime in 1938, by which students and their teachers of Jewish origin were expelled from the schools. Moreover it was extra-intriguing to me, because we had in Ostend a very similar experience with the inauguration of six Jewish names on the commemorate plate of our school in May last year. Also in Ostend there were attempts of political recuperation of this essay of rectification of history.

,,Fogli Fossili” is a humble environment. You walk easily over it, passing by, as a passenger, like in any town, you visit, where everything seems peaceful and quiet. Nothing remembers the horror that took place on that same quiet and at the same time cheerful piazza, seventy years ago. Walking over history is what the creators had in mind, therefor they choose the floortiles and not the usual commemoration wall. ,,Fogli Fossili” is a strong environment for a second reason: it stresses the strength of the written word, superior to the spoken word, because of its material weight. The creators made prints of important administrative documents in which the exclusion of the Jewish community was organised at that time, they were photopressed and reprinted on baked floortiles and as such integrated into the footpath of the piazza. In doing so they refer also to the almost 2000 year old ceramic and mosaïc history of the city.

How strong a work of art can be in saving history to our mind, was shown shortly after the inauguration. A local newspaper ,,Il Resto del Carlino” was confronted with its own fascist history and articles and choosed to play the role of the victim, after some graffiti attacks on its walls, an indirect result of the ,,Fogli”? Anyhow a political riot was born and the students had to adapt and thus censure the title of the above mentioned newspaper… Black pages in history how do we deal with them?

,,Ma non cancella la storia
la testata cancellata,
nè la razziale memoria
dal “Carlino” pubblicata…
Ieri e oggi, fuori e dentro la scuola,
o amici o nemici della parola.” (2)

The editor of ,,Il Resto…” Giancarlo Mazzuca made a few months later a transfer to a political career, incoincidentally on Berlusconi’s PdL. (3) The ,,uncensored” tile from which the headtitle of the journal was cancelled you can see it on the link under (4).

         

___________________________

(1) Further photographs of Mengaroni Art Institute concerning the project: http://www.isamengaroni.it/viewdoc.asp?co_id=154

(2) Poem of Gianni d’Elia: http://www.radiopereira.it/2011/04/gianni-d-elia-sulla-censura-dei-fogli-fossili.html

(3) http://www.thefrogs.it/2009/01/un-funerale-al-posto-del-compleanno/

(4) http://www.flickr.com/photos/colonesifrancesco/2247858813/

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