One of the most striking examples of industrial archaeology in Verona, the Rotonda – which in its day was one of Europe’s largest refrigeration facilities – will be open to the public during ArtVerona – from 13 to 16 October 2017 – with a spectacular event curated by Luca Massimo Barbero for Cariverona that will allow visitors to rediscover some photographs taken by Gabriele Basilico in 2005 documenting the Ex Magazzini Generali. This event marks the start of a restoration and renewal project led by Mario Botta and scheduled to begin this autumn. “Cariverona has always paid great attention to the location,” explains Luca Massimo Barbero, “because the Ex Magazzini represent that which in industrial archaeology is described as an extraordinary juncture in Verona’s industrial and commercial growth. The other is a lesser-known operation: that of saving the majority of graffiti made by young people in these spaces.”
By allowing Gabriele Basilico to photograph it, the foundation saved, as a sort of active memory, all the layers of this place. Basilico photographed it as it was. “For 95% of the photos Basilico chose a long, horizontal format emblematic of this built land, low and very powerful,” continues Barbero. “The style Basilico gives to the shots is quite important: like a sort of basso continuo, very selective, very pure, Basilico follows the lines of the horizon of this space that spreads across the land and was crossed by the railway and related to the idea of the horizon.
The Rotonda is a sort of totally rough place, deboned yet full of structure. Luca Massimo Barbero’s installation includes no aesthetic, just extreme purity in presenting the photographs with a rear projection screen that will close off one of the wings of the Rotonda, thus creating a place of performance visitors can cross. Barbero concludes: “The idea is to narrate a place that, on the one hand, is a sort of memory of ruins and, on the other, still has the energy of a factory, a grand monument to hard work. The Rotonda is not only a beautiful building, but it is one that worked and was conceived as an anti-aesthetic and, therefore, functional space, with its own aesthetic that today, however, is extraordinary.”