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PHOTOGRAPHY AND CATASTROPHE. Antonio Di Cecco in dialogue with the collections of the Photo Library

matter and form

Catastrophic events generate chaotic forms on matter. From the phase of the emergency to that of reconstruction, they are repeatedly remodelled: rubble and fragments are first accumulated, then classified and re-sited on the basis of the types and materials of which they are composed.
The sequence proposes a visual short-circuit starting with some photographic images of the post-quake scenarios in the crater of the earthquake that struck L’Aquila in 2009. These shots are placed in dialogue with the spatial interpretation elaborated by Giovanni Michelucci for the design of the church of the Immacolata Concezione della Vergine at Longarone, the little town destroyed by the disaster of the Vajont dam in 1963. From the abstraction of the design to the materiality of the model, his creative process is documented by the photographic reproductions of Ivo Bazzecchi, conserved in the holdings of the Photothek of the KHI in Florence. Michelucci’s sketches are alternated with different morphologies of material identified by Antonio Di Cecco in the Italian territories struck by earthquakes over the last decade: from partial and hollowed-out examples of civil architecture to the remains of the basilica of San Benedetto at Norcia — to which the temporary covers give a novel and dramatic image —, to the emergency structures shoring up the town walls of Norcia, which themselves collapsed following further tremors, revealing an interrupted and multilinear time sequence of post-earthquake scenarios and interventions.


Antonio Di Cecco // AMATRICE (Rieti), August 2017 // Corso Umberto I, shoring up of the rubble and preparations for the first anniversary of the earthquake on 24 August 2016.

Antonio Di Cecco // ONNA (L'Aquila), September 2011 // Temporary stockpile of iron following a demolition. Onna was severely damaged by the earthquake that struck L’Aquila and its environs on 6 April 2009.

Ivo Bazzecchi, 1968/69, gelatin silver print, inv. KHI no. 498963 // Giovanni Michelucci, Sketch for the project of the church of the Immacolata Concezione della Vergine at Longarone (Pistoia, Centro di Documentazione Giovanni Michelucci, AD0204) // The town of Longarone (Belluno) was swept away by a deluge of mud and water on 9 October 1963, following the landslide precipitated from Monte Toc in the vicinity of the Vajont hydroelectric reservoir.

Ivo Bazzecchi, 1968/69, gelatin silver print, inv. KHI no. 498922 // Giovanni Michelucci, Sketch for the project of the church of the Immacolata Concezione della Vergine at Longarone (Pistoia, Centro di Documentazione Giovanni Michelucci, AD0186).

Box of the Architecture Section, folder for L’Aquila, Photo Library of the KHI

Antonio Di Cecco // TEMPERA (L’Aquila), September 2010.

Ivo Bazzecchi, 1968/69, gelatin silver print, inv. KHI no. 498923 // Giovanni Michelucci, Sketches for the project of the church of the Immacolata Concezione della Vergine at Longarone (Pistoia, Centro di Documentazione Giovanni Michelucci, AD0189).

Ivo Bazzecchi, 1968/69, gelatin silver print, inv. KHI no. 498918 // Giovanni Michelucci, Sketch for the project of the church of the Immacolata Concezione della Vergine at Longarone.

Ivo Bazzechi, March 1967, gelatin silver print, inv. KHI no. 498939 // Giovanni Michelucci, Model of the church of the Immacolata Concezione della Vergine at Longarone (unknown location).

Antonio Di Cecco // TEMPERA (L’Aquila), September 2010 // Partial demolition of a building damaged by the earthquake; the measure was necessary to ensure the safety of the surrounding area.

Antonio Di Cecco // ONNA (L’Aquila), September 2010.

Box of the Architecture Section, Photo Library of the KHI

Ivo Bazzecchi, March 1967, gelatin silver print, inv. KHI no. 498941 // Giovanni Michelucci, Model of the church of the Immacolata Concezione della Vergine at Longarone (unknown location).

Antonio Di Cecco // NORCIA (Perugia), November 2016 // Basilica of San Benedetto, temporary cover placed over the rubble after the collapse of the church caused by the earthquakes of 30 October 2016.

Antonio Di Cecco // NORCIA (Perugia), 30 October 2016 // The provisional structure shoring up one of the bastions of the town walls, installed after the earthquakes of 26 October, collapsed after the earthquakes of 30 October.

Ivo Bazzecchi, December 1966, gelatin silver print, inv. KHI no. 498916 // Giovanni Michelucci, Sketches for the project of the church of the Immacolata Concezione della Vergine at Longarone (unknown location)




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