27 January

2001 - Berlin, Neue Synagoge, Centrum Judaicum, Oranienburgerstrasse

Materials: fabric, roses.

Dimensions: m 17 x 3,60 x h 2,50.

The 27th of January, 1945, English troops arrive at Auschwitz and liberate the survivors of the mad Nazi extermination: on the 27th of January of every year Europe commemorates this event with the Holocaust Memorial Day, so as not to ever forget the horror of the persecution and of the concentration camps; Holocaust Memorial Day from this year has even been officially put on the Italian calendar.

The Neue Synagoge of Berlin, burned by the Nazis, damaged by bombing during World War II, and finally restored, is one of the symbols of the persecution of the Berlin Jews; it was the largest synagogue, and the most opulent in terms of architecture and design, but also a place of worship and of meeting for the persecuted.

In the space outside of the Neue Synagoge, between the gate that opens to the street and the main entrance, Maria Dompè has created a light and intense installation: along the gate the braided fabric has been knotted to resemble a large woven cloth, which becomes more ordered and expansive on the pavement of the small temple courtyard; the braided fabric is interrupted at the main entrance in order to leave space for a different and lighter weave of white roses. “Every fabric,”as the artist has written, ‘is a symbol, a life, a past that returns to the present.’ The flowers, by nature of their ephemeral delicacy, bring within themselves a sense of an offering and of the eternal cycle of human life. The fabric, ‘white towels’ in the words of Maria Dompè, collect ideally sweat and tears, but conserve an aura of the sacred; the white of the roses and of the fabric transmit a sense of purity, of spirituality, of profound and silent respect for the immense tragedy that the 27th of January commemorates.

Laura Iamurri