Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.
Evidence n.4

Authentically fake antique pieces.

Apr 23, 2020 - Giulia Parlato

“our concern with history is a concern with performed images already imprinted on our brains, images at which we keep staring while the truth lies elsewhere, away from it all, somewhere as yet undiscovered”. Winfried Georg Sebald, Austerlitz


Diachronicles started while I was at the Warburg Institute, doing research for another project, also related to similar themes. I find their library and archive incredibile, especially because they have a lot on Italian culture. While I was there browsing through the forgery section, I started to think about the relationship that history has with fiction. In particular, what happens when you disrupt the historical narrative, which is ultimately really fragile being a narration/a fabricated story in itself.

 

The turning point for what Diachronicles is now, was getting in contact with the Regional Archeological Museum Salinas in Palermo and learning about the Mastressa’s fake case. A story of pure geniality about archeologist Cavallari and farmer Moschella, who produced and sold to several museums across Europe (from the British Museum to the Istituto Germanico in Rome and including the Museum Salinas) a series of odd limestone figures depicting fantastical creatures and Sicilian farmers from the ‘800. This, obviously pretending they were Greek statues from the 4th century discovered in Moschella’s land.

 

Thus, being captured by the story, the first image I took is of a piece from this series. This led to a further investigation into the subjects of authenticity, preservation and collective memory.

 

In recent times, after years of confinement in the museum’s storage spaces, the former director Francesca Spatafora decided to dedicate an exhibition to the peculiar sculptures defining them: “authentically fake antique pieces”.