The Ilisso publishing house, based in Nuoro, in the heart of Sardinia, has been publishing, since the 1980s, “volumes of art, archeology, linguistics and material culture, crafts and design, history, photography and fiction and creates art exhibitions to document and tell the history and culture of Sardinia between tradition and contemporaneity “.
Therefore, a space entirely dedicated to art could not be missing, bearing the same name as the publishing house: this is how the Spazio Ilisso was born, a place for arts and culture, which lives in an ancient building built between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The structure, acquired and renovated following a philological and conservative process, is a two-story villa surrounded by a 600 sqm garden. The awareness with which the recovery of Casa Papandrea (this is the name of the villa) was carried out has allowed to maintain the original characteristics of the building: it is difficult not to immediately notice the elegance of the architecture and the ancient cement tiles of the floors, different for every room, keepers of steps and stories. The space opened its doors to the public last December as a place for contemporary art, photography and as a Permanent Museum of Sardinian Sculpture, whose set-up is in progress and of which, however, something can already be figured as soon as you enter the inner courtyard, where a Mother by Costantino Nivola embraces and welcomes the visitor.
The temporary exhibitions are hosted on the second floor of the building where, until 27 September 2020, it will be possible to visit a photographic exhibition that offers an extraordinary view of Sardinia in the 1950s and 1960s. The artist is Marianne Sin-Pfältzer (Hanau 1926-Nuoro 2015), a German photographer who arrived on the island after the war, capturing with a new and clean look the “human landscapes” (as suggested by the title of the exhibition) in an era of transition, in which modernity began to appear in a land unprepared to welcome it and still wounded by war.
A human and empathic gaze has allowed the artist to gain people’s trust, redeeming them to grasp the most intimate aspects of everyday life, capturing the fatigue of lives, but also the trust and the desire not to abandon to the past and difficulties. Moving images, therefore, that manage to penetrate the soul of those who knew and heard those stories from their grandparents, but also of those who, with their eyes free from cultural superstructures, have an external eye with respect to the history of the island and manage to grasp directly the universality of the human soul. They are faces of men and, especially women and children, who could come from anywhere in the world. Sin-Pfältzer’s images recall Leopardi’s idylls: they are “situations, affections, historical adventures” of the soul of those who are portrayed, but also of the artist who, with her photographic lens, has been able to modulate her sensitivity on that of people who welcomed it and opened up to the camera.
The resulting human geography is surprising: the stories of Sardinia are intertwined with those of Germany which in the same years was fully experiencing modernity and was clashing with racial problems, but also those of distant countries such as India and the Philippines. To complete the path, an in-depth study of the artist’s activity as a designer, a sign of her insatiable need to experiment with images. A video, made by Enrico Pinna and Andrea Mura, on the other hand, through various testimonies, sheds light on the artist’s path in Sardinia, where Marrianne Sin-Pfältzer moved in the last years of her life. “Human Landscapes” is an exhibition that gives the visitor a world that appears distant, but still vital and vibrant in the images that tell the beauty and complexity of a physical place, Sardinia, and of an intellectual place, that of the human soul, reminding us of the importance of the construction and preservation of memory.
Marianne Sin-Pfältzer – Paesaggi Umani
Until 27 September 2020
Via Brofferio 23, Nuoro
Spazio Ilisso, outdoor. Ph Nelly Dietzer
Marianne Sin-Pfältzer, Cagliari, Passeggiata alle Saline, 1968
Marianne Sin-Pfältzer, Campidano, 1963
Spazio Ilisso, detail of the exhibition room dedicated to Marianne Sin-Pfältzer’s activity as a designer. Studies for batik fabrics. Ph Nelly Dietzer.