Monday, December 26, 2011

It’s culture galore in the Diocese of Rome

The Vicariate of Rome is placing the spot light on culture as a means of engaging in dialogue with non believers. 

Exhibitions, conferences and concerts have been scheduled to “talk about the figure whose name has been given to Christian history and culture,” the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini explained. 

The aim of the events organised by the Diocese of Rome, is to “respond to current challenges and transmit the wisdom necessary for facing the fascinating journey of life,” with the certainty that “wisdom is not a summary of knowledge;” Rather, it is a “gift from the Holy Spirit and represents the highest level of knowledge and experience, beyond human and theological science.” 

This means “it is a gift through which the Holy Spirit acts in the intellect and will, opening up to a knowledge that is a divine superior experience.” 

Thus, Cardinal Vallini stated, “thanks to this wisdom, it is possible to deeply penetrate and have a profound experience of the mystery of God and of man. This is because wisdom illuminates our minds with a sublime, penetrating and almost incommunicable light, which gives us a taste of the truth.”

As such, culture becomes an instrument of dialogue, even with those who do not believe. On Thursday 22 December at 21:00 in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Montesanto (Church of the Artists) in the Piazza del Popolo, Rome’s Chorus of the Opera House will be performing a sacred music concert to inaugurate the project “Una porta verso l’Infinito. L’uomo e l’Assoluto nell’Arte” (A door to Infinity. Mankind and the Absolute in Art), organised by the Office of Social Communications of the Vicariate of Rome, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Culture. During the concert, the Te Deum will be performed in A Major for Solo Voices, Mixed Chorus and Organ pieces by Felix Mendelssohn – Bartholdy and the sacred Missal Op. 147 for Solo Voices, Mixed Chorus and Organ pieces by Robert Schumann. Chorus Conductor: Roberto Gabbiani. Soloists: Susanna Cristofanelli and Giuliana Lanzillotti (sopranos), Silvia Pasini (contralto), Leonardo Trinciarelli (tenor), Massimo Mondelli (bass) and Andrea Severi (organ).

The event, which has free admission, will include a preview of an optical fibre piece by Carlo Bernardini, entitled “La luce oltre la materia” (The light beyond the matter). The artpiece will remain in the Basilica until 7 January 2012. The artist’s contribution is the first in a series of events dedicated to the dialogue between art and music. 

It was born out of a desire to create a link that was able to amplify and fuse different perspectivesand artistic sensitivities and languages. It was intended especially for the Basilica of Santa Maria in Montesanto and was designed in harmony with the architecture of the building and the theme of the event which will be take the name “Lo spazio della Luce” (The space of Light) for the duration of 2012.
The ambient piece by Carlo Bernardini, reshapes the church’s space, using the language of light as a structural element of a different dimension. A luminous signwhich forces the observer to lift their gaze and emphasises a symbolic verticality of material space. The simplicity and essentialness of the piece, gives the place a physicality which it is part of and as it runs through this space, it redefines its coordinates and the way it is perceived. The distances between high and low areas and full and empty spaces seem to disappear, in favour of spaciality as a whole. 

The relation between this space and music, highlights the idea of a meeting and of an openness to dialogue as a privileged path towards the building of a real and possible transcendence. Carlo Bernardini was born in Viterbo in 1966 and currently lives and works between Rome and Milan, where he teaches courses on Multimedia Installation Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brera.

He has been working with fibre optic light since 1996, concentrating on the illusory sensation of the third dimension, creating light sculptures. He was awarded the Overseas Grantee prize by New York’s Pollock Krasner Foundation, twice in 2000 and again in 2005 and 2010. 

In 2002, he won the Targetti Art Light Collection White Sculpture award. One of the most high profile exhibitions he contributed to, was the Ciudad De Las Artes Y Las Ciencias event, in Valencia (2004) where he presented a large fibre optic art piece, which established a dialogue with the architecture of Santiago Calatrava. Among the many other exhibitions he contributed to, was the D.U.M.B.O Art Festival in New York, where he was invited in 2009, to exhibit his Permeable space installation. In 2011, he presented some large scale installations at The Arc Show ,held at the Business Design Centre and at Kinetica Art Fair which was held at Ambika P3 at the University of Westminster in London. 

This is the spirit of the protagonists of the Vicariate’s cultural initiatives and the reasons for which these were chosen.  Cardinal Vallini highlighted the fact that in the “Caritas in Veritate” encyclical, Benedict XVI stated “the need for men who are capable of deep reflection, devoted to the search for a new humanism, that would allow humans to find themselves once again,” to combat “the lack of fraternity among individuals and populations.”

The Pope asked himself whether “humans will ever manage to achieve this fraternity by themselves.”

The answer he comes up with is the following: “The increasingly globalised society in which we live brings us closer, but it does make us brothers. Fraternity has its origins in a transcendent vocation of God the Father who was the first one to love us, showing us through his Son, what fraternal charity means.” 

Thus, Cardinal Vallini said “we must act with our hearts.”