Fragments. Photographs of Stefano Cigada

particolare_mostra Stefano Cigada
22/01 - 20/09/2020
Museo di Roma in Trastevere

The exhibition shows 21 precious prints describing the photojournalist Stefano Cigada's passion for archaeology and his quest to make ancient statues "palpitate".

His path differs from the search of other contemporary photographers and focuses on some details of the ancient statues highlighting the damaged parts, wounds still alive that can be assimilated to "living flesh".

It is the first Stefano Cigada's exhibition in Italy, a photographer who changes course after years abroad as a marine photojournalist. He slows down, returns to his motherland and starts looking for another way to express himself with the camera, rediscovering an old passion for archaeology.

Cigada's works guide the public on a journey through time and space, feeling that split second, when the piece of stone seems to turn, rotate, lift the weight, breathe, bend or sigh.

The artist's search becomes the obsession of making the ancient statues "come to life", rarely intact, as he declares: "Looking for what is missing, what is not seen, looking for the infinity in the fragment ".

He travels all over Europe, visiting museums to find the statues which he captures not the entirety but the fragility of, focusing on the break, the fault, at the moment when that detail "is touched by natural light". He captures them when they are hit by a ray of sunshine through a window or a door. He visits them at different times of the day, month after month, season after season. Immobility becomes a movement, the cold marble comes to life with the deception of the mimetic effect.

As Cigada himself says: "I know statues and times when they are hit by the light, what incidence the light arrives with according to the calendar. For example, at Centrale Montemartini on September 27th one of my favourite statues - “The dying warrior of the temple of Apollo Sosianus” - it is caressed for ten minutes by a ray of sunshine. A week before and a week later the sun passes over, and the photograph is useless. Only during those 10 minutes, something magical happens. And those are my ten minutes, the ones I want to catch. "

Cigada dialogues with statues, divinities, animals, warriors, athletes, nymphs, without preferences, choosing those that "speak" to him and that illuminate him.

He photographs them without a tripod, without artificial light, with bright lenses, maximum aperture and little depth of field. Focuses on the breaking point, elevating that fragment as a protagonist while everything else fades. Cigada delivers this fragment to the viewer to fill it with an image, perceiving much more than what he really sees.

The magic of these fragments lies in the subatomic layer of the matter: marble is alive, as well as plants and animals are. The molecular level of the stone moves, perhaps differently from the other animated species, but it moves. The light of day, which changes in an instant, provides proof of scientific data, almost like a performance.

Cigada goes in search of that exact moment, which seizes after countless trials and errors: his obsession allows the viewer to savour the fleeting but palpable evidence of a living, breathing material.

Stefano Cigada is defined by the curator Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts as an amateur. As British Conceptual artists ART & LANGUAGE wrote on several occasions "we want to be amateurs, because the quality that makes an amateur interesting is his vulnerability, the openness of thought towards the topic in question. The amateur faces the job without prejudices, with wide eyes and open-minded. Starting from this, with a bit of luck, he realizes something completely new ".

The project also includes an educational path dedicated to schools.


Museo di Roma in Trastevere
Opening hours

From 22 January to 15 March 2020 - extended to 20 September 2020
From Tuesday to Sunday 10.00 - 20.00. The ticket office closes at 19.00
Closed on Mondays
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Entrance ticket

Before planning the visit, consult: Tickets
MIC Card owners and entitled to gratuity only by calling 060608


Tel. 0039 060608 every day from 9.00 to 19.00

Promossa da
Roma Capitale, Assessorato alla Crescita culturale, Sovraintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali
Servizi museali
Zètema Progetto Cultura

Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts

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