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Constellation 1

The rediscovery of German stories wandering around Rome


Exhibition curated by Giuseppe Garrera and Casa di Goethe

30 November 2016 – 12 March 2017

With “Costellazione 1”the Casa di Goethe presents the first part of an exhibition series dedicated to the rediscovery of German stories and treasures in Rome by Giuseppe Garrera.

The project, initiated by Giuseppe Garrera and curated together with Maria Gazzetti (director of Casa di Goethe) wants to be, first of all, a hommage to Walter Benjamin, to flânerie and passion for collecting.

It is about the many stories, signs and human traces hidden in the second hand shops, flea markets and used bookstores of any metropolis.

Over the next three years the exhibition series “Constellations” will present “German discoveries” in Rome. On an annually basis it will display the treasures “saved” by collectors, flaneurs and booklovers during their strolls in Rome. Objects decluttered from the homes of German families, scientists and travellers -  signs and left-behinds which tell us stories about lost passions and precious treasures. In Rome, like in Benjamin’s Paris, there are still many stores and flea market where one can find entire libraries and household effects left by sophisticated collectors.

In the first exhibition visitors can admire rare book editions with graphic illustrations by Manet and Renoir, original prints by Albrecht Dürer and Francis Bacon, handwritings by Ernst Bernhard and unpublished letters by Reinhard Dohrn – all of the objects were found by chance on the streets of Rome.

Every single piece represents also a fragment of a personal story and a living presence. The objects on display illuminate and reconstruct lives, show up connections and recall adventures, loss and death. Each room of the exhibition indicates the exact location where the books, letters and illustrations have been brought to light.

Some of the objects were found on the flea market Porta Portese, others at the gypsy markets at Piazzale Ostiense and at the markets of Conca d'Oro.

This dispersion and the unconscious dealing with a true cultural heritage is disturbing, also considering the high market value of many objects. The fact that they were found on flea markets or second-hand shops is wonderous and absurd at the same time.

Visitors are can set on a discovery expedition and be surprised like a child by the various gems on display coming from family and private archives.

Musicologist, art historian and collector Guiseppe Garrera lives and works in Rome. He oversees the master programme “cultural management” at Business school “Sole 24”.