Luogo Parola (Place Word)

1998, site-specific installation
2 back-lit glass walls, black cutouts
Waldensian Church, Milan

About this work

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of civil liberties for the Waldensian Church in Milan, Wolf created a site-specific installation in response to the evangelical tradition associating Light with the Word. Researching Milan’s first Waldensian church, originally located in the ancient Basilica of San Giovanni in Conca, he references the history of the people through their maintenance of sacred spaces in relation to sacred words.

By backlighting opaque-black cutout shapes that reference the essential structures of a library and of an architectural space, viewers inside the church get a view into an ethereal and sacred space constructed through illusion. The North side windows present a black and white alternation of books on shelves that create a binary code light/no light: a new form of visual writing. With the same technique Wolf reworked the architectural traces of the original XI Century crypt of the Church of S. Giovanni in Conca, evoking the transfiguration of another place in time and space.

Like in other site-specific installations by Wolf, place and light become simultaneously the subject and the object of his work. Using the binary code light/no light, he rewrote intangible aspects of the community’s tradition as well as the latent memory of the place. Internal and external sources and new creations interact in the single environment of the church.