jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples
 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples

belgian artist jan fabre has created four ornate red coral sculptures for pio monte della misericordia, especially conceived to be exhibited permanently in the historic chapel in naples.  the coral sculptures feature complex symbolic and iconographic associations, built around a heart, they aim to stimulate dialogue with the seventeenth-century paintings already conserved inside the church, including masterpieces by caravaggio, battistello and luca giordano.

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples
jan fabre. the liberation of passion, 2019. installation view. cappella del pio monte della misericordia, napoli
ph: grafiluce / l. romano

 

the ensemble of new artworks by jan fabre for pio monte della misericordia is a variation on the theme of the heart – an element shared by all cultures as a symbol, both spiritual and physical, of universal love and compassion. each sculpture is 110 cm high, weighs approximately 50 kilos and is completely covered with red coral, in the shape of small roses, pearls and half pearls, and the traditional neapolitan horns.

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples
jan fabre. the liberation of passion, 2019. installation view. cappella del pio monte della misericordia, napoli
ph: grafiluce / l. romano

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples

jan fabre at the inauguration of the new addition of coral sculptures in the pio monte chapel
image © designboom

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples

jan fabre. the liberation of passion, 2019
detail image © designboom

 

a natural but rare and precious material, coral is widely used in neapolitan art for its symbolic and spiritual significance, referring to energy and life force. meanwhile, the thematic focus of the work — the heart — works as a symbolic element that represents the central wisdom of thoughts and feelings, physicality and spirituality. 

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples

caravaggio. seven works of mercy, 1606 -1607. oil on canvas, 390 x 260 cm. cappella del pio monte della misericordia, naples
photo: grafiluce / l. romano

 

the four individual hearts represent a dialogue with a seventeenth-century painting exhibited in the church: the purity of mercy with the lily, which represents mary’s purity, and the donkey’s jaw as a metaphor for the act of ‘giving thirsty people something to drink’ inspired by the ‘seven works of mercy’ by caravaggio (1606-1607); the freedom of compassion with the dove, a symbol of the holy spirit recalling ‘saint paul frees a slave’ by giovan bernardino azzolino (1626-1630); the resurrection of life with the ivy, a symbol of resurrection and eternal life, which is wrapped around the cross, a central symbol of christianity and the tree of life, referring to the ‘deposition of christ’ by luca giordano (1771); the liberation of passion with the torch, an emblem of enlightenment and hope, and the key, a symbol of saint peter and the gates of heaven, referencing ‘saint peter raising tabitha’ by fabrizio santafede (1611).

 

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples
jan fabre. the liberty of compassion, 2019. deep precious coral, pigment, polyamide; base in belgian granite and steel. dimensions: h 113 x w 101,7 x d 39,5 cm. cappella del pio monte della misericordia, napoli
image © designboom

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples

jan fabre. the liberty of compassion, 2019 – from the exhibition catalogue

 

the government of the pio monte della misericordia chapel institution, in agreement with the superintendence of archaeology, fine arts and landscape for the city of naples, determined the location for the sculptures would be four already existing niches in the side chapels.

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples

jan fabre. the liberty of compassion, 2019. installation view. cappella del pio monte della misericordia, napoli
image © designboom

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples

jan fabre. the liberty of compassion, 2019. detail
image © designboom

 

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples
jan fabre. the resurrection of life, 2019. installation view. cappella del pio monte della misericordia, napoli
ph: grafiluce / l. romano

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples
jan fabre. the resurrection of life, 2019. deep precious coral, pigment, polyamide; base in belgian granite and steel. dimensions: h 106,5 x w 44,3 x d 34,2 cm. cappella del pio monte della misericordia, napoli
image © designboom

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples

jan fabre. the resurrection of life, 2019. detail
image © designboom

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples
jan fabre. the purity of mercy, 2019. installation view. cappella del pio monte della misericordia, napoli
ph: grafiluce / l. romano

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples
jan fabre. the purity of mercy, 2019. installation view. cappella del pio monte della misericordia, napoli
ph: grafiluce / l. romano

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples
jan fabre. the purity of mercy, 2019 – from the exhibition catalogue

the secret of the lily flower
the chapel of pio monte is dedicated to the virgin mary. the lily is her flower and can be found in numerous marble inlay works. the etched red coral pearls forming the lily plant in fabre’s sculpture contain the everlasting secret of the pure depths of the sea and of the origin of the world.  

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples
jan fabre. the purity of mercy, 2019. installation view. cappella del pio monte della misericordia, napoli
ph: grafiluce / l. romano

 

 

jan fabre creates coral sculptures for historical pio monte chapel in naples
jan fabre. the purity of mercy, 2019 detail
image © designboom

 

 

project info

 

artist: jan fabre
exhibition type: permanent
curated by:  melania rossi
institution: pio monte della misericordia
catalogue: the publication accompanying the exhibition project, published by electa and edited by melania rossi, contains texts by luigi pietro rocco di torrepadula, gianfranco d’amato and vincenzo liverino, essays by stefano causa, bianca cerrina feroni, dimitri ozerkov, melania rossi and els wuyts, as well as collage drawings created by the artist.

 

the project has been made possible thanks to the generosity and love for the arts of collector gianfranco d’amato, together with enzo liverino, the owner of a renowned company that works with and exports coral.

 

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