"...What's in a name?" Exhibition about the census of the jews in Milan in 1938




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the form of the exhibition

Content in actionFormaction


If only I could be all the people in every part of the world!

Fernando Pessoa in the form of Álvaro de Campos, Ode Triunfal


The human being is not simply in a space; he lives in it.

The content is not simply in a space; gives shape.

Content and container: both contain. They mark a limit. Meaning and sense enter a relationship through it; give shape to space and time, shaped by the use of color as an action that dilates them. Therefore, the form of the exhibition amplifies the observation and listening of the original documents and their original interpretation; it turns into an experience. Experience touches and moves. Emotion. It sets in motion a particular story that becomes universal; it exceeds the historical / geographical context, belonging to all times and to all places. The exhibition builds the story of yesterday - the enormity of the event that occurred in 1938 - to shape the history of today.


Everyone from the entrance of the Palace will choose, more or less consciously, whether to immediately enter this room in the atrium, activating the discovery as happened to those who completed the census card, back in time; if entering sideways, being already surrounded by 11,000 presences; if you go down the steps of the Triennale café, then after a pause, walking through the exhibition, understanding what it is, chronologically. These different ways help to bring out the History, the stories of the protagonists of the time and of today's witnesses, those who visit the exhibition, who recognize what was then hidden: the Arendtiana "banality of evil" in the execution of an institutional order; and its consequences. Through selected archival documents and different forms of processing the data gathered, a contemporary look recognizes and unveils a project for all time.


The exhibition first seeks balance, form on moving between containers and contents. It puts the same weight on the story of yesterday and today's experience. Intercepting the different modes of expression, it reaches a state of harmony, and therefore of understanding. From the fracture produced by the event emerge the simultaneity of dynamism - confirmed by the inevitable flow of the Triennial atrium - and of stability - stand and protect the contents from the passage and from the light, to direct the gaze -.


To represent a demarcation that becomes a room in the atrium, retraces that cut to its origin -the ministerial order transmitted in full August through the fragile pink tissue inside an office- makes present, in the apparent daily life and flow of the surroundings , the caesure/censure of the Milanese census and the civic sense that is attributed to this institutional act by compiling it -usually with universal value-.


A caesura, like any architectural project: an interior and an exterior. But then it hid a specialized project, wanted: the census of Jews only. The misunderstanding disappears; it becomes a project of destruction. What construction now for this story? The exhibition reveals it at the height of the experience of this small room, where the form allows us to pause in the dialogue between yesterday and today, between document and project, between content and container, here and now; in their relationship, in their experience.


Through the manifestation of content in form, the neutrality of the atrium space becomes place. It exists when we go through it, entering, and we activate the relationship. Content becomes a body, becomes a form in movement.


Annalisa de Curtis Morpurgo de Curtis ArchitettiAssociati


"...What's in a name?"

Pictures Sketches Technical drawings