THE CLEAR VALLEY INCIDENT, 1615-2003
The difference between the Past, the Present and the Future is nothing but a Persistent Illusion. – Albert Einstein
During a visit to Milan in October 1998 and while admiring the numerous frescoes dating from the Renaissance, in the twelfth century monastery L’ Abbazia di Chiaravalle Milanese situated in the outskirts of the city, D. Meimaroglou’s attention was drawn to a huge fresco measuring approximately 11 x 12 meters in the north wing of the abbey. It depicted a horrific massacre of a group of nuns by an unidentified soldiers’ squad. The inscription on the side read: Martydrom of the Nuns of the Cistercensi Order, in Vittavia, Poland and signed: Fiamminghini, 22.VI. 1615.
“That image played on my mind for a long time. Five years later I decided to revisit the site in an attempt to capture, with a very low resolution digital camera which symbolically would act as an intermediate between reality and imagination, and re-produce the violence expressed in the painting in my aim to transmit my initial shock to the public in a journalistic, so to speak, gesture. My photographic expedition resulted in the form of 16 extremely dark images hardly distinguishable. That was my chance of trying to re-construct my own version of the story. Metaphorically, in an attempt to reiterate the methods used by the media I tried to preserve the information depicted on each of my shots by ‘digging’ into the obscure layers of color and bringing the event back to the surface. During the time of that particular endeavor I incidentally recalled a similar story which took place in the year 1981 in El Salvador; that of the mysterious disappearance of four American nuns whose cruel assassination was later charged to a death squad. The actual perpetrators were never pronounced.
By the above installation my aim was to raise the public awareness on the perception of repetition in History”. -Despina Meimaroglou, Spring, 2003.