January 13, 2016

A hidden gem in Napoli

A Saturday morning stroll through the old town of Napoli turned into one the most fascinating art visits I have ever experienced. Heading for a coffee with an old family friend, we walked passed what looked like an abandoned, decrepit building with a courtyard that had turned into an open air social center. Without further notice my friend stepped through the portico to discover a martial arts class being taught under the century-old arches of a former convent.

As we trod up the stone staircase we discovered a whole new world and realised we had wandered into a contemporary art exhibit.

Turns out Rome-born contemporary artist Gian Maria Tosatti works on a large canvas and for the past two years, that canvas has been the city of Naples. Tosatti has taken over a series of abandoned buildings in the city for his ongoing site-specific project "Seven Seasons of the Spirit". We happened to discover the fifth "Season of the Spirit", I Fondamenti della Luce (The Foundations of Light) housed in Santa Maria della Fede, in the ancient, chaotic heart of Naples.

The artist takes its cue from a letter written in 1917 by a poor 20-year-old Neapolitan girl, Paolina T., who was locked up in a lunatic asylum due to what the doctors termed her “constitutional immorality”. The choice of venue is deliberate: by the 19th century, this 17th-century convent had become a hospital and hospice for ‘fallen women’, then fell into a period of neglect before being occupied by a civic action group in December 2014.

What's around this corner?

Martial arts lesson in an abandoned Neapolitan convent?
The mind boggles.

A local community center

Wandering upstairs for more 

Which room do we start with?

Trying to get our minds around the message

The world is still quite confusing

A look out the window might help

Wow! A real through back in time.

Games of light

My favourite room: it has a Swiss touch!

Weird place to park a Vespa 

Eerie place

Is that what I think it is?
A sewing machine 

Expat with Kids on a mission to discover more

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