The Shape of Time at the Sephardic synagogue in Pesaro


The exhibition The shapes of time, now on view at the Pescheria Visual Arts Center, is enriched by a new dialogue in images between Fabio Barile and Domingo Milella, which involves the ancient Sephardic synagogue of Pesaro. The installation, curated by Alessandro Dandini de Sylva, opens to the public on Sunday 19 May from 10.00 to 17.00 and can be visited until 4 July 2019.

The Sephardic synagogue is located in the heart of the ancient Jewish quarter of Pesaro. Built in the mid-sixteenth century, it soon became the center of aggregation of many Portuguese Jews, who came to the city to cultivate mystical studies. In fact, the larger structure in which the synagogue is incorporated housed a nursery school, a center for kabbalistic studies and one for musical studies.

The installation occupies the Prayer Room (Temple), where Arca Santa (Aròn) and Pulpito (Tevàh) contrasted one in front of the other at the center of the shorter walls. The exhibition resumes this contrast, bringing into dialogue an image of Fabio Barile of a limestone cave in the Murge karst plateau in Puglia with an image of Domingo Milella depicting a cave painting of a pair of horses in the Pech Merle cave in Occitania. A third image of Milella welcomes visitors before entering the Temple and depicts fingerprints and other cave paintings in the cave of El Castillo in Cantabria.

Milella’s works refer the memory of man to man to almost dizzying distances. The images of the Pech-Merle and El Castillo caves – whose entrance (or exit?) is suggested by Barile’s work – lead us underground showing traces of distant beings, barely emerging from the animal night. The art of the Stone Age allows us to recall those remote twilights. While his magical-propitiatory intent accords with the mystical echoes of this extraordinary site.

Instead, Barile’s photography brings us back to a constantly evolving process. The karst cave begins to form when the water begins its erosive action through any fracture of the rock. The water moves in depth and is collected in real torrents. As the phenomenon progresses, the cavities increase in size until they join other cavities, creating an intricate development of caves. The same caves that at the end of the glacial period, that is about 50 thousand years ago, were the object of what George Bataille defines as our first stuttering.

In a passage from the book that gives the title of the exhibition – The Shape of Time by George Kubler – Kubler writes that knowing the past is an equally astonishing undertaking as knowing the stars. Astronomers and historians deal with manifestations noted in the present but happened in the past. Fabio Barile and Domingo Milella have this in common: both collect ancient signs of events that took place even long before they appeared. Their images take us back to the bowels of the earth, from present time to deep time.

During the inaugural day, in collaboration with the Malaspina Foundation, the publication of the exhibition project The Shape of Time will be presented to the public, a collection of works exhibited by the two authors in the various installations of the Loggiato, the Chiesa del Suffragio and the Sephardic synagogue. The Pescheria Foundation – Visual Arts Center renews its collaboration with the Malaspina Foundation with the aim of creating joint initiatives and promoting their productions in national and international cultural institutions.


The Shape of Time at the Sephardic synagogue of Pesaro
A dialogue in images between Fabio Barile and Domingo Milella
Curated by Alessandro Dandini de Sylva
Sephardic synagogue
Via delle Scuole, 25, 61121 Pesaro PU
Free entry
Opening hours: October-May every third Sunday of the month 10-13; 7 June – 13 September every Thursday 17-20.
Telephone: 0721 387398 Municipality of Pesaro / Department of Beauty