Olivo Barbieri, Letizia Battaglia, Enzo Brai, Giovanni Chiaramonte, Vittorugo Contino, Guido Guidi, Arno Hammacher, Andrea Jemolo, Mimmo Jodice, Melo Minnella, Sandro Scalia, Silvio Wolf
«We wanted to create a laboratory that could inspire others with courage and energy to elaborate their own personal experiences». This was Ludovico Corrao’s dream, and this is what has actually happened in Gibellina from 1968 until the present day. From the moment when the earth was shaken by a 6.1 richter magnitude earthquake at 2.33 on the nights of the 14th and 15th of January 1968, the story of the little town of Gibellina changed forever.
Among the ruins and then the shantytown and the reconstruction, photographers and writers came to describe, each with their own vision, the epochal fracture and the reconstruction of the territory, which became a unique laboratory for creativity. A suspended story made of sufferance and utopia; a place suspended precariously between destruction and rebirth. A city in the process of being reborn, topographically unique, where art could be expressed through new languages and perspectives.
What pushed this group of intellectuals and artist to come so far, to the heart of Sicily, a place forgotten by all? As Mimmo Jodice put it: «A dimension of impracticality and restlessness that fosters the desire for a greater reading and understanding of reality». For many photography masters, Gibellina became a virgin territory to observe and rebuild with their own vision.
The young and intense history of Gibellina lives on, not only in the memory of the citizens, but also in the images that portrayed its reconstruction from the end of the 1970’s onwards: the emptiness, the suspension and subsequently the emotion of discovery are elements shared with the vision and the slow observation of the many photographers that, in those very years, were experimenting with new ways to explore the landscape. They found Gibellina to be an inspiring site for their practice.