TRA CIELO E TERRA (Between Heaven and Earth)
Landscapes of Lombardy

Claudio Beorchia
curated by Matteo Balduzzi

November 2, 2019 – March 1, 2020
Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, Cinisello Balsamo (MI)


Aedicules, niches, frescoes and small religious temples, characteristic home of statues and effigies of the saints, are disseminated throughout the Italian landscape. These figures have watched over, guarded and protected the territory for years, decades, some for centuries, with their diffused presence, privileged witnesses of the transformations that have taken place and are still taking place in the landscape. But what do the saints see, what do they observe as they gaze from their shrines?
This is the question Claudio Beorchia asked the residents of Lombardy, inviting them to discover the small religious architectures scattered throughout the region. The main task was simple: to photograph what the saints look at, putting the camera at their eye level; and, moreover: to photograph the aedicule itself, marking its position, adding a title and, eventually, a description, anecdote or personal thought about it.

During the summer of 2019, hundreds of people travelled throughout the Lombardy region in search of the sacred figures kept in aedicules – roadside temples, chapels, shrines – and photographed the landscapes in front of them, collectively and extensively developing a research project launched by the artist Claudio Beorchia a few years ago in Sicily and then repeated
in other regions of Italy, under the name of Di fede osservanti (Observing Faith).

The almost three thousand images that were collected represent the visible part of a journey that lasted almost a year and generated discussions, meetings, and reflections. It involved many thousands of kilometres travelled by car, by foot and by any means of transportation through the variegated vastness of the Lombard territory, through plains, mountains and cities.

The complete archive is available on the web platform by Rete Civica Milanese. It is the backbone of the work and consists of 2911 aedicules distributed throughout the region in a non-scientific but capillary way, following the trajectories of almost three hundred authors. The creative titles assigned to the aedicules and the personal notes corroborate the subjective and participatory nature of the archive.

The final achievement of the project was made possible first of all thanks to all the people involved, the participants-photographers, the residents of Lombardy who accepted the challenge and set out on the trail of the saints disseminated in the landscape, documenting their point of view. Thanks also to the generous collaboration of the regional cultural centres that were asked to publicize the project and reach out to the population: the Academy of Fine Arts “G. Carrara” in Bergamo, the Casa Museo Cerveno (BS), the Ecomuseo della Postumia (MN), the Ecomuseo della Prima Collina (PV), the Ecomuseo di Valle Trompia (BS), EUMM – the Ecomuseo Urbano Metropolitano Milano Nord, MUMI – the Ecomuseo Milano Sud, the Museo Diocesano di Arte Sacra in Lodi, the Museo Ma*GA in Gallarate (VA).

The project was also supported by AESS – Archivio di Etnografia e Storia Sociale della Regione Lombardia and by Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo. The project was made possible thanks to the important contribution of Fondazione Cariplo, which for years has been committed to supporting and promoting innovative projects of social utility in art and culture, the environment, social services and scientific research.


Views of Lombardy

Claudio Beorchia
Edited by Matteo Balduzzi

Ed. Viaindustriae publishing
700 pp., 16,5×11 cm, it/en, 2019
35.00 €

The book shows the Lombard landscape through the gaze of the saints in votive niches, with a selection of about 1000 images collected on the occasion of the photography project Between heaven and earth by artist Claudio Beorchia for the Museum of Contemporary Photography of Cinisello Balsamo. The publication takes inspiration from classic editions such as the missal, Italian Touring Club guide, the dictionary, collecting in 700 pages thousands of images including full-color printed photographs and black and white miniatures, as well as a general index that shows the data of the 2911 niches photographed. The first section of the book collects more than 200 photographs and shows what the saints see from their positions in a subjective way, thanks to the shape of the image traced exactly on the shape of the niche from which the figure is protruding towards the surrounding environment. A selection of about 800 black and white miniatures, which directly relate the images of the saints and their gaze, is ordered through ten taxonomies.
Texts by: Giovanna Calvenzi, Claudio Beorchia, Matteo Balduzzi, Don Umberto Bordoni, Paolo Bossi.


Opening hours:
from wednesday to friday 16-19
saturday and sunday 10-13 and 14-19
free admission