In Palermo there is a cemetery unlike any other: the catacombs of the Capuchin convent. Since 1599 on for almost three centuries, a whole society has been buried there, from the humblest to the most noble: princes, bishops and public figures. Reclining or upright, isolated or in groups, here the dead have not been buried, hidden forever from the eyes of the living. Here, they are displayed, staged and deeply moving; corpses whose mummification has preserved their clothing, attitudes and expressions in a particularly disturbing way.
In black and white, using the little natural light escaping from the few light shafts, is an extraordinary photo reportage that Jesse Fernández made in 1980 for his friend Anne de Margerie, then director of Éditions du Chêne. With striking images, at times so poignant as to be unbearable, the expressive nature of these mummies seems to invite us to follow a sort of grandiose and funereal opera in which the glory, vanity, misery and decay of the world play the leading roles.
For Photo doc. Photo Fair, galerie Orbis pictus presents the juxtaposition of a well-known figure and "his mummy", as Jesse Fernández might well have imagined, allowing the visitor to look without looking away at this preserved humanity, explained in the extraordinary Capuchin convent. The diptychs as presented allow us to perceive all their meaning.