WORLD CULTURES AND HERITAGE – On October 31, 1997 the exhibition “Le macchine e gli dei” opens. During the broadening works of the “I Musei Capitolini”, an important part of its collection was transferred from the warehouses to the rehabilitated spaces of the “Art Center Acea” in the “Ex-Centrale Montemartini”, Ostiense neighborhood. The aim was to stage a temporary exhibition to house some of the works of art of one of the most emblematic museums of Rome, in a building originally conceived as an electric power plant.
Significant pieces that had been previously exposed only in some temporary exhibition were chosen, identifying themselves as key works of significant historical moments and the city of Rome.; The works of art, exhibited in chronological order, are part of an outstanding collection of classical sculptures from the excavations carried out in Rome across the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. The display reconstructs the monumental complexes of antiquity, tracing the development of the city from the Republic to the Late Empire. It includes works of great significance, often almost unknown to the general public, such as the huge mosaic of hunting scenes from Santa Bibiana.
Inevitable is the comparison with the Musée d’Orsay in Paris for the juxtaposition of works of art with old machinery. In this case the huge diesel engines, preserve turbines and tall steam boilers from the power plant of the first public Roman thermoelectric plant.
Following an enthusiastic feedback from public, the Montemartini became a permanent venue as a continuation of the visit from the Capitoline Museums. It enhances the archaeological heritage through an innovative staged reconstruction in the spaces of an old industrial complex. Two dimensions, the classical archaeology and the industrial archaeology, integrate seamlessly contradicting the myth of opposites.
The path set up for the visitor respects these opposites, arranging the space so that the existing objects and what it is exhibited remain intact and not to distort each other. This project allowed to experience for the first time a new and unconventional exhibition criteria.
Rome, Italy. March 08, 2015
Mandatory credit: Riccardo Budini / UnFrame