Chanukkah in Casale Monferrato

With the master Arcangelo Sassolino on display also comes the new work for the Museum of Enlightenment – ​​Civil and religious authorities and many friends are expected from the Jewish Community for the lighting of the first lamp.

Sunday, December 18 is celebrated one of the most awaited moments of the year for Jewish community of Casale Monferrato: it is, in fact, the first day of Hanukkah, one of the most important festivals in the Jewish tradition, an event that in vicolo Salomone Olper is able to gather friends of every denomination and from every place. The joy is that of meeting together to celebrate a message of hope and friendship, but not only that, because in Casale Monferrato the celebration has expressed, for over 20 years, a peculiar mix between art and spirituality which makes this event something unique in Italy.

Hanukkah recalls the miracle that took place in 164 of the ancient era, after the liberation of the Temple of Jerusalem from the occupation of the Syrian king Antiochus thanks to the rebellion of the Maccabees. The rededication of the altar was possible because the oil for the ritual lamp lasted for the full eight days needed to produce it again, even though the quantity would only be enough for one. For this reason the symbol of the party is the Chanukkiah, the 8-branched candelabrum plus one: the shammash, which is used to light the others, one lamp a day for 8 days and thus celebrate the miracle of light

Like the holidays of other religions that fall at this time of year, Chanukkah is intimately linked to the symbolism of light when the days begin to lengthen again after the winter solstice. In Casale the meaning is declined in two ways: the first is spiritual, because in the name of the fight against darkness, representatives of all the faiths present in the area are invited to the Community. There has never been a lack of delegations from the Diocese of Casale, from the Islamic communities, but also from Orthodox Christians, Adventists and even Buddhists.

The second meaning is cultural: since the early 90s the Community, thanks to Elio Carmi, Emanuele Luzzati, Antonio Recalcati, Paolo Levi and Aldo Mondino, began an extraordinary collection of Hanukkiot that the greatest international artists have specially produced and donated to the ETS Jewish Casale Foundation which today manages the activity of the Museum of Enlightenment. Over 250 pieces exhibited in rotation in the premises of the ancient oven of unleavened bread to which is added, every year, a new work accompanied by a personal exhibition of the artist who created it.

Archangel Sassolino: Unstable like hope
This year the Casalese Chanukkah celebrations will start at 4.00 pm on Sunday 18 December right from this meeting. The artist chosen for the new work is Archangel Sassolino: an artist known all over the world. His works left from Vicenza, where he was born and works, to become personal exhibitions throughout Italy and then again in Hong Kong, St. Louis, Frankfurt, Hanover, Paris, Brussels, Zurich up to Punta del Este in Uruguay . It is exhibited in the most prestigious museums of the five continents and is among the protagonists of the last Venice Biennale.

Sassolino explains the reasons that led him to collaborate with the Museo dei Lumi as follows: “The first reason is that I am certainly very attached to the Jewish community. Ever since my training in New York, contact with this community has always brought about important, happy encounters and which in some cases have contributed to making a radical change in my career. These are ties that are still in place after so many years. The second reason is the friendship that binds me to Elio Carmi. When he invited me to Casale di Monferrato to participate in this project, I was particularly honoured.

Sassolino’s work comes to life from the interpenetration between art and physics. His interest in mechanics and technology opens up new possibilities for configuring sculpture. Speed, pressure, gravity, acceleration, heat form the basis of his research, always aimed at probing the ultimate limit of resistance and of no return of devices that generate real “inorganic performances”. The materials (often of an industrial nature: steel, rubber, cement…) come alive, wear out, live on contrasts, forces and intrinsic conflicts and also contemplate the risk of collapse as a fundamental part of the experience. A state of tension, suspension, unpredictability, danger and possible failure: equally inescapable aspects of the human condition.

At the Community of Casale we will find this philosophy well summarized in the exhibition “Unstable as hope” which opens in Sala Carmi where works chosen for their symbolic and metaphorical relationship with the context will be exhibited Also yes also no And Pressure as form. The works carry within themselves a conflict, a tension, an action that manifests the ineliminable opposition that exists between something that imposes a force and something else that undergoes it and resists it, reaching its limit, in constant tension, but continuing to exist

The new lamp
At the heart of this poetics is also the new Chanukkiah for the Museum of Enlightenment which truly promises to surprise already in its dimensions: almost 2 meters in height, for 9 steel pipes that will burn with real gas-fueled flames. “Real flames are not meant to be an allegory or a metaphor, but they are in tune with my research which has to do with adherence to reality. – explains Sassolino – The contrast of the color of the flames stands out against the cold color of the stainless steel. My obsession is to compress time in sculpture. To do this, I capture and hold suspended those moments of instability specific to each material, freeing them from that closed form that we all know”.

Corollary initiatives: the homage to Antonio Recalcati and the Museum of Enlightenment
But the visual art component does not end with Sassolino’s personal exhibition: for the occasion, the itinerary of the Museum of Enlightenment, in the hypogeum of the oven of unleavened bread, will be rearranged with other works from the collection, while three lamps donated will be exhibited in the Synagogue over the years since Antonio Recalcatia way to remember and honor one of the founders of the Museum who passed away a few days ago.

In the end, at 17 in the Courtyard of the Beesthe religious aspect of the Chanukah holiday: the lighting of the Primo Lumen with the civil and religious authorities of the territory physically called to perform the deed. For the occasion, even the children never fail, who always enjoy lighting all the lamps scattered around the courtyard in a great collective moment of joy.

Admission to the events is free

The exhibition “unstable like hope” will be open until 22 January.

For information 0142 71807

Chanukkah in Casale Monferrato – Art and spirituality return in the name of light – Monferrato Web TV