De Beni Savini Archive
De Beni Savini Archive
A particular and certainly unconventional couple, Nina De Beni, plant pathology researcher at the University of Bologna and collaborator of prof. Gabriele Goidanich, and Renzo Savini, a lawyer, for fifty years have catalogued, collected and assembled unusual objects of all times with rigor and creativity. Objects of art and antiques but also tools of common use, regenerating them through bizarre and refined aesthetic combinations, bringing them to new forms of existence. All this in years in which the best of many household’s tradition ended up in the trash, where craving for modernity had entered.
If we start from the idea that somehow “everything has a life” and that things are passages or connections that hold us by the hand on the path of memory, then the creation of unlikely hybrid objects is particularly significant in the vast wunderkammer created by Nina De Beni and Renzo Savini, obtained from the combination of materials belonging to distant eras: a reinvention of new worlds that this way turn out to be possible. There are therefore apothecary jars full of fragments of mirrors that when looked at in a certain way turn out to not be just mirrors, but magic lantern plates with makeup: on one side the wolf’s fable, on the other the erotic image; the nineteenth-century madonna with the porcelain eyes of a twentieth-century saint, the “perfume bottle” shaped like a green-black lacquered gold dragon with incense love notes inside and much more.
Wunderkammer is a special room in which unusual objects were collected and stored, all placed next to each other in wardrobes. Collections from the worlds of Naturalia, Artificialia and Scientifica to understand and dominate reality. The collection is the most ephemeral place spoiled by an almost pathetic fragility, exposed as it is to dispersion, to continuous movement; to counter this dissolution the collector is often concerned with entrusting it through a form of writing, the inventory or the catalog, in which its whole readability relies.
Nowadays we can say that the wunderkammer becomes an obligatory place, a duty of the intellectual and of the responsible writer; in short, one of the escape routes from the destruction of the past, of culture and of one’s roots. It’s very difficult for a society to survive the loss of its historical, artistic and scientific heritage. A magnificent example in modern filmography is undoubtedly “The Labyrinth of the Faun” by Del Toro, a pure combination of reality and magical portals to other worlds.