Alessandra Calò


A collaborative project by Alessandra Calò with Valentina Bertolini, Paolo Borghi, Valentina De Luca, Cinzia Immovilli, Flavia Vezzani and Caterina Perezzani

I began this herbarium in this bound volume in 1883–84 in in the fourth year of gymnasium at the age of 14.


Exploring the archives of the Civic Museums, Alessandra Calò’s discovery of Antonio Casoli Cremona’s unknown herbarium became an opportunity to reflect on new ways of conceiving the image.

While Filippo Re’s well-known herbaria stand out for their thirst for research and completeness, Antonio’s displays all the purity of curiosity still unfamiliar with the rigour of science.


With the same spirit, the artist guided a group of people from the STRADE project in the constitution of an ideal herbarium: a rayographic herbarium where the concept of beauty is extended to include imperfection, fragility and marginality.


In the representation of the gesture of care evoked by the protagonists, the imagined action becomes iconic and – thanks to the superimposition of images – it triggers a symbiosis between humanity and the nature depicted. A journey back in time through photography, the ancient printing technique and the calligraphy of the nineteenth-century herbarium.


This is how Herbarium came about, the result of a shared journey that lasted four months, in which artistic practice merged with the sensitivity and the gaze of the participants, just as when leafing through the pages of an ancient herbarium, they discover that “the flowers remained pink.”


A secondary room in Palazzo dei Musei has been transformed into the stage of this unusual experience: used for months as a darkroom and now as an exhibition space, it is now returned to the city as a space ready to host future projects. The evocative image, the background of the shop window on the street, thus draws a bridge between a place of memory and a place of collective living.


The exhibition itinerary remains an intimate experience, one felt in the works installed here supported by the digital element that highlights evocative and complex phases of the creative workshop process.


The largely forgotten inner courtyard behind the workshop acts as a counterpoint to an installation, welcoming and collecting testimonies and evocations of urban furnishings, thanks to the valuable work of the I Senzamai group, the hard-working custodians of San Lazzaro Park, and Art Factory.


The installation has been designed so that the works are accessible to everyone.


Alessandra Calò (Taranto, 1977). An artist who uses various media to explore themes linked to memory, female identity and the language of photography. The dominant practice in her work is the recovery and reinterpretation of archive material, through which she does not set out to implement a nostalgic evocation of the past but to propose a new vision of reality.


Over the years, she has specialised in ancient photographic printing techniques with which she creates works, installations and artist’s books.


Her works are part of major collections, and have been exhibited in prestigious international exhibitions and festivals: Giornata del Contemporaneo (AMACI), Festival della Filosofia (Modena), Circulation(s) Festival de la jeune photographie européenne (Paris), Les rencontres (Arles), Fotografia Europea (Reggio Emilia) and Open House (Rome).


In 2019, her book Secret Garden was given honourable mention at the Bastianelli Prize for the best photographic book published in Italy.

01/05 SUNDAY

H 11 and 16

Guided tour of Herbarium. I fiori sono rimasti rosa (Palazzo dei Musei) with the artist and workshop participants

Free. Reservations are recommended: 0522 456816


Palazzo dei Musei
via Secchi, 1
Reggio Emilia



opening days
29th of April › 19-23
30th of April › 10-23
1st of May › 10-20

from 7th of May to 12th of June
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays › 10 - 18

Palazzo dei Musei