Noi e loro

(A link, a gap, a loss, a clue, a metaphor, a memory)

CR 898. Year 2011

Noi e loro Jochen Gerz CR 898 photo LV
Noi e loro Jochen Gerz CR 898 6 web
Noi e loro Jochen Gerz CR 898 3 web
Noi e loro Jochen Gerz CR 898 2 web IMG 0604 photo Rodolfo Fiorenza
Noi e loro Jochen Gerz CR 898 2 web

Giuseppe Abruzzese, Aderibigbe Fatai Kolapo Ayoade, Maria Luisa Albanese, Maria Susana Alvarez, Enrica Angelini, Giuseppe Antonelli, Antonio Baldini, Pierangelo Barbieri, Giovanna Bizyak, Francesco ...

… Gerz has disseminated more than eighty nameplates in the field. We immediately try to focus on who, for example, Wolfang Krostitz or Marco Jacopo Kauffmanin or Mara De Angelis could be. No matter how hard we try, they are names that fail to evoke anything in our memory. And it is natural, because in reality they are not characters connected to some historical episode or particular event, but names of people linked to the now, to the present day, of the inhabitants of Ostia.

Daniela Trincia 2011

… Gerz ha disseminato nel campo più di ottanta targhette riportanti dei nomi. Immediatamente si cerca di mettere a fuoco chi possa essere, ad esempio, Wolfang Krostitz o Marco Jacopo Kauffmanin o Mara De Angelis. Per quanto ci si possa sforzare, sono nomi che non riescono a evocare nulla nella nostra memoria. Ed è naturale, perché in realtà non sono personaggi connessi a qualche episodio storico o particolare evento, ma nomi di persone legate all’adesso, all’oggi, di abitanti ostiensi.

Daniela Trincia 2011

Noi e loro is an ambiguous title: it suggests a difference, a distance, even a hostility, as well as a common trait, something shared: the passage from antagonism to dialogue is, for Gerz, precisely the role of memory and the works dedicated to it. With a full awareness of history, it is necessary to transform yesterday’s foes into today’s friends, to work with the living to honour the dead. For these reasons, the field in Ostia is populated by living people … Thus, if the field separates the “us" of the synagogue from the “them" of the settlement in Ostia, Noi e loro inverts this meaning, bridging the gap and seeking dialogue and understanding. With a work that is not eternal like a monument, but temporary and reversible, like an encounter: the piece is an illegal guest, more like the medicinal herbs themselves, cultivated while awaiting the next phase of excavations. The work and nature contend the field: legible in January, when the grass has been freshly cut, the names are progressively absorbed by the grown grass and other spontaneous flowers.

Adachiara Zevi 2012

Here … appear the names of living beings that take possession of their remote history and that, like this, will be swallowed up by time, by vegetation, by the cycle of nature.

Quercioli Mincer 2021

Qui … appaiono i nomi di esseri viventi che riprendono possesso della lorostoria remota e che, come questa, verranno comunque fagocitati daltempo, dalla vegetazione, dal ciclo della natura.

Quercioli Mincer 2021

Public Authorship / Work in Public Space

Ostia, Italy

82 plaques with a corresponding number of names from the 2011 Ostia phone book are randomly installed on a field (names printed on white paper in a transparent acrylic frame, identical to those used in the Botanical Gardens in Rome, 6.8 x 10.2 cm, on a copper support 40 cm from the ground)

A large field separates the ancient town of Ostia and a small synagogue (both unearthed). The field between both contains more remains from the past but funding to continue the archaeological search has not been sourced. Since scientists did not return to open the ground to find what is hidden (a suburb, a settlement, a ghetto?), the field has been used to grow medicinal plants and more recently to host an artwork, Noi e loro (A link, a gap, a loss, a clue, a metaphor, a memory). The plants and the art share the field and preserve the secret of the two sites: the space between them they cannot claim.


Ostia, 30.1 – 3.4 - 2011


Arteinmemoria, La Fondation VOLUME, Ostia Antica


Ic: Ostia 2012

II: Ed. 7, 2011. Ed. 8, 2011. Caravaglio 2011. Dawe 2011. Trincia 2011

V: Zevi 2012, pp. 61-77, 102-105. Zevi 2014. Quercioli Mincer 2021, pp. 26, 28, 238, 296-301

Access general bibliography

My name is Jochen Gerz