Paolo Zermani’s Religious Work
“Von Herzen zu Herzen gehen!” The sentiment Beethoven encoded in dedicating his Missa solemnis to Archduke Rudolph is what Paolo Zermani pursues with his most spiritual work. And if the composer of symphonies and sonatas, more than of oratorios, channeled his human preoccupation with the divine through music, so can the Parmesan architect of fine interventions on heritage create sacred spaces that move the soul and stoke up communion with God, as shown last year at the Diocesan Museum of Mantua.
In 2015, when Zermani was commissioned for an “architectural and liturgical” revamp of Alberti’s Basilica of Sant’Andrea, the city’s bishopric was inspired to show more projects that would highlight the religious sensibility of this fervent reader of Guardini, whose buildings for worship and funeral rituals follow a path to eternity through matter, light, and silence: a renunciation concretized in open but non-evident forms, where rites are subsumed in a landscape which allows contemplation of the world in both its earthly reality and its ideal.
Peace is found in the tranquility of order, so the retrospective’s curator wanted a sedate arrangement of minimal elements, more evocative than descriptive. Such laconism infuses the catalog too. Conscientious texts are followed by a few red-line perspectives, silent even when expressive, and seven built works featured with b/w photos. Works where the sacramental aggiornamento is reconciled with the “beauty so old and so new” that still nourishes faith and architecture alike.