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Foto: David Mesguich

Kolloquium und Lesekreis

Formen der Leere – Architektur und Stadt

6. Intensive Study Week GAP in Florenz

Graffiti Art in Prison

Link zum Plakat

27 March – 1 April 2023 – Florence

Modes of expression and resistance in prison environments: graffiti in their devotional and political dimensions 

Biblical scenes, figures of saints and martyrs, and depictions of Christ and the Virgin Mary are among the motifs most frequently represented on the walls of the Inquisition prisons as well as other places of reclusion and detention. In this workshop, we will explore the votive dimension of graffiti and the role of muralism as a form of political activism, social criticism, and vehicle for protest and resistance. Locally, we will also consider the historical legacy of sgraffito on Florentine palatial façades and its relationship to contemporary graffiti. We will start with the example of Florence’s Le Murate, a former female monastery turned prison, and then move to prison islands as extreme examples of punitive isolation. Other Italian case studies, such as graffiti in the Inquisition prison in Narni, Oreste Nannetti’s graffiti in Volterra former psychiatric hospital, and William Kentridge’s ‘political’ frieze in Rome, offer the opportunity to discuss relationships between punishment and expiation, faith and devotion, art and dictatorship, freedom and censorship, and concealment and visibility. Collectively, we will reflect on the (im)permanence of graffiti and its intrinsic fragility as a medium entrusted with the precarious task of preserving memory.


Monday, 27 March: Political Prisons and Human Rights

Tuesday, 28 March: Prison Islands

Wednesday, 29 March: The Devotional Dimension of Graffiti and Public Art as Palimpsest

Thursday, 30 March: Psychiatric Hospitals and Outsider Art

Friday, 31 March: Conservation and Exhibition of Street Art

Saturday, 1 April: Conference at Sollicciano Prison