Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings: An Exhibition by Matilde Cassani

Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings: An Exhibition by Matilde Cassani
Photo by Ivan Sarfatti

Storefront for Art and Architecture will be host to Matilde Cassani’s Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings, an archive and exhibition that unveils the secret sacred territory throughout New York. The exhibition will run from September 14 – November 5th with an opening reception on September 13 at 7pm. Cassani’s work explores the pluralism of religion as it manifests itself in contemporary non-traditional spaces – hidden away in the niches of the contemporary city. This exhibit will have a collection of analytical and speculative works, to be read as a public archive and exhibition.

Continue after the break for more on this exhibit.

The growth of urban societies has shifted the traditional ways in which religious places fit into the physical vocabulary of cities.  Over the development of urban centers, urbanists and sociologists speculated that religion would gradually disappear as societies grew more secular.  The demand for religious spaces have no diminished; on the contrary, they have been altered by the new urban religious communities that require them.

Courtesy of Matilde Cassani

The photographs are hints that uncover the true life of religion in our cities.  They are hidden away, and Cassani’s exhibit uncovers them as if on a scavenger hunt, collecting the pieces of a story left in fragments.  Most of what we now identify as religious spaces are retrofitted spaces and they are only identifiable by their signage.

Courtesy of Matilde Cassani

The exhibit is organized as a public archive, with an open call for contributions that invites the public to submit stories or memories of a visit, a sketch of a known space, a photograph of a street sign, a location in a map, or anything that might help construct the most comprehensive guide to the sacred unknown of New York. The aim of the call for submissions and the archive is to bring awareness to the number of hidden spaces within New York dedicated to the different beliefs of its citizens.

Courtesy of Matilde Cassani

Storefront will be transformed into a golden wall framing three spaces for reflection and containing three different series of objects: 1.) Taxonomical Readings of the New York Archive; 2.) Spiritual Devices; and 3.) Symbolic Objects. Be sure to stop by if you are in New York City to participate in an urban exploration of scared spaces throughout our city. As a closing ceremony, a series of talks, lectures and debates will take place on Saturday November 5th from 1pm to 7pm. Details to come.

Courtesy of Matilde Cassani

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Cite: Irina Vinnitskaya. "Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings: An Exhibition by Matilde Cassani" 10 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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