the meaning of silence

After 30 years of work, the famous Cretto of Gibellina thought and realized by the artist Alberto Burri is finally completed.  


In 1968 a strong earthquake, known as the Belice earthquake, destroyed the old town of Gibellina, Sicily. The artist came in his help offering to cover the rubble, maintaining its urban footprint, with an immense pouring of white cement called CRETTO.

 Cretto di Gibellina completato, 2015

This work is a sort of concrete labyrinth and is also used as a subject of theatrical shows.  The Great Cretto of Gibellina has a viable form, it contains all the ancient inhabited area of that poor town of the Belice Valley extinct on a winter night in 1968. Going down into its cracks and getting lost in its mazes - that were once the very roads of Gibellina- it is possible to feel the void that the destruction had brought.  The Great Cretto evokes both the catastrophe that occurred as well as the inextinguishability of memory which, while veiling everything, highlights it.  In front of the Great Cretto of Gibellina we understand that form is a real thing, that space is a thought that can be differently replicated and opened, and, that art has the power to give meaning to things with the most eloquent of silences.


The new town of Gibellina has been rebuilt about 20 km from the city's original location, but Burri wanted to work on the old one to preserve its memory.  The project began in 1985 but by 1989 work had to be interrupted leaving nearly a third of the total surface area incomplete and then ended in 2015, for the Burri's one-hundredth birthday. 


Now it is one of the most significant works of landscape art in Europe.