It is often the unexpected beauty of small and simple things that arouses the greatest wonder. Quilling. Devotional creations from cloistered orders (the catalogue of the exhibition, curated by Elena Geuna, at the Pinacoteca Gianni e Marella Agnelli,) offers us an insight into these little jewels, created using the minutely detailed art of quilling.
Made between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, and known in France as paperoles, these quilling reliquaries were made for the home or for convents, traditionally by cloistered nuns. They were decorated with intricate compositions in paper and other materials (wax, ivory, glass and crystals)and were designed to add embellishment to the relic held inside.
Quilling. Devotional creations from cloistered orders gathers together some of the finest examples of these miniature works of art. Examples include pieces from the private collection of American photographer Nan Goldin, who is showing photographs taken especially for the event.
With around 200 images of paperoles and their minutiae, an essay by Bernard Berthod, Consultor to the Pontificial Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, and interviews by Elena Geuna with Nan Goldin and other collectors.
The catalogue – designed specially to enhance the silhouettes and decorations of the works – mixes different types of paper to emulate the fragility of the paper scrollwork decorations themselves: small masterpieces of huge symbolic value that reveal the lifestyles, rites and traditions from which they derive.