Dora García

Books are bodies (they can be dismembered) is the title of Spanish artist Dora García’s work designed for and in relation to the book heritage of the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome. The project consisted of an exhibition, a performance and a reading group, developing a reflection on the notion of censorship and its implications. García worked on a selection of censored, erased, dismembered books from the collection of the Biblioteca Casanatense: tracing their connections and reconstructing their silenced histories, the artist analyzed the potential subversion that was recognized within the texts.

On September 21, Dora García proposed a session of reading and conversation at the Real Academia de España en Roma, in order to explore the issues raised by the book Apocalypsis Nova by Beato Amadeo Da Silva, part of the installation at the Biblioteca Casanatense. The artist shared with the participants excerpts from this text and other related books to read and discuss together the interference between mysticism and politics.

Apocalypsis Nova is presented as a revealed text, that is, one that was born from the transcription of a conversation that took place between Amadeus of Portugal and the Archangel Gabriel. This mystical encounter is said to have taken place in the crypt where the Apostle Peter is said to have been crucified, where today stands the Tempietto di San Pietro in Montorio, part of the Real Academia de España en Roma. Taking inspiration from the events related to this work born in the late 15th century, García put together a complex narrative, made of bodies and voices, people and books, that winded through various places in the city, linking the spaces of the Casanatense to those of the Spanish Academy.

The program of Books are bodies (they can be dismembered) also included:


  • From Sept. 07 to Sept. 28 – Installation at the Monumental Hall of the Biblioteca Casanatense. The exhibition was open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 2 pm. Access free of charge.
  • Sept. 28 – Performance in the Reading Room of the Biblioteca Casanatense, with the participation of Brianda Carreras and Maria Elena Fantoni. Finissage of the exhibition in the Monumental Hall.