Buona Fortuna #9, from the Buona Fortuna series

Buona Fortuna

In Buona Fortuna, the artist transports us to the mountains of the “Parco Nazionale del Cilento” in the south of Italy, where several isolated villages were abandoned after a series of devastating earthquakes and landslides. Hidden among these ruins, and despite all the decay and destruction, several churches and chapels reveal themselves in all their glory. A closer look into Rubio’s photographs expose empty altars and pedestals; in fact all the relics are missing. This is a direct consequence from the looters and art merchants who didn’t think twice about breaking in and remove paintings, sculptures and other sacred relics.

Despite all the emptiness and destruction, Rubio manages to capture these places in all their beauty. A tragic, sublime, almost surreal representation of a fragile yet astounding legacy. With his large format colour prints, the artist invites us to walk into an ephemeral world where grandeur and decadence clash. A conflict that draws the viewer into a deeper reflection about the value of these contemporary ruins, and ultimately the meaning of them.

Buona Fortuna is not asking for reconstruction nor restoration of the churches, but to preserve them as what they are today: true works of art. Rubio is currently busy trying to get all the permissions and funding to reopen some of them to the public. His plan is creating a series of new artworks and installations that will replace the stolen figures, transforming these abandoned places into new cultural scenarios. But for now, his photographs have brought places back to life; places that we couldn’t even dream of.

In collaboration with Gianluca Tesauro

Buona Fortuna #2, from the Buona Fortuna series

Buona Fortuna #7, from the Buona Fortuna series

Buona Fortuna #8, from the Buona Fortuna series

Buona Fortuna #8 (detail), from the Buona Fortuna series

Buona Fortuna #1, from the Buona Fortuna series

Buona Fortuna #4, from the Buona Fortuna series

Buona Fortuna #10, from the Buona Fortuna series. 

Buona Fortuna #5 and #12, from the Buona Fortuna series

Buona Fortuna #6, from the Buona Fortuna series. The saint in this image was damaged in the earthquake. Because it’s now crooked, its figure would bring bad luck to anyone who would dare to take it home. It was the only relic rubio saw during his entire expedition.

Buona Fortuna #11, from the Buona Fortuna series. An entire fresco missing from the ceiling of this chapel in Italy.

Exhibition view at Initial Gallery, Vancouver

Exhibition view at Initial Gallery, Vancouver

Exhibition view at Initial Gallery, Vancouver

3D model (left) and sculpture (right) at Initial Gallery, Vancouver. 

3D reconstruction of the Madonna di Constantinopoli using the colours from its altar in an abandoned church