Riccardo Giacconi

My Grandmother Reads the 'Theses on the Concept of History' by Walter Benjamin
video, 35’, 2007




The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.

For every image of the past that is not recognized by the present as one of its own concerns threatens to disappear irretrievably.

– Walter Benjamin




My grandmother reads the 21 'Theses on the Concept of History', a text in which Walter Benjamin discusses issues as the “moment of legibility” of a text, the transmission of history, revolution and redemption: each act of reading is itself an act of responsibility.

My grandmother reads each thesis in a location that is (or has been) important for her life – for her history.








Exhibited at: Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino, Italy (2013); Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, USA (2011); neon>campobase, Bologna (2009); Tese dell'Arsenale, Venezia; Careof, Milano (2008); S.A.L.E, Venezia, (2007).