The original name of Cretto di Burri is Grande Cretto and it is a land-art work created by Alberto Burri between Trapani and Palermo, where old Gibellina once stood.
The terrible earthquake of January 15 in 1968 totally destroyed the historic center of Gibellina. In the following years the city of Nuova Gibellina was rebuilt 20 km away from the rubble and several artists and architects contributed to the reconstruction initiatives. Among these, there was Alberto Burri.
What are the “cretti”? The cracks are cellotex surfaces with the addition of glues, earth and white mixture that recall the cracks in clayey earth. At the sight of the Gibellina rubble in Burri, he had the idea to reproduce one of “his” Cretti on an environmental scale.
The project was to restore the shape of the streets, the town and the reliefs, like a shroud on the shapes of the deceased.
The works started in 1985 but they were interrupted in 1989, then they were completed in May 2015, as Burri wanted.
Once the work was definitively completed, there was a strong need to give an information tool to visitors of the Cretto.
The intent was to build a common identity through the creation of a monument of cultural and social value. With these ideals, in May 2019, the Museo del Grande Cretto di Gibellina opened. The Museus is located in the old Church of Santa Caterina, 300 meters away from the cretto. It is the only building that survived the earthquake and was born from the need to tell the origins of Burri’s work, its design and construction. The museum, in fact, recovers, preserves and communicates the memory of Gibellina in a simbolic way.
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