Stories change the way they present themselves. Sometimes it could be a book, sometimes a song, a dance move, sometimes a movie and sometimes a picture. Anyway, something is making its way.”

The director Alessia Scarso uses her cinematographic point of view to read one step above reality and one below fantasy. She monologues with the night and the stars through a photo exhibition of landscapes in which time stops and where the flow of events is reshaped by timelapses.

AD SIDERA. C’era una Volta Celeste” (Once upon a time the sky), is presented with music by the composer Marco Cascone. The exhibition invites you to fully experience the harmony between the astronomical elements and a terrestrial scenario. It nostalgically sings to a starry sky which is becoming less and less visible due to human contamination.

Pictures, video and multisensory rooms create a contemplative journey through time, into the night and beyond the visible. Like in a concert, beauty and scientific data have a dialogue which is placed in a Wonderland.

Through her various works, the director uncovers the vault of a church to reveal the true Celestial Vault by playing with the invisible and the imperceptible. All of this is done in a multimedia presentation that gives the name to the exhibition. Guests of the exhibition are the painter Ilde Barone and the award-winning astrophotographers of Pictores Caeli, of which the director is a member.

In a historical moment that sees Man and Nature battle for the supremacy on Earth, Alessia Scarso asks Heaven, the place of Man’s greatest questions, the comfort to access a state of enchantment and wonder as a wish for peace.


Former Convent of Carmine, Piazza Matteotti, Modica (RG)

from [August 22, 2021] to [January 9, 2022]

from Friday to Sunday from 16.30 to 20.30

Ad Sidera spaces – 36

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Ad Sidera spazi – 11

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Ad Sidera spaces – 32

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Ad Sidera spazi – 29

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Ad Sidera – Exhibition opening

Ad Sidera – Exhibition opening

Ad Sidera – Exhibition opening

Ad Sidera – Exhibition opening

Ad Sidera – Exhibition opening

Alessia Scarso – Ad Sidera – Exhibition opening

Ad Sidera – Exhibition opening

Ad Sidera – Exhibition opening

Ad Sidera – Exhibition opening

Ad Sidera – Exhibition opening

Ad Sidera – Exhibition opening

AD SIDERA – Milky Way over house of memories

AD SIDERA – Stars and fireflies

AD SIDERA – Surprise over Tyrrhenian Sea

AD SIDERA – Postcard

AD SIDERA – AD SIDERA – Moon at 4% over St. John church

AD SIDERA – Full moon over St. John church

AD SIDERA – Moon at 2% over St. John church

AD SIDERA – The carob tree and the comet III

AD SIDERA – Lunar eclipse in conjunction with Mars and meteor shower over Fornace Penna

Ad Sidera – Alessia Scarso

AD SIDERA – Alessia Scarso

Ad Sidera – Alessia Scarso

To my father, who is up there with me

It doesn’t matter if stories change the form in which they present themselves. Sometimes it could be a book, sometimes a song, a dance move, sometimes a movie and sometimes a picture. Anyway, something is making its way.

It all started with my discomfort of looking at eye level. What I perceived did not nourish me, and I felt the need to look up, searching for something cleaner. I could say that this is it, because a visitor would need nothing else: the relationship between a spectator and a piece of art is an intimate moment.

Looking up to the sky is not something new for me. I had already experienced this as a curious teenager during vigils to the stars and campfires, and during nights fishing on the beach when I was in their constant company. Hours and hours in the dark, with plenty of time to allow the eye to get use to the darkness. It didn’t pass much time and there I was, with a camera next to the fishing rod. The camera would help me to see beyond what the human eye is capable of achieving.

My eyes up to the sky and my feet on the ground did not push me further and further away, but on the contrary, they pull me closer than ever. I discovered the pleasure of contemplation: it was a kind of ecstasy linked to the joy that some things existed only because I could observe them. In the landscapes I sought, observed, explored and contemplated, I felt the tension of the bond with the Universe, but still I had my feet on the ground.

The difficulty of finding suitable dark places has given me the opportunity to understand to what extent mankind has imposed on others and on the environment, and at the same time, how much I was comforted from the distance to the engulfing human work. In the silence,  the belonging to a larger whole starts to emerge, which is comforting in the face of the ineluctable cycle of life and communion with the Universe. Therefore, the sky has become the natural extension of my home.

The experiences of listening, research and contemplation have given me a small awareness: the feeling of being infinite in the infinitely large, but also of feeling infinitely large in the infinitely small.

The Sun is the star of our solar system, there are 4 billion stars in the Milky Way and ours is only one among billions of galaxies in the Universe. In this order of magnitudes, each one of us remains unique and unrepeatable. There has never been anything like us in the history of the Universe, nor there will ever be.

Here is what I think when I am under the sky: I have the honor to access a state of wonder and comfort in my human nature. In the same way, this is why everyone, taking their being with themselves, will be able to see their own suggestions reflected in the photo shoots of this exhibition. Perhaps they will be able to experience the indisputable truth of being precious, unique and thinking individuals, temporary guests and often profaners of a beautiful place.

Alessia Scarso

Who learns to feel the rapture and radiance of things, in turn generates radiance and rapture and causes fates” (Christian Bobin)

The Astronativity is a diorama, a model that reproduces a realistic and imaginary scenario fot the Nativity. In this papier-mâché version the most special workmanship is the sky, in which the constellations of the year 7 B.C. have been faithfully reconstructed through fiber optic wires, differentiating the brightness of the stars with 1, 1.5 and 2 mm wires. Upon the Nativity is the astronomical conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces. The representation as a comet of the “Star of Bethlehem” mentioned in the Gospel of St. Matthew, however, is due to Giotto in the 14th century. This interpretation by the painter was surely influenced by having witnessed the passage of Halley’s Comet in 1301 AD.

Astri del Ciel is a special series of cyanotype prints.

Cyanotype is an ancient printing process. Iron salts spread on paper react with the sun’s rays. The paper develops with water and the image is revealed in a single color Prussian blue.

It is a completely manual process, which makes each copy unique.

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The sky according to the astrophotographer, Alessia Scarso exhibits in Modica

Corriere della Sera
August 7, 2021
title AD SIDERA. Once upon a time the Sky
year 2021
place Former Convento del Carmine, MODICA
State Italy
production Fondazione Teatro Garibaldi Modica
curators Paolo Nifosì and Tonino Cannata
with the participation of Ilde Barone
and of Pictores Caeli
original soundtrack Marco Cascone
design of exhibition Alessia Scarso
staging of exhibition Galleria Lo Magno
press office Medialive
main sponsor