Maria di Magdala

Maria di Magdala – ongoing

Benedetta Casagrande & Leonardo Falascone


Maria di Magdala (working title) investigates the creation of the myth of Saint Mary Magdalene. Reflecting on the complex relationship between memory and faith, authenticity and fiction, the project questions by what means imaginary narratives shape and transform substantial reality to the point of making them indistinguishable. Established and represented as a symbol of penance and salvation, the figure of Mary Magdalene is deeply rooted in our collective memory and still exerts influence over society’s expectations towards women. For once the myth has been created, we forget to be its creators: culture goes unquestioned to such an extent we fail to recognize our being its own masters. Retracing the Saint’s passage into Southern France as narrated in the medieval “Golden Legend” - which tells the story of Mary Magdalene’s journey by boat from Jerusalem to the Camargue - the project examines how the myth was constructed and adoperated to establish the local landscape as a post-biblical Holy Land, transferring from Palestine to Europe not only the cult and the vestiges of the material presence of the Saint, but the pilgrimage experience itself. Adopting the boat without oars of her legendary travel as a symbolic carrier of the self - a vessel of histories, myths and traditions - Maria di Magdala hopes to unveil the constructedness of culture in order to question its very origins and revive the lively multiplicity of her historical identities.