I am here, I was there

Time-based media and acrylic paint
H 17" x W 25" x D 18'
The Vatican Gallery at OKOK Gallery
10.11 – 10.26.08
5107 Ballard Avenue NW
Seattle, WA 98107


The Vatican is proud to announce its debut exhibition I am here, I was there, a site-specific installation produced with traditional and time-based media by artist Iole Alessandrini. The exhibition explores notions of the city-state — a city inside a city, and the limitations inherent in the documentation of memory and place.

Project Description

I am here, I was there, alludes to the Vatican in Rome without the manifestation of an actual architectural model. Alessandrini appropriates the notion of ‘extraterritorial status’ of the Vatican in Rome — a condition of special privileges similar to that embassies enjoy in the rest of the world — to extend the limits of the Vatican in Ballard beyond the drawer and over the ceiling of OKOK gallery. The interactive nature of the work transports the viewer within the mediated space of a camera and screen within the micro exhibition space, viewed from chest level and angled upwards towards the ceiling. As visitors move in and out of the camera’s visual field, attention is guided toward the ceiling in which words LA CITTA' DEL VATICANO (I AM THERE ) are spelled backwards and in anamorphic perspective; a metaphor for an overhead Renaissance trompe l’oeil technique. The ceiling text forms a hemicycle in reference to the columns in Saint Peter’s Square located in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. I am here, I was there suggests a liberating alternative to tourist catered Las Vegas style architecture and the Disneyfication of historical icons that deny visitor interpretation or associative input in favor of a manufactured pre-packaged experience.


I wish to thank Ed Mannery, who has been my partner in many of the exhibitions done over the last eight years, for his generosity and talent in designing and fabricating the built-in video device that makes the live component of the piece; Astra Zarina, dear teacher and friend, your passion for a world without boundaries between art and architecture continues to inspire me.

Iole Alessandrini


Charlie Kitchings