Crimen Solicitationis

With this piece I was seeking to reveal a trace of the past history of the place that was hosting the show, the Old Boys Club in Dalston. I started to explore its many rooms, finding out how it used to be a boys club for kids after school in the ’50s and ’60s, how it was closed at the end of the ’60s and squatted successively.

There used to be a chapel and a priest, in the upstairs floor, next to where the kids used to play tennis table, indoor soccer, cards, games, billiard. 

From these clues, I did reconstruct an imaginary story of paedophilia, which was the true reason for which the Old Boys Club was suddenly closed and shame was thrown upon the institution.

In real life, at the same time, in 1962, the Vatican was issuing a secret document, called Crimen Sollicitationis, instructing priest on how to deal with matters of sexual abuse and called for maximum secrecy of the crime.

From this document and from the history of the Old Boys Club, I made a site-specific sculptural installation that seeks to simultaneously hide and reveal possible stories, further interpretations, memories, truths and lies connected to that specific place.

The casting of the objects was made solely on things that I found in the Old Boys Club: the chairs, the cross, player books and an old kids’ ball. These have been returned to the place, leaving ghostly empty shells as main trace and body of my installation.

From Annabelle von Gisenwald’s review of the show:

Francesca Galeazzi reveals forms containing connotations of mystery. She questions why the “Old Boy’s Club” could’ve been closed permanently in 1962. Galeazzi’s installation of 3 chairs and one cross become visible through their exterior forms. These objects from the chapel of the “Old Boy’s Club” have been covered with white sheets as they may have been stored dust-free. However the objects are no longer found underneath. The installation refers to the location of the exhibition and traces a possible story of pedophilia. In addition prayer books and the Vatican’s 1962 press release protecting priests representing the power of the church. Are written words and their command to obey by all, which is “real”? Galeazzi’s installation literally covers only to uncover the rhetoric of the church to trace secrets of child sexual abuse behind closed doors.