Stone of Madness


The element of stone as a cause of soul imbalance is a belief born in the late Middle Ages and continued in the Renaissance, especially in the geographical area of Northern Europe.

This small rock, which for unknown reasons appeared inside the skull of some individuals, caused behavioural deviance, madness and weirdness. It was a foreign body that had to be eradicated. This practice of “extraction”, as an ancestor of modern surgery, was represented in paintings, engravings and literary texts until it fell into the category of those strange practices and beliefs that history has then isolated and forgotten. In any case, the drilling of the skull was not a medieval invention. Hippocrates wrote about it and archaeology offers evidence of it dating back to 8000 years ago. In prehistoric times, men practised operations on the skull using a flint scraper, and in various parts of the planet this practice subsists as a propitiatory ritual or more generally as a method that allows spirits - benign or evil - to get out of the body and mind. The Stone of Madness project aims to investigate some aspects related to these traditions and beliefs; it is based on the testimonies that have come to us and that are still preserved in museum institutions or in their archives. The artworks have been made of different materials of various origins: medical instruments, archival photographs and natural elements with unique properties. The element of stone is represented by the socalled “fluorites”, mineral stones of different shapes and properties. The term comes from the Latin word "fluere", that means melting. Classified in the category of spars, i.e. those minerals that can be easily split off (from the German "spalten", to divide), some of these stones when exposed to ultraviolet rays present the phenomenon of fluorescence, which takes its name from this material, changing into incredible and different shades. Some beliefs also give fluorite healing powers for memory, disorientation and lack of concentration.

“The stone is the head “.



Christian Fogarolli, lumière de l'âme, 2018, Installation, steel, glasses, stone, light, plastic, 180 x 50 x 50 cm