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Mangiabarche Open Air Art Gallery

Mangiabarche OPEN GALLERY
Valorisation programme for the coastal conservation area known as “Mangiabarche” | Calasetta

During 2010, Conservatoria delle Coste acquired Mangiabarche property from the regional heritage: a complex of buildings located on the East coast of Sant'Antioco Island, about 5 Km South of Calasetta. The area includes an anti-naval and anti-aircraft battery built in the late 1930s with a defensive role in the World War. The area is characterized by a rich ancient settlement and a coastal marine space that represents the identity and relation element of the complex system of historic resources, settlements and environment within the area.

The objective is to develop the local area from a cultural perspective creating a network with the existing tourist-reception activities, through the conversion of the old war factories and the valorisation of an area of important ecological and scenic value. The Mangiabarche complex develops from the battery protection trenches, posted along a network of paths overlooking the top of the sea cliffs, walkable in its entirety. The stations housed the artillery, the aiming markers for which are still visible on the concrete platforms. A little further inland is the lookout tower [or firing control]. This important building was developed on two levels: the ground floor was home to the operator room and the telephone centre; the second floor housed the rangefinder, and was reached using external stairs. A little far away are some modest structures that at one time served as lodgings for commanders and personnel. A restaurant used the old Commander lodging up until the early years of the 21st Century, while the military personnel buildings were used for storage.

Former Anti-Naval Battery SR311 | Mangiabarche - Open Air Art Gallery

Mangiabarche Open Air Gallery was born in 2011 as an innovative art project, thanks to a collaboration among Conservatoria delle Coste, the London Cabinet Gallery and the Municipality of Calasetta. Up until 1997, the military stations were used by a typical Calasettana trattoria. The project involved the restoration of a former “restaurant”, which in reality had been the lodgings of the Commander and soldiers of the anti-naval battery during the Second World War. The aim of the project is to transform the existing ruins into an exhibition space for contemporary art which is conceptually and functionally linked to the existing Calasetta Museum of Contemporary Art: an Open Air Art Gallery that is truly immersed in its coastal landscape.
Today the building has changed image and will host local and international artists, whose installations and murals will reflect the landscape of the area. The curatorial objective is to create on site and exhibit works which are highly site specific: born in and for this space. The method through which the curatorial programme will evolve will be based not only on the choice of the curators, but also on the unique and unexpected conditions that they will work in. This aspect will influence both the decisions of the workers and the conceptual choices.
The unique quality of the gallery is its Open Air structure. The open nature of the space will reflect the nature of the surroundings, constantly changing and mutating. The gallery will be exposed to the atmospheric agents that cause damage and make the exposition more real and close to our lives.