In 1996, the Centre for Psychiatric Health of Colmar, in French Alsace, changed its location from its original home in a 20 year-old structure to a new hospital building in the centre of the old town of Colmar (near Basel). The Centre’s administration decided to offer a residency to an artist to make a large wall painting for the entrance hall of the new building, and Pietro Ruffo received the invitation. Ruffo worked in collaboration with the resident patients with the objective of at the same time producing a permanent work and easing their process of transition from one building to another. Over the span of 40 days, Ruffo organized daily workshops with the patients, involving them in tracing and getting familiar with the physical aspects of the new space and landscape. He encouraged the patients to draw, paint, produce video footage of and photograph the route from the old building to the new one, as well as of the final location, complete with its premises, pavilions, parks. Ruffo decided, at the same time, to introduce the patients to the deeply emotional Grunewald Altar Piece, located near Colmar. The connection seemed relevant, as the altarpiece in fact translates and gives shape to the horrors and phobias of human imagination, and is itself an ode to the difficult path human beings have in confronting the pains and sorrows of solitude and isolation. Grasweg (2008) is the result of Ruffo’s reflections on this experience after both the workshops and the permanent wall painting had been finished. It gives final expression to the process though a series of large-format portraits of the resident patients (Graphite, ink, gesso on board), large self‐sustaining watercolour drawings (on rolls of paper 245 cm tall) of the local landscape incorporating details from Grunewald’s altar piece, and a video composed of fragments shot by the patients themselves, in which they try to find visual and emotional correspondences between the Altar Piece and the landscape and terrain of Colmar. These are combined with documentary sections shot by Ruffo showing the patients at work, absorbed in observation or in research of the assigned topics. The result is a strong and moving life‐size installation which tells a tale of solitude, of the depths and highlights of imagination, of inner struggle and of a search for peace.

Traduzione non disponibile