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Barcelona kicks off a series of events on Primo Levi: ‘Il testimone, lo scrittore, lo scienziato’
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Barcelona kicks off a series of events on Primo Levi: ‘Il testimone, lo scrittore, lo scienziato’

Categories: Culture and creativity -Literature and Publishing
A series of initiatives in the Catalan city to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the author's death and the 75th anniversary of the publication of 'If This is a Man'.
Locandina - Tratta dal sito dell' IIC Barcellona
Locandina – Tratta dal sito dell’ IIC Barcellona

The Italian Cultural Institute of Barcelona and the Centre de la Memoria del Born of the City of Barcelona, with the patronage of the Centro Internazionale di Studi Primo Levi di Torino, present a series of events dedicated to Primo Levi, a central figure in 20th century Italian and world literature and one of the main witnesses of the Shoah.

The event will be inaugurated on 5 May at the Centro del Born and will be attended by the leading local and Italian authorities in Barcelona.

Through his writing, Primo Levi was a key witness to the experience of the deportation of the Jews to the Nazi camps. In addition to the literary quality of his work, his unique position in the literature of witnessing is based on his own direct experience, which provides an incontrovertible eyewitness account of what took place.  Moreover, Levi’s work, beyond the immediate account of ‘If This is a Man’, unfolded and developed over the course of his entire lifetime, which itself becomes a commitment to understanding and active witnessing, through the paradoxes and difficulties of transmitting experiences both within one’s lifetime and to the generations to come.

His profession as a chemist played an important role in Levi’s life and work: his profession helped him to survive Auschwitz-Birkenau and provided him with one of the tools of the scientist, that of distancing, which made observation possible and, later, in the mediation of writing, reflection and analysis.

Finally, his passion for mountains and climbing, practiced throughout his life, is worth being discussed due to the role it played both in the formation of his character and in his dramatic experience in the Lager.

The series of events will commence with the installation ‘Io sono un centauro’ (I Am a Centaur). It is made up of five photographs in different sizes by Primo Levi, five short texts from ‘The Periodic Table’ and an interview (‘Io sono un centauro…’) suspended from the centre of the ceiling of the Born CCM.  The exhibition will be running alongside all the centre’s other activities and will be on display from May to June.

This will be followed by a screening of the documentary ‘Gli sci di Primo Levi’ (The Skis of Primo Levi) by Bruna Bertani, directed by Paola Toscano.

On 7 and 8 May there will be a piano concert and readings of passages from ‘If This is a Man’ and ‘The Truce’ performed by composer Sira Hernández and with actors Cristina Giordano (Italian) and Francesc Orella (Catalan), under the stage direction of Judith Pujol.

Between 24 and 26 May, and again on 7 and 9 June, a series of study days, conferences and round tables are being held, all focusing on the multifaceted figure of the author of ‘If This is a Man’.

More information at

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