ART – Micha Ullman’s sculpture Second Home restored in Rome

On the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Rome, Micha Ullman’s sculpture Second Home. Jerusalem – Rome was restored to its original location near the former Jewish Roman Ghetto. The Israeli artist, internationally renowned for his works commemorating historical events and tragedies, created the small-scale monument for Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2004.
Depicting two stylized houses in an hourglass shape, the sculpture was installed on a sidewalk in Piazza di Monte Savello to symbolize the connection between two beacon cities of Western society, while also alluding to the wounds of a sometimes-difficult relationship. It also referenced to the Nazi-fascist roundup of October 16, 1943 and the destruction of the “Second Home” of Judaism, the Second Temple of Jerusalem, which was ravaged in the year 70 by troops under the command of Titus.
Disassembled by mistake during road resurfacing work, the artwork was restored on June 5 in a ceremony held on a doubly symbolic date: not only the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Rome but also the 57th anniversary of the liberation and unification of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.
The proposal to restore the sculpture on this date “stems from an initiative of the Jewish Community of Rome, in collaboration with the relevant city council office, the first municipality, and the Israeli Embassy,” explained art historian and curator Giorgia Calò, director of the Community Cultural Center. “And what better date to convey this message?”
Calò is familiar with Ullman’s work. This is evident in her 2023 curatorial project, “Zakhor/Ricorda,” a six-part exhibition across various civic museums in the capital, which included Second Home. “Memory belongs to all of us, it is a civic duty,” she emphasized at the time. Not by chance, in the Torah, “the imperative ‘zakhor’, meaning remember, appears 222 times: a sign of the fundamental importance of this activity.”
Micha Ullman (Tel Aviv, 1939) is known for his underground installations. In Germany, the birthplace of his parents, he has designed memorials dedicated to the Holocaust, including Library (1995) at Bebelplatz in Berlin, in remembrance of the Nazi book burning on May 10, 1933.