Margherita Moscardini “Inventory. The Fountains of Za’atari” at Pastificio Cerere, Rome

District 8, February 2018
Production Still. Photo Margherita Moscardini  and Mohamed Khalf


Inventory. The Fountains of Za’atari is a project by Margherita Moscardini. It is the result of a work developed inside Camp Za’atari in Jordan, the second largest refugee camp in the world. The project is supported by the Fondazione Pastificio Cerere (Rome) and the exhibition is curated by Marcello Smarrelli.

The project is the winner of the first edition of the Italian Council 2017 prize, a competition conceived by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Peripheries (DGAAP) of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism, to promote contemporary Italian art in the world. The central nucleus of the exhibition are the book and the sculpture destined to the collection of Madre – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina in Naples. Inventory. The Fountains of Za’atari has also been created with the support of the Italian Embassy in Amman, Jordan; The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Darat al Funun, Amman; AICS Amman; and the UNHCR, in collaboration with the collective directed by Abu Tammam Al Khedeiwi Al Nabilsi and Marta Bellingreri.

Camp Za’atari was opened in 2012 in Jordan to welcome Syrians escaping from the civil war. In 2015 the population there reached 150,000 people, becoming the fourth greatest city in Jordan. Currently there are 80,000 Syrian residents.

“Za’atari is a privileged observatory into which enormous resources have been invested and advanced technologies for services and energy systems have been trialed. Up to this point, Za’atari has given us the opportunity to be part of the rapid process of city formation: within five years the desert has been turned first into a tent city and then into a city with its own economic system”—Margherita Moscardini

Since September 2017 Margherita Moscardini has worked in the field observing it through the double paradigm set by the conditions of the refugees that, on the one hand call into question the concepts of Europe, United Nations and nation state, and on the other side make us consider the camps as urban realities. Can these cities bethought of not simply as the result of a humanitarian emergency, but in the long term, as virtuous systems where the best minds have devoted their skills in order to shape juridical, economic and social models to be exported, perhaps even able to replace the concept of nation state?

In addition to the exhibition being held at the Fondazione Pastificio Cerere in Rome there will be numerous presentations of the project that will follow the first one that took place on June 15 at the Gallery of Modern Art in Palermo during the opening of Manifesta12. Future presentations will include: Italian Institute of Culture, Istanbul (September 2018); MAXXI, National Museum of 21st Century Arts, Rome (27 September 2018); Polytechnic of Milan (1 October 2018); Italian Institute of Culture, Bruxelles (3 October 2018, 7pm); Centre of Photography, Geneva (Autumn 2018); Columbia University, New York (Autumn 2018); Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, Barcelona (Autumn/Winter 2018).


Margherita Moscardini (Italy, 1981) currently works between Jordan and Italy. She received her degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna with a thesis in Cultural Anthropology under professor Roberto Daolio (2006); she attended the XIV Advanced Course in Visual Arts, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, Visiting Professor Yona Friedman (2008). She has developed her own projects as guest of various institutions among which: Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2012); Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Rome (2012-2013); MMCA Changdong, Seoul, Korea (2014); and ISCP, New York (2015). In 2015 she was a fellow of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University, New York. Her work has been presented via talks and lectures in: SVA, ISCP, IIC and Columbia University, NY; Base progetti per l’arte, Florence; Museum MAXXI and Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome.


Amman, October 2017, informal settlement in an ex extraction site
Production Still. Photo Margherita Moscardini


Al Za’atari Refugee Camp, January 2018, work in progress on the Ring road
Production Still. Photo Margherita Moscardini


Al Za’atari Refugee Camp, 22 October 2017
Photo Margherita Moscardini


MASTER PLAN (detail), Land of Mafraq on paper


Al Za’atari Refugee Camp, November 2017, drone view, video still


Margherita Moscardini
Inventory. The Fountains of Za’atari
Curated by Marcello Smarrelli
12 July–24 November 2018
Opening 11 July 2018, 7pm

Fondazione Pastificio Cerere | Via degli Ausoni 7, 00185 Roma
Opening hours: Mon–Fri, 3–7pm, Sat 4–8pm
+39 06 45422960