• YEAR:



    Azzurra De Gregorio

  • PHOTO:

    Cato Crevits and Civico 32

P.G.R. is a multidisciplinary and site specific project, specifically conceived for Reiefestival 2023 (Bruges),  that intends to reflect on the theme of faith through an in-depth analysis of the rituality and magic connected to creation and the offering of votive images and artefacts (ex voto), a gesture that has distinguished the human species since its origins and which is widely documented in the cultural heritage of the city of Bruges.

Ex voto is in fact ‘a Latin phrase derived from the ellipsis of ex voto suscepto, “according to the promise made”, and indicates a formula affixed to objects offered in shrines to thank the recipient of the gift (God, a saint, the Madonna, a sacred entity) of having answered a prayer. The extension of the meaning led to the designation of the object of the offering with the same phrase, also applying it to the votive offerings of the ancient world. The ex voto is a pledge of trust in the intercession of the otherworldly entity that is invoked and testifies the benefit received, which is publicly demonstrated as a visible sign of the presence of both the beneficiary and the interceding protector, in other words, it is a tangible proof of faith, the one that prompted the believer to “make a vow”, to manifest a promise to obtain help or to give thanks for having received it.

The ex voto is in fact defined by Georges Didi-Huberman as a desire capable of giving form – an organic form – to psychic time, since it indicates the symptom and the prayer of someone through the specific representation of the point in which it suffers and where he wants to be transformed, soothed, healed, converted.

Pro Gratia Recepta is dedicated to everyone who would like to thank someone for help, healing or comfort in times of pain and suffering. This may be a deity, a fate or a living being. People from all sorts of faiths and cultures express this gratitude through votives, or ex votos, inscribed with the words “pro gratia recepta”, which means “for the grace received”. During the creative workshop, audience was invited to explore all the different forms of votive objects that have existed through the ages and all over the world.  Then set to work making their own ex voto using the materials and tools provided. Finally offered their ex voto during the ritual procession along the canals. A mysterious and universal figure, neither god nor mortal, unconnected to any religion or culture, receives the offerings and carries them on her journey through the historical heart of the city.

With live music played by Accademia della Speranza.

Organized for Reiefestival (Bruges) with the support of Erfgoedcel Brugge, Cultuurcentrum Brugge, Musea Brugge and ‘t Naaldeke.

Performers Mette Vermierere, Leander Vergote.

Special thanks to Volkskundemuseum (Folk Museum), Kant Centrum.

Reiefestival website