A return to the imaginary and the fantastic
The project of Padiglione Italia at 57th International Art Exhibition in Venice fully embodies the theme proposed by this year’s curator, Christine Macel, who has defined Viva Arte Viva as a Biennale with artists, of artists, and for artists. By drawing attention to them and to their creative quests, the exhibition Il mondo magico [The magical world] offers the possibility for a novel and intriguing interpreta- tion of reality.
The brainchild of pavilion curator Cecilia Alemani, the title is a direct reference to the book of the same name by Ernesto de Martino, published by Einaudi in 1948. And just as his Il mondo magico proposes a return to the imaginary and the fantastic as a means for experiencing the richness and multiplicity of the world, the artists chosen by the curator—Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Roberto Cuoghi, and Adelita Husni-Bey—pursue their adventures in the sphere of magic and imagination, each producing profoundly distinct creative results, in terms of both content and form.
Championed by Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, the project is certainly ambitious, multifarious, and innovative. According to guidelines issued by the Directorate General for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Peripheries, the number of artists was kept to three and they were given a year to develop their projects. This laid the groundwork for organizing Italy’s presence at La Biennale and establishing timelines and methods that would allow all involved to be most effective in their respec- tive roles. The outcome can only be a reaffirmation of Italy’s contemporary identity at the Venice Biennale, an event that has always represented a vital occasion for sharing and exchange within a global culture.
Andreotta Calò, Cuoghi, and Husni-Bey have thus been provided everything they need to produce ambitious, complex works, negotiating the compelling and fascinating space of the Tese delle Vergini, which poses infinite chal- lenges and possibilities for venue design.
Lastly, a rich and variegated program of side events has been developed, featuring in particular workshops geared to students at Italian fine arts academies. Through direct contact with the artists and professionals who created Padiglione Italia, they will gain invaluable awareness of the complexity and variety of professions associated with the contemporary arts, their future field of action.