ArtVeronaTalk | Viaggio in Italia #backtoitaly

ArtVeronaTalk | Viaggio in Italia #BacktoItaly
curated by Paola Tognon
friday 13, saturday 14 e sunday 15 October 2017
Veronafiere, pav. 12

The theme of the 2017 edition of ArtVerona is Viaggio in Italia. The practice of travelling to Italy dates back to the two volumes written by Johann Wolfang Goethe (Italian Journey, Part One and Part Two written in 1816 and 1917, respectively) in which he reports on his extraordinary travels to Italy from 1786 to 1788. Since then, Italy has been the fulcrum of the ‘Grand Tour’, the first and persistent tourism-based strategy that transformed the Italian peninsula into the ‘Bel Paese’. One will have to wait until the second half of the 20th century for the neo-realistic depiction – through cinematography, literature and art – of a country that finally reveals its true soul made of suburbs and vast urban development, stuck between tradition and change. Most important is Pasolini’s article, “Il vuoto di potere in Italia” (The Power Vacuum in Italy) of 1975 that, in the wake of the neo-realistic period, puts a stop to the rhetoric regarding the Italian reconstruction. With ‘La scomparsa delle Lucciole’ (The Disappearance of the Fireflies) – this was the title given in the Scritti Corsari collection to an article that has become part of literary history – Pasolini reports the features of a country that is losing its identity: “… I would give away the entire Montedison for a firefly …”. The critical diatribe opened up by Pasolini gave birth in 1984 to a whole new ‘Viaggio in Italia’ (this the exact title chosen), edited by Luigi Ghirri, Gianni Leone, Enzo Velati, with texts by Quintavalle and the travel diary written by Gianni Celati. The volume accompanies an exhibition of three hundred images and showcases a new generation of photographers who have changed the traditional point of observation and ultimately the practice of photography itself. The result emerging from this work is a country never seen before, a far cry from the famous Alinari postcards and from the stereotypes, indicating a daily beauty featuring a human rather than identitarian persistence.

The 21st century immerses Italy into an agitated Mediterranean sea, dissimilar to Ghirri’s neo-enchantment. The Bel Paese stereotype persists, but the issues are interiorised between disillusion, intolerance and distance. In 2006, the waters become rougher with the publication of the book Gomorra by Roberto Saviano and in 2008 with the movie of the book directed by Matteo Garrone that reaches much wider audiences. In 2013, with the movie La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty) directed by Paolo Sorrentino, waiting (this time among the ruins of the Eternal City) becomes again the condition of the Bel Paese, as confirmed by the Academy Award bestowed on it as Best Foreign Language Film.

Thus the theme Viaggio in Italia, between those who live in the peninsula with nomadic feet dipping into the Mediterranean sea and those who observe it ‘from afar’, becomes an important indicator for travelling new critical paths that find strong roots in artistic practices.

The strategy of this cycle of talks within ArtVerona, that dedicates to Italy a privileged stage for debate, is based on the word serendipity, created by Horace Walpole in 1754. The capacity to acknowledge and correctly interpret an important fact that occurs unexpectedly and casually – this is the meaning of the term – is the strategy that allows to transform the testimony of small and large journeys into occasions that change the traveller’s subject and object. Hence the theme of borders that has once again taken on tragic and metaphorical topicality and the flexibility of the concept of centrality that globalisation shifts using strategies that are difficult to foresee. The goal is to reveal the desire and effort of collective and individual, public and private energies that portray an unsuspected and vital geography of excellence ‘made in Italy’.

Voices and personalities meet on the relationship between art and border (arte ai confini – art at the borders), on the new Made-in-Italy practices that renovate an international proposal through art (fatto in Italia – made in Italy) and finally on the narration of experiences that stem from the passion and will of institutions and individuals who are walking the paths of renewal in art (succede in Italiahappening in Italy). The wager is to demonstrate that today, more than anytime in the past, the Journey to Italy can be a surprising experience of invention, provocation and innovation.


ArtVeronaTalk: the program
Art at the borders

01 | Friday 13 October, 4.00 pm

Art at the borders


Nicolò Degiorgis, Guest-curator Museion 2017, team curatoriale di Foto Forum

Vincenzo Mazzarella, Funzionario per la valorizzazione e l’arte contemporanea della Reggia di Caserta

Francesco Jodice, Artista

Made in Italy

02 | Saturday 14 October, 4.30 pm

Made in Italy

Mirko Rizzi: Direttore Marsèlleria permanent exhibitions, Milano – New York

Tiziana Frescobaldi, Direttore Artisti per Frescobaldi

Anna Grazia Stefani e Francesco Tampieri, Collezionisti, fondatori dell’Associazione Collection of Collections

Cesare Biasini Selvaggi, Curatore del volume: 222 artisti emergenti …, Exibart Edizioni

Happening in Italy

03 | Sunday 15 October  4,30 pm

Happening in Italy


Federica Galloni, Direttore generale Arte e Architettura contemporanee e Periferie urbane, Progetto Italian Council

Antonio Lampis Direttore Generale dei Musei del Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo.

Peter Assmann, Direttore Palazzo Ducale, Mantova

Vincenzo Castella, Artista-Fotografo

Francesco Cavalli, Direttore creativo di Leftloft