At the Palazzo della Cultura in Catania the Saints by Andrea Chisesi in a contemporary key. Pictures

CATANIA – Fra June 16 to October 16, 2022, Palazzo della Cultura in Catania hosts the exhibition Eteria by Andrea Chisesi (Rome, 1972), promoted by Catania municipality in collaboration with Materiarte.

Directly derived from ancient Greek, Eteria it means “Comrade association that acts for a greater benefit, over the will of others”. In this sense, Chisesi has devised a series of works dedicated to the “saint factory” – as the curator defines it Giuseppe Stagnitta – which are represented iconically through their printed image, namely “Santini”.

The artist resumes the votive images and remains true to the centuries-old symbolism of each icon, reworking their images using the characters of the new modern society to give them a more critical and realistic vision; for example, the saints are all the youth of our day, as Chisesi says, “… they were rebellious children, but the dissent because of the ideals they were bearers cost them their lives.”

“The sacred cards as a printed image to spread and convey the life of martyrs and saints, for the use and consumption of popular devotion he adds Tin plate – remember the posters that the artist uses to create backgrounds (preparations) of his works. The ad poster is on the street to communicate consumer products through iconic images; the sacred card, on the other hand, is an intimate, pocket-sized and undivided image ».

The artist – explains the curator Marcella Damsel he paints his icons with the symbols of the new society, in full respect of the tradition that derives its origin from his country. In fact, Chisesi learns from his father from Palermo the Sicilian customs handed down from his grandparents, reminiscent of a childhood full of reconciling beliefs and rituals, of Sarmatic suggestions and with the need to always make places from an earlier time alive in the memory, renews worship through the ‘prayer’ of Pop ‘.

In this regard precisely Chisesi tells it “Since I was a child I have been attracted to iconographic images. My mother gave me a box full of sacred cards; from that moment I began to be interested in the fact that those paper images began to collect them already at the age of 18. At the same time wrote my father, who was a graphic designer and researcher of sacred icons, an essay on the iconography of the saints of that time. This my research that gave life to the exhibition stems precisely from this family synthesis “.

The long exhibition journey that winds its way beyond 70 works, talks about patriarchy, about violence, about denied rights, about lack of emotion, about the lives of daughters that become only a bargaining chip for enriching the inheritance, aEteria spot on.

In fact, it is no coincidence that the itinerary ends with an extremely significant and topical work that makes the visitor reflect on martyrdom as not only a religious but also a social phenomenon: the case of the young Saman Abbas, a Pakistani girl who disappeared in the Reggio area. The artist represents her with a shovel and a pair of sneakers in hand, a symbol of liberation and social integration.

Particular emphasis will be placed on Sant’Agatathe patron saint of the city, who hosts the Chisesi exhibition; and the artist himself had an unusual experience during the preparation of the work dedicated to the saint. One day, from a thrift store, he found in his hands a remnant of Sant’Agata, a “piece” of the skin of the saint; a sacred object which the artist interpreted as a sign; according to Chisesi its exhibition has been blessed by its patron, and Catania is the right city to present its collection.


Andrea Chisesi


Curated by Marcella Damigella and Giuseppe Stagnitta

16.06.2022 | 10/16/2022

Opening 16.06.2022 at 12:00 (open to the public at 16:00)

Palazzo Platamone (by culture), Via Vittorio Emanuele II 121, Catania

Open Mon-Sun 9-19

Free access

Catalog with texts of HE Card. Angelo Comastri, Marcella Damigella, Giuseppe Stagnitta

Production: Materiarte

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