MAXXI Bulgari Art Prize: contemporary served

What will be the role of art in the near future? This seems to be the question underlying the works presented in the third edition of the MAXXI BULGARI Art Prize, exhibited until November 20, 2022 in Gallery 5 of MAXXI. An urgent topic and undeclared protagonist of the competition, perhaps the most linked to recent years’ close contemporaries, which presents works inspired by ardent issues such as postcolonialism, identity and the relationship between technology and everyday life. Back to the Future therefore thanks to the works of the artists Alessandra Ferrini (1984), Silvia Rosi (1992) and Namsal Siedlecki (1986), selected by a jury of senior curators such as Hou Hanrou, Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, Hoor Al Qasimi, Chiara Parisi and Dirk Snauwaert, not forgetting the excellent study by Giulia Ferracci, curator of the award and the excellent catalog published by Corraini , full of interesting contributions. “The award puts us behind the eyes of young artists, lets us have a glimpse of the future and perhaps the best way to face it,” stresses President Giovanna Melandri, while Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin points out how “The three artists cross borders to rethink affiliation and origin with a view to inclusiveness ”.

AlessandraFerrini @ Roberto Luigi Apa, courtesy of the MAXXI Foundation

As if to indicate the line of research that crosses the exhibition as an invisible fil rouge, the viewer is welcomed at the entrance to gallery 5 by three showcases, which contain the materials that the artists have used in the preparation of the works, according to the ancient Japanese technique Kintsugi. The first installation, created by Alessandra Ferrini, declares straight from the title Gaddafi in Rome: Notes for a Movie, its archival nature, played on the analysis of a recent event: the visit of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to Rome in 2009 on the occasion of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation between Italy and Libya. Through the detailed study of the event reported by the newspaper La Repubblica, the artist reveals Italy’s difficulties in metabolizing its colonial past through an exhibition that combines geopolitics with practice with dissections in anatomical theaters active in universities from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. ambiguities and misunderstandings between Silvio Berlusconi and Muammar Gaddafi, presented by the Italian media as a revolt against the West, without dwelling on the opaque and contradictory nature of the agreements between the two countries.

Namsal Siedlecki, New vacuum (2022), ph. Roberto Luigi Apa, courtesy of the MAXXI Foundation * The sculpture modified by Namsal Siedlecki in “New Vacuum” is a souvenir that reproduces Franco Botero’s work, sold online without references and bought at random by the artist

The work of Italian-Togolese artist Silvia Rose is also linked to the processes of memory removal Teacher Do not teach me any nonsense, reflecting on the history of his family. Silvia was born in Scandiano (Reggio Emilia), but originally from Togo, and she proposes to us a work on the re-acquisition of her linguistic roots, linked to language Ewe And Mina, once spoken between Ghana and Togo, and strongly suppressed first by the German and then French occupation. Rose’s photographic portraits, close to the aesthetics of African artists such as Samuel Fosso and Malick Sidibé, evoke a semiology of memories that binds the artist to his mother and grandmother, who sold groceries at the Lomè market in Togo.

Namsal Siedlecki @ Roberto Luigi Apa, courtesy of the MAXXI Foundation

The work New Blank by Namsal Siedlecki is structured as a physical and symbolic path dedicated to the relationship between fullness and emptiness in sculptural practice, starting from a hand, purchased by the artist online, which is rejected in six works, created by Siedlecki with various symbolic materials and shapes, through use of robotic technologies and 3D scans. “I think of these hands as a journey we must undertake. By rediscovering the mistakes made, we gain the necessary awareness of a necessary future,” explains the artist, who in this kind of technological via crucis goes from the past to future, combining craftsmanship and digital, has used plaster, cement, wood, marble, clay, polystyrene, polyurethane, glass, bronze and aluminum. As Pietromarchi points out, “it is surprising to see such awareness, ability of synthesis and critical gaze in such young artists”: three elements that characterize one of the most interesting editions of the award presented by the jury this fall. May the best man win!

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