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Fragments: Identities under Construction
FRAGMENTS: Identities under Construction
A proposal by Manuela Pacella
Fragments: Identities under Construction takes as its starting point the idea of the constitution or reaffirmation of a personal and/or national identity through the selection of works that explore local events or legends, capable of giving a portrait––albeit partial––of a generation struggling with drastic social and geo-political changes.
It is no coincidence that, with the beginning of the new millennium, in various countries many artists have felt the need to retrace their own history, even the most strictly personal history, sensing an obligation to reconstruct starting from the most intimate memories. It is precisely through comparing works that explore personal memories or events handed down orally that a sincere portrait of an entire country emerges, made up of fragments safeguarding small memories.
The project will include works by nine artists living in Italy, Northern Ireland, and the Czech Republic. The itinerant collective exhibition will start in Belfast, pass through Prague, and end in Rome. It absolutely must not be a ‘closed’ exhibition. Instead, the show will come to life as evolves, as history does.
Italy has a relatively recent national history and the regional differences (from dialects to food) are many and often little tolerated. Northern Ireland, though it has put an end to the most painful period of its civil conflict, still has deep rifts, both physical and psychological. The Czech Republic can stand as an example of a country that has left behind the Communist regime and embraced capitalism and globalization too quickly, with all the contradictions and difficulties that this entails.
In each stage of the exhibition’s journey, local curators will be asked to collaborate: from the selection of artists to the curating of the project, which also envisages a brief period of residency (minimum one week) in which the artists will produce other material (visual, audio, multimedia). In addition to the selected works in the exhibition, there will be other material produced on-site and from direct contact with the local artists and the city that hosts them. To this end, workshops and meetings will be arranged.
The material could come together on a website in continuous growth, from which the users could download the catalogue or single projects, or add their own memories. This part will be administered by an independent publishing house, possibly Nero Magazine.
The Northern Irish performer Sandra Johnston (b. 1968) will be commissioned to give specific performances, and she will be the only artist to make works ad hoc.
The Czech artist Eva Koťátková (b. 1982) will present a series of collages, which the artist arranges as installations.
The exhibition will feature work by the Italian artists Invernomuto (a duo founded by Simone Bertuzzi and Simone Trabucchi in 2003 in Vernasca, PC, Emilia-Romagna). Invernomuto will exhibit the Negus (2013), a video installation that focuses on a local event that occurred in the 1930s in Vernasca. Coloured with meaning––not only historical and political but also religious––the work centers on the Ethiopian figure of the King of Kings.
Emiliano Maggi (b. 1977, Rome) will present Messina ad hoc (2013), a work made up of a video and a series of photographs taken during a performance in Sicily. In this piece, the artist invited three local musicians to improvise on the theme of the tragic Messina earthquake of 1908, utilizing their personal memories.
Moira Ricci (b. 1977, Orbetello, Tuscany) will exhibit the trilogy Da buio a buio (From Darkness to Darkness, 2009), a series comprising video, and photographic and audio elements themed around three regional Maremma legends to which the locals subscribe: The Boar Baby from 1940; The Werewolf, sighted in the mid-sixties; and The Stone Man, witnessed in the Maremma fields in the eighties.
About the Curator
Manuela Pacella (Rome, 1977) is an art historian and critic. As a freelance curator, she works on cultural exchanges between Italy and some countries of central and northern Europe. In particular, she is an expert on the Northern Ireland art scene where she has been working since 2011 and where she attended the ICI’s Curatorial Intensive at the CCA in Derry and the International Residency at Flax Art studios in Belfast (both in 2013). As a guest curator, she realized in 2017 the exhibition Lost in Narration. Riccardo Giacconi, Invernomuto e Luca Trevisani at the MAC in Belfast and led the second Curatorial Directions focused on the importance of text, narration, and story-telling in relation to exhibition-making with workshops and talks in Belfast and Milan.
In 2015 and 2016 she was Editorial Researcher and Coordinator at NERO (Rome). She writes regularly for exhibitions’ catalogs and books as well as for art magazines such as “Flash Art” (Italian and International editions), “The Visual Artists’ News Sheet” (Dublin), and NERO Editions (Rome). Her monographic essay on the young French artist Bertille Bak, The Fairy Tale of the Real, was published in 2018 by postmedia books (Milan).
She is Adjunct Professor at IED and at the Fine Arts Academy in Rome.
Her strong interest in experimental and critical writing developed in a series of projects, workshops, and lectures at universities and other institutions giving her a solid foundation for the conception of the online platform Ruth launched in Autumn 2020 thanks to a partnership with NERO. In 2020 she also launched on “Flash Art” (Italian edition) the monthly online column Tell me Stories! focused on writers and authors who have been experimenting with creative and critical writing and who are still little known in Italy, being the very first reference of this kind in Italy.