A warning about the future of humanity in Giulia Cenci's zoomorphic sculptures; an ode to freedom and diversity in Tomaso De Luca's video installation; the suspended time of the Sacred Area of Largo Argentina in Renato Leotta's work.
Giulia Cenci (Cortona, 1988, lives and works in Amsterdam and Tuscany), Tomaso De Luca (Verona, 1988, lives and works in Berlin) and Renato Leotta (Turin, 1982, lives and works in Turin and Acireale) are the three finalists for the MAXXI BVLGARI PRIZE, the project bringing together MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts
and Bvlgari, an emblem of Italian excellence for over 130 years to support and promote young artists.
Their site-specific artworks created for the PRIZE will be on show at MAXXI, the National Museum of 21st Century Arts from 28 October 2020 to 7 March 2021. The exhibition, curated by Giulia Ferracci, will engage visitors right from the lobby and will develop in the spectacular Gallery 5, on the third floor. By the end of the exhibition, the same international jury will choose the winner, whose work will become part of the MAXXI Collection.
Giovanna Melandri, President of Fondazione MAXXI, says: "MAXXI BVLGARI PRIZE is one of the most important events to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Museum, and is part of the broader project dedicated to contemporary Italian creativity. After the mid-career artists of REAL_ITALY and the great masters of senzamargine, we now look, together with Bvlgari, a company that has always been committed to research and experimentation and our strategic partner since 2018, to young artists, because supporting young talent means investing in the creativity of our time and our future, which is a mission shared by MAXXI and Bvlgari. The intense, evocative works of the 3 finalists reflect on time and the anxieties of today's society and explore the future. It is a pleasure to host them at MAXXI.
The exhibition route starts from the walkway on the third floor, which runs from the exit of the lift to the entrance to Gallery 5. Here we find lento-violento, the largest installation created by Giulia Cenci, which is divided into four groups of sculptures, four plastic clusters suspended in space that invade the room and impose on the visitor constant perspective changes, projecting them into a world of hybrid, fluid, partly human, partly animal forms. Through this monumental installation, the artist stages the changes and tensions between man and nature, the machine of hyper-productive capitalism and unbridled consumerism, the conflicts of our time and a dystopian future for humanity. Already in the first sculptural cluster, the subjects are two anthropomorphic figures who seem to challenge each other. The conflict erupts in the second group of casts, along the balustrade, where the legs of headless horses seem to be thrown into the fray. The third scene is a sort of prison, a grid that descends almost as low as the hall and traps small figures without connotations, guarded by a monstrous creature. The path closes with an image of apparent calm, an abandoned moorland where a zoomorphic machine looms from above, similar to an airship.
The exhibition continues inside Gallery 5 with A Week's Notice, a video and sound installation on three channels by Tomaso De Luca, where miniatures of houses borrowed from cinema, architecture history and the artist's private life fly, collapse, go crazy and jam, in an ode to the decay of architecture that seeks beauty in instability and makes trauma a ground for creation. The work offers an alternative ending to the unforgiving phenomenon of gentrification that, between the 1980s and 1990s, followed the AIDS crisis. While in the neighbourhoods of large cities the homosexual community, which was the most affected by the epidemic in those decades, disappeared, the market saw an opportunity in the carnage: furniture and personal belongings were thrown out onto the streets and flats were put back on the market for healthier and more affluent tenants. In an attempt to regain this lost space, the artist transforms domestic architecture into a disorienting space, where the sense of loss and precariousness become elements for fostering a reconstruction.
Roma and Fiumi, a project dedicated to the city of Renato Leotta, end the itinerary: twelve films, shot in 16 mm film, are presented on twelve screens distributed in the Museum space as though to evoke an ideal walk through the remains of the city. The films were shot among the iconic fountains of Barcaccia, Trevi, and Quattro Fiumi and the sacred area of Largo di Torre Argentina: a gash in the asphalt, showing the anatomy of the ancient city lying under the road surface. From the balustrade that marks the perimeter of the area, inaccessible to visitors but visible only from above, you can see a space cut out from the hectic urban flow that revolves around it, the Largo being a crucial junction for city traffic, a space governed by a different temporality, out of sync, and populated exclusively by cats. With this unusual walk through the ruins, where the cats move cautiously and sinuously, looking at the visitor in an inquisitive way, the artist reflects on art as a means of rethinking the relationship between man, nature and the anthropised landscape, re-establishing a relationship between society and animality (text taken from the caption of the work on display written by Sara De Chiara).
The three finalists were chosen by an international jury composed by Hou Hanru, Artistic Director at MAXXI, Bartolomeo Pietromarchi Director of MAXXI Arte, Manuel Borja-Villel, Director of the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Emma Lavigne, President of the Palais de Tokyo and Victoria Noorthoorn, Director Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art.