Works from the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Collection at Palazzo Biscari
Curated by Ludovico Pratesi and Pietro Scammacca
Ballroom: WeltenLinie (2017) by Alicja Kwade (08.07.19 – 24.08.19)
Eastern Wing Apartments: The analogous room, group show (08.07.19 – 07.07.19)
Palazzo Biscari, via Museo Biscari, 10 – 95131 – Catania
On July 8, 2019 Palazzo Biscari will reopen its doors to contemporary art, hosting a selection of work from the prestigious Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Collection. The project, curated by Ludovico Pratesi and Pietro Scammacca, in collaboration with Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and UNFOLD, is promoted by Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Internazionale, chaired by Professor Emmanuele F. M. Emanuele and realised in collaboration with Poema S.p.A., along with the support of Fondazione Sicilia.
The works from the Collezione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo occupy two parts of the palace: an environmental installation by the artist Alicja Kwade in the Ballroom (open until August 24, 2019), and a group exhibition titled “The analogous room” in the Eastern wing apartments, open to the public for the first time (until September 7, 2019).
WeltenLinie (2017) by Alicja Kwade is a composition made of mirrors and steel frames, produced by the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation on the occasion of the 57th Venice Biennale. The work animates an environment constructed from ambiguous reflections in which objects multiply and appear to be set in motion, in the process seemingly transforming space into temporal matter. Its presentation in the alchemical space of Palazzo Biscari’s Ballroom establishes an evocative dialogue with the ornamental interiors of the palace, and resonates with the illuminist and esoteric visions of its most illustrious inhabitant: Ignazio Paternò Castello, V Prince of Biscari. A polyhedral figure, responsible for numerous archeological findings in Sicily, Paternò Castello also created a vegetal labyrinth which acted as thse public garden of the city of Catania until the mid-nineteenth century. In this context, Kwade’s environment becomes a sort of “baroque machine” that reconfigures the viewer’s relationship with reality. In dialogue with the mirrors of the Ballroom and the many trompe l’oeil that decorate the walls, Kwade’s installation plunges the visitor into a kaleidoscopic and labyrinthine space of perception.
The Eastern Wing apartments host the group show “The analogous room,” which acts as an echo of a particular space in Palazzo Biscari: a room named after Don Quixote and decorated with twelve paintings depicting scenes from the journeys of Cervantes’ picaresque character. The exhibition brings together twenty artists from the Collection from different generations that have carried out a critique of representation in different languages and mediums. Similar to narrative devices found in Cervantes’ novel—such as the destabilization of authorship and authenticity, which anticipate strategies in art of the late twentieth-century—the works explore different structures of meaning and signification, questioning the legitimacy of knowledge and truth. Like Don Quixote, the artists move along a thin line that separates reality from fiction: ‘alienated in analogy’, they become ‘the disordered players of the Same and the Other’, to quote observations by Michel Foucault. The “Don Quixote room” is inaccessible to visitors, but is alluded to by the arrangement of work to become present in their imaginations, thus acting as a starting point for the exhibition. This creates an analogy between the physical but unseen space of the eighteenth-century room, and the conceptual but perceptible space of the exhibition.
In hosting a private collection, the palace seeks to create connections with its prior role as host, beginning in the 18th century, to a museum of archaeological findings, scientific instruments, and natural rarities belonging to the collection of Ignazio Paternò Castello, V, which occupied the rooms of the Biscari Museum until the last century. The exhibition is accompanied by a didactic program organized by the educational department of the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation which will train a group of students from the University of Catania to become cultural mediators of the exhibition.
We thank Palazzo Biscari, Dusty, Big Broker Insurance Group, Murgo Winery, Fondazione OELLE, and Radice Pura for their generous support.
Exhibited artists: Ballroom: Alicja Kwade
Eastern Wing appartments: Ludovica Carbotta, James Casebere, Roberto Cuoghi, Flavio Favelli, Katharina Fritsch, Anna Gaskell, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster,
Douglas Gordon, Pierre Huyghe, Louise Lawler, Renato Leotta, Sherrie Levine, Katya Novitskova, Tony Oursler, Philippe Parreno, Nicolas Party, Paul Pfeiffer, Laure Prouvost, Magali Reus, David Shrigley
Palazzo Biscari is one of the most important Baroque residences in Sicily. The preliminary constructions of the palace began in the early 18th century, soon after the catastrophic earthquake of 1693 destroyed the majority of Sicily’s Oriental coast. The making of the palace underwent a definitive shift when Ignazio Paternò Castello, 5th Prince of Biscari, known as “The Great “, decided to add a new wing in which to host the Biscari Museum that housed his eclectic collection ranging from archaeological findings to natural curiosities. The constructions were completed in the second half of the eighteenth century and Palazzo Biscari became one of the main attractions for the foreign visitors who extended their European Grand Tour to Sicily, counting among them guests as prominent as Goethe.
Founded in 2017 by Pietro Scammacca, UNFOLD is a nonprofit cultural association based in Palazzo Biscari which produces exhibitions of contemporary art and site-specific projects in dialogue with historical sites in Sicily. UNFOLD also establishes close collaborations with art academies, universities, and educational departments of cultural foundations to carry out didactic activities that accompany each exhibition.
Fondazione Terzo Pilastro
Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Internazionale, chaired by Professor Emmanuele F. M. Emanuele, is the natural evolution of Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Italia e Mediterraneo, as holder of a synthesis of the original strategic
forms of assistance that are now implemented on a larger scale and with no territorial constraints: the Third Sector (non-profit organizations, or Third Pillar) and the urgent themes inspired by looking beyond the Mediterranean Region and observing current affairs in the emerging economies in the Middle and Far East, which in the future will play a leading role in our history.
The Foundation operates in the fields of Health, Scientific Research, Welfare, Education and Art and Culture and acts as a bridge between the various cultures of the East and West and the North and South of the world.
The purpose of Poema S.p.A., an instrumentality of Fondazione Terzo Pilastro chaired by Professor Emmanuele F. M. Emanuele, is to promote and accomplish high-level artistic and cultural projects of a commercial nature in Italy and abroad. In order to pursue its corporate purpose this company manages exhibition spaces in Italy and abroad and organises visual arts, museum and dancing events with an economic return.
The activities of Poema S.p.A., are part of a wider philanthropic project, launched and carried out over the past twenty years by Fondazione Roma initially and then by Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Internazionale through its operational arms, Fondazione Roma Arte – Musei and Fondazione Cultura e Arte, respectively.
The Museum of Palazzo Cipolla, situated on the central Via del Corso in Rome, which celebrates twenty years of activity in 2019, represents the most important structural project accomplished by the group in the filed of culture.
The fundamental assumption and the driving force of our mission, is that the various forms of art and culture play a leading role in integral personal development, the achievement of shared values and solidarity and the establishment of a collective conscience, eliminating the differences and settling conflicts in favour of social inclusion and a constructive dialogue between the various nations.
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