The Italian Pavilion, introduced during the 57th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, entitled Il mondo magico, has been curated by Cecilia Alemani and hosts the works of Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Roberto Cuoghi and Adelita Husni-Bey.
The exhibition took inspiration from the book Il mondo magico by Neapolitan scholar Ernesto de Martino (1908-65), published after World War II and dedicated to the research into the anthropological function of magic, as an instrument through which individuals try to regain control in times of uncertainty and reassert their presence in the world.
For Il mondo magico, Alemani has invited Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Roberto Cuoghi, and Adelita Husni-Bey to create three new works specifically commissioned and produced for the Italian Pavilion. These projects were showed during the inauguration of the Italian Pavilion on 12 May.
These three artists see themselves not just as fabricators of artworks, but as active interpreters and creators of the world, which they reinvent through magic and the imagination. For Andreotta Calò, Cuoghi, and Husni-Bey, magic is not an escape into the depths of irrationality so much as a new way of experiencing reality.
They do not share any particular stylistic tendency, but rather the impulse to develop complex aesthetic universes that eschew the documentary-style narrative found in much recent art, relying instead on a form of storytelling woven from myths, rituals, beliefs, and fairy tales. Il mondo magico therefore sees the artist not just as a fabricator of works and objects, but above all a guide, interpreter, and creator of possible worlds.
The choice to invite a reduced number of artists compared to the past would put the Italian Pavilion on the same line as the other national pavilions taking part in the Biennale, with the purpose of organizing a complete overview of the Italian art, and especially to give space, time and resources to the selected artists in order to exhibit an ambitious project. Their works will offer them a golden occasion for their career, and they will represent an opportunity for the public to empathize with their world.
Cecilia Alemani’s project Il mondo magico is perfectly attuned to Christine Macel’s overall concept for the 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. VIVA ARTE VIVA revolves around an idea of humanism that celebrates art’s capacity to help individuals avoid being overpowered by the forces governing our world, forces which when given free rein can gravely circumscribe the human dimension.
In conjunction with Il mondo magico, a program of educational activities geared to students from Italy’s public art academies will be organized with the sponsorship of MiBAC’s Directorate-General of Contemporary Art and Architecture, and Urban Peripheries, in a calendar of events curated by Cecilia Alemani and Marta Papini.