Cinque Mostre 2017: Vision(s)
Cinque Mostre 2017 is an annual exhibition of work by current Rome Prize Fellows. Composed of collaborative projects guest-curated by Ilaria Gianni under the collective title VISION(S), Cinque Mostre features work by Fellows in several disciplines and invited artists installed in various sites throughout the McKim, Mead & White Building.
Taking its cue from the multifaceted term “Vision,” and emphasizing its physical-perceptive, political, supernatural, and mystical aspects, VISION(S) explores the strategies that artists and scholars employ to re-configure our perception of the world. This group exhibition brings together different approaches and ways of seeing, which draw their inspiration from the present, facts from the past, and forecasts of the future. Employing various strategies, including translation, history, performance, poetic insight, fiction or mysticism, the works challenge notions of culture, origin and belonging.
VISION(S) offers an encounter between the personal investigations of the creative processes and the external – often influenced and compromised – gaze of the viewer. The show unfolds along a non-linear thread constantly challenging viewers’ desire to understand through seeing, in which works of art confound styles and genres. Each contribution acts as a unique apparition, projecting the spectator into an experience in which the spectator is not a bystander, but an operative participant in a new dimension, as victim and producer of visions. In doing so, the works remind us that “the relation between what we see and what we know is never settled” (John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 1972), unleashing a new process of searching for meaning, one that is imbued with imagination and awareness at once. Realism and its ordinary, profane view of the world is overtaken by fantasy and prophecy, intuition and illusion. Both authors and spectators become fabricators of worlds through a different interpretation and construction of the appearance of the real.
VISION(S) also features a project entitled La più geniale tra le maschere (The Most Brilliant Amongst the Masks), an exhibition curated by artist Gabriele De Santis, and Ilaria Gianni. Artists and authors from different fields – Gundam Air, Cornelia Baltes, Elisabetta Benassi, Roberto Coda Zabetta, Tomaso De Luca (in collaboration with Vincenzo Giannetti), Gabriele De Santis, Sean Edwards, Anna Franceschini, Zazie Gnecchi Ruscone, Grossi Maglioni, Isabell Heimerdinger, Lauren Keeley, Emiliano Maggi, Jonathan Monk, Luigi Ontani, Pino Pasquali, Gianni Politi, Francis Upritchard, Alessandro Vizzini, Bedwyr Williams – investigate the ‘Harlequin,’ one of the main characters of the Italian commedia dell’arte, a complex and symbolic figure who embodies a visionary metaphor. His social attributes, conceived five centuries ago, are still recognizable today. The Harlequin’s multifaceted qualities: the wily and covetous comic servant (zanni); the faithful, patient, credulous, and amorous valet; the amoral yet good hearted spirit; even the hellish, obscure demon of the night, hence the origin of his name (Hölle König – King of the Underworld – then Helleking, and finally Harlequin); become an excuse to convey variegated interpretations of the idea of the ‘mask’, translated through disparate formal and performative approaches. The visitor enters a backstage, a masquerade that reveals the truth within comedy, the drama of mankind, the dark-side and vulnerability of the façade of an apparently stable social system