30 October 2020 – 22 August 2021
Curator: Antonia Gaeta
Tu ch’entri qua pon mente
parte a parte
et dimmi poi se tante
sien fatte per inganno
o pur per arte
The riddle that one of the sphinxes posed to visitors, at the entrance to the Bomarzo garden of monsters served as the starting point for the ideas presented in the Variable Serene exhibition. According to the multiple narratives which accompanied the construction of the Italian park, initiated in 1552 by the prince Pier Francesco Orsini, dedicated the sacred grove to a great love. Orsini, helped by the architect Pirro Ligorio, created a gigantic set – a villa delle meraviglie – that consisted of stone monsters, fantastic animals and enigmatic figures which had the most bizarre anthropomorphic forms. Among the many possible interpretive hypotheses, the Bomarzo garden can be viewed as a self-portrait, in stone and vegetation.
With some formal similarity, Variable Serene presents intelligent creatures in the midst of shadows of mannerism and grotesque, with echoes of medieval literature and mitteleuropean epics, which are distributed through the rooms accompanied by continuous mythological and enigmatic references, including masks, satires and illusionistic games, which are surprising in terms of their alienating irregularity.
The hermetic subtexts, combined with a few inexplicable fields of the psyche, sudden bursts of apparently inexplicable joy, and warm greetings inscribed in the works themselves, accompany the visitors as different deformed figures, mutilated bodies or just outlines appear. Strokes under strokes, words under words, the memory of aromas in the mouth: sugar, honey and elixir.
Variable Serene is a story, a destiny, a form of personal writing, the study of a collection, or perhaps the invention of a reality where ogni pensiero vola (every thought flies) and which contains everything – every gesture, every writing, every rumour, every discovery, every scenic architecture, perspective and turnaround.
Exhibition views photography ©️ Dinis Santos
Abraham Hadad, Agatha Wojciechowsky, Agnès Baillon, Alain Lacoste, Albino Braz, Alekos Fassianos, Alessandra Michelangelo, Alexandre Lobanov, Almazov (Nicolaï Vorobiov), Aloïse Corbaz, Ana Carrondo, Anónimo espanhol (Collection Lafora), August Walla, Aurel Iselstöger, Barbara Demlczuk, C.V.M. (Carlos Victor Martins), Carlo Franco Stella, Christina Canetti, Daldo Marte, Davood Koochaki, Derrick Alexis Coard, Donald Mitchell, Donovan Durham, Dusan Kusmic, Dwight Mackintosh, Edmund Monsiel, Egidio Cuniberti, Ergasto Monichon, Ernst Kolb, Eugene von Bruenchenhein, Evaristo Rodrigues, Franck Lundangi, Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern, Gabriel Bien-Aimé, Gerald DePrie, Giovanni Battista Podestà, Giovanni Bosco, Gorgali Lorestani, Guo Fengyi, Hans Verschoor, Henry Speller, Igor Andreev, Jaber (Al-Mahjoub Jaber), Jacqueline Bartes, Jaime Fernandes, James Deeds, Janko Domsic, Jim Delarge, Joaquim Vicens Gironella, Johann Fischer, Johann Garber, Johann Hauser, John Henry Toney, Jorge Alberti Cadi, José Manuel Egea, Josef Karl Rädler, Joseph Barbiero, Josette Rispal, Karl Vondal, Kashinath Chawan, Lewis Smith, Lubos Plný, Malcom McKesson, Manuel Bonifácio, Manuel Carrondo, Marco Berlanda, Margarethe Held, Marilena Pelosi, Martha Grünenwaldt, Mary T. Smith, Masao Obata, Maurice Rapin, Michel Macréau, Miron Kiropol, Miroslav Tichý, Misleidys Francisca Castillo Pedroso, Mose Tolliver, Mozart Guerra, Nacius Joseph, Nina Karasek (Joële), P. Veerasamy, Paul Amar, Pépé Vignes (Joseph Vignes), Philipp Schöpke, Pierre Dessons, Pietro Ghizzardi, Prophet Royal Robertson, Raimundo Camilo, Reinaldo Eckenberger, Robert Combas, Roy Wenzel, Simone Le Carré-Galimard, Ted Gordon, Terry Turrell, Thornton Dial, Vitalis Cepkauskas, Wladyslaw Grygny, Ymène Chetouane, Zbyněk Semerák, ZMB (Rui Lourenço)