After their success on the international museum circuit (Madrid, Beirut, New York, Athens), the artistic duo Antonello Ghezzi arrives at the CAMEC Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art of La Spezia with the exhibition Land Sky Hyperuranion, curated by Eleonora Acerbi with a critical text by Cesare Biasini Selvaggi.
On the ground floor of the museum, from 7 October 2023 to 14 January 2024, a group of about 15 works will be on display; these form part of a project focussing on lightness and magic in which the infinite nature of the universe is embraced together with the intimate nature of human relationships, a project which Nadia Antonello (Cittadella, 1985) and Paolo Ghezzi (Bologna, 1908) decided to undertake together in 2009.
The exhibition will be inaugurated on Saturday 7 October at 6 p.m., on the occasion of the 19th edition of the Contemporary Art Day promoted by AMACI (Association of Italian Contemporary Art Museums).
The exhibition itinerary has been set up by the artists themselves and divides the works into three levels: Earth, Sky and Hyperuranion, following a not necessarily chronological, but rather a thematic itinerary aimed at accompanying the visitor on a journey of discovery which potentiates thought and exercises the imagination.
The first room corresponds to the Earth, the place of relationships, where the first large projects of Antonelli Ghezzi are to b found. In the work Blow against the walls, walls can be broken down with soap bubbles, the least violent means in existence. We can question the oracle with T’Oracolo (I Oracle you) , a project begun in 2010 which has continually changed its form, keeping however unvaried the mechanism whereby “I’ll oracle you and you will be the oracle for someone else”. A simple work made up of scraps of paper and of just questions, which is however full of universal tensions which force human beings to better understand one another.
On display will also be the installation Attesa dell’amore (Waiting for love), a large mirror which at the end of the 19th century used to decorate the waiting-room of Pistoia railway station and which, after passing through our artistic duo’s workshop thanks to the help of the Galleria Vannucci Arte Moderna e Contemporanea of Pistoia, received the engraved and illuminated inscription which gives the work its title: an invitation to look in the mirror and understand oneself while waiting for love, the key theme of the first room.
We pass on to the second level thanks to one of the most important works from Antonello Ghezzi’s early career, La porta che si apre col sorriso (The door which is opened with a smile). This installation, situated almost at the centre of the room but placed next to the entrances into the Sky and Hyperuranion sections, lets anyone pass beside it; but if you go through it you find yourself in another dimension, and smiling is the only way through.
The second room, dedicated to the Sky, attempts to take visitors’ feet off the Earth, just slightly as yet. Some flags hanging there, which reproduce the Milky Way, frame a small imaginary office where you can sign for your Cittadinanza della Via Lattea (Citizenship of the Milky Way). A political work which reminds the visitor what a great an opportunity the vastness of the universe offers mankind, to look at the stars and understand who we really want to be.
The work Legare la terra al cielo (Binding the earth to the sky) presents a back-engraved photographic print on a mirror which shows a 2021 performance among hills immersed in the darkness of the night. Very fine threads were lifted up on bunches of balls and floated upwards in the air, and they were faintly lit up, carrying people towards the stars. And while stars are of the night, clouds are formed during the day. Clouds are for Antonello Ghezzi a metaphor of lightness, hope and an imaginary elsewhere. So a whole wall displays the clouds for which the artists explored various different supports: paper, mirrors, marble.
This concept is strengthened by Scala per andare a prendere le nuvole (Ladder for going to catch the clouds), which is made of wood, at least in the part nearest the earth, but which is soon transformed into blue ink, finally reaching a cloud of that same colour. A bridge into the third room is created by a large installation positioned in the middle of the room in front of the entrance. Alla luna (To the Moon) is a treadmill which at its beginning showed on its display the figure of 384,400 Km, i.e. the distance separating humankind from the moon. It can only be reached by putting together everyone’s steps in a collective mission.
The third room is dedicated to the Hyperuranion. Already from far off in the other rooms we could see a large starry sky. The work entitled 27 06 1980 20:59 comes from the Museum of the Memory of Ustica and reproduces the exact map of what the stars were like on the day of the tragedy. High up in the room hangs a large traffic light which gives off a blue light. Coming from a fable by Gianni Rodari, the traffic light signals the Via libera per volare (All-clear for flying). The space is dominated by a wholly blue platform with a desk and a chair. It is the installation Al di sopra del rumore di fondo (Above the background noise) and is a place extrapolated from a fable invented by the artists for Villa Rospigliosi of Prato, once inhabited by pirate artists. The last work we see going out of the room is an installation created from a photograph of the NASA American space authority exhibited at the CAMeC by courtesy of Fabio Gori and Virginia Fabrizi, which offers a possible key of interpretation for the whole show. The title Autoritratto (Self-portrait), reveals the intention and sense of the image: Earth seen from Mars, that is to say human beings seen from just a bit further away.
In the ground-floor toilet of the Centre there are traces of the Toilet Project which inaugurated the collaboration between Nadia Antonello and Paolo Ghezzi, who wished to elegantly invade the toilets of art fairs, playing humorously on a question that artists sometimes ask themselves. What is art?”
At the sides of the long corridor outside the rooms is the work Stringere lo spazio di me e te (Compressing the space of me and you): innumerable pottery sculptures are hung here, creating a sparkling swarm of forms and colours. Each form has been created by two people who have squeezed their hands around a piece of clay. Visitors can take part in this performance, creating a precious stone which will reveal the invisible.
In a space which is a naturally raised one, the half-landing leading to the museum terraces, there is a strange desk. It is made up of a mirror with the inscription Scrivimi (Write me) and a top surface containing all the necessary things for writing and sending love-letters: paper, the envelope, the pen and the stamp. With Scrivimi (Write me), we are invited to indulge in a bit of romanticism.
The couple’s last installation is set up on the terrace of the CAMeC: La sedia del giudice (The judge’s chair), which recalls the typical raised chair used by tennis umpires, except that there are two seats instead of one. The work has been used in the past for various performances which have involved the public in philosophical debates and reflections, investigating the (always at least two) existing versions of the truth. Nadia Antonello and Paolo Ghezzi explain: “At the end of this exhibition, an operation which itself involved two artists, not just one, this work perhaps invites us to cast our minds back over our journey, to reflect on other people and other things than ourselves, in which human relationships have accompanied us and taken us by the hand in order to fly ever higher, never alone, always with someone or something which returns our gaze”.
The exhibition is visitable up to 14 January 2024, Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Monday, Christmas and New Year. Full entrance fee 5 euros, reduced price 4 euros, special reduced price 3.50 euros. During the exhibition, the bilingual catalogue published by Metilene edizioni will be presented with the official text of the Mayor and Councillor for Culture Pierluigi Peracchini, critical texts by Eleonora Acerbi and Cesare Biasini Selvaggi and a rich selection of images.
Tel. +39 0187 727530,
Nadia Antonello (Cittadella, 1985) and Paolo Ghezzi (Bologna, 1980) trained at the Fine Arts Academy of Bologna and in 2009 founded the artistic duo Antonello Ghezzi. Their research focusses on lightness and magic.
The projects which they have exhibited all over the world with the support of numerous institutions are attempts to render fables tangible. A door which opens only if you smile, soap bubbles which knock down walls, a machine for making wishes with shooting stars, small sculptures between lovers, starry skies of the future.
Ladders, clouds and blue traffic lights which, thanks to Gianni Rodari, give observers the all-clear for flying. As if they were winged sandals or mirrors which, like Athena’s shield, help Perseus to face Medusa.
Their installations are part of numerous private collections and have been presented, together with the performances, in Italian and international contexts, including: Italian Institute of Culture of Madrid, Italian Embassy of Athens, WhiteSpaceBlack Box at Neuchâtel, Kunsthall of Bergen, Beit Beirut, Wayfarers of Brooklyn in New York, European Parliament of Brussels, Gnration of Braga in Portugal, Museum for Memory of Ustica of Bologna, Miasto Ogródow of Katowice, Palazzina dei Bagni Misteriosi of Milan, Artbab Manama in Bahrain, Sound Design Festival of Hamamatsu in Japan, Italian Institute of Culture of Athens, Art Foundation of Athens, Museo Davia Bargellini of Bologna, Usina del Arte in Buenos Aires, Pinacoteca Nazionale of Bologna, Museo di Villa Croce of Genoa, Moscow Biennale, Pitti Uomo of Florence, Sarajevo Winter Festival, Blik Opener of Delft, Arsenale of Verona and CIFF of Copenhagen.
In 2022 they won the PAC2021 – Piano per l’Arte Contemporanea (Contemporary Art Plan) promoted by the General Management for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture, and their flag showing the Milky Way was purchased by the Rocca Foundation of Bentivoglio of Valsamoggia (Bologna). Their studio is in Bologna, inside the Palazzina Liberty in the Margherita Gardens.
Exhibition promoted by:
Municipality of La Spezia
Mayor, Pierluigi Peracchini
General Manager of Cultural Services, Rosanna Ghirri
and produced by:
CAMeC Centro Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art)
curated by:Eleonora Acerbi
Critical text by: Cesare Biasini Selvaggi
Ufficio prestiti: Cristiana Maucci
Progetto grafico: Sarah Fontana
Documentazione fotografica: Enrico Amici
Assa Abloy, Dulcop International, H.S.W., Metilene edizioni
Sponsor istituzionale: Coop Liguria
Galleria Vannucci di Pistoia, Fabio Gori e Virginia Fabrizi, Associazione Parenti delle Vittime della Strage di Ustica, Claudio Seghi Rospigliosi
Ufficio stampa Comune La Spezia: Luca Della Torre | Tel. +39 0187 727324 | firstname.lastname@example.org
CSArt – Comunicazione per l’Arte: Chiara Serri | Tel. +39 0522 1715142 | Cell. +39 348 7025100