“Hill of Shame” exhibited at Extraspazio gallery, Rome

The series “Hill of Shame” will be part of the collective exhibition “Paradise Now”, curated by Manrica Rotili, at the Extraspazio gallery in Rome.

Opening July 4th 2013, 6pm
via San Francesco di Sales 16/a


The exhibition will be open throughout July 4-26 2013


‘Paradise Now’ was one of the Living Theatre’s most disruptive shows which, at the end of the sixties, took the company to its revolutionary peak. There are many reasons behind choosing this title for a collective exhibition by six young Italian artists appearing at extraspazio for the first time. It was inspired in part by the idea of considering the exhibition dimension as a stage on which the different poetics propounded by the six actors come into play, generating an intermingling of visual languages that highlights their coexistence and reciprocal encounter. It is a case of hybrid, apparently incongruent expressive languages, deliberately heterogeneous and in some cases still experimental, which show a cross-section of creative power Made in Italy.

The artists involved – Stefania Artusi (Palermo 1990), Romina Bassu (Rome 1982), Gianni Cipriano (Palermo 1983), Giulia Giannola (Naples 1985), Paolo Polloniato (Nove 1979) and Angela Zurlo (Foggia 1982) – come from extremely different artistic territories and represent five categories of art: sculpture, photography, painting, video and installation.

In line with its theatre forerunner, extraspazio’s Paradise Now also aims to be chaotic and experimental, aims to narrow the gap between exhibition stage, reality and fruition, favouring a set-up without frames, glass, display cases, screens or any other element external and extraneous to the work. All in function of an immediacy which leads to an impulsive, spontaneous aesthetic experience and brings Paradise Now close to ‘an explosion of happiness and revolutionary optimism’ in a period of history when the search for paradise (earthly, ideal, mental, artistic) seems like a sort of collective utopia which many have renounced.

Many but not all. The 53.000 or so sub-Saharan and North Africans who in 2011 managed to pass through the so-called ‘Gate to Europe’ of Lampedusa are seeking paradise. The tents they build with metal poles, paper bags, clothes and mattresses, and which Gianni Cipriano offers us in the photographic series Hill of Shame (2011), are for them a precious moment of precarious stability. The photographer’s intention is quite clear: his images do not immortalise the desperation and disorientation of these men but rather their gesture of hope, building something of their own in a land not their own. Like spontaneous architectures the tents thus become the shelter of a dream and make their dwellers’ stay on the hill a more tolerable limbo. They become the symbol of a calm chaos and the metaphor of an existence: nothing is planned, everything is closely bound and each element is essential to supporting the other.

Paradise Now marks the passage between e x t r a s p a z i o’ s first and second exhibition seasons, with the aim of acknowledging emerging and significant figures in the current Italian artistic context.