“Magic is the instrument that mankind can use to reaffirm their presence in the world in a moment of crisis,” says curator Cecilia Alemani of “Il Mondo Magico” (“The Magic World”), the fantastical exhibition she curated for the Venice Biennale’s Italian Pavilion. The show borrows its theme and title from a 1948 text by the Neapolitan anthropologist Ernesto de Martino, who examined the use of magic by cultures in southern Italy to shape their world during uncertain times. Showcasing work by Roberto Cuoghi, Adelita Husni-Bey, and Giorgio Andreotta Calò—three artists whose work is informed by rituals and mythologies—the pavilion suggests that artists can use the power of the imagination—like magic—to equip viewers with new ways of reading both the past and the present.
Here, Alemani brings us into the first hall, where sculptures of Jesus are fabricated, incubated, and exhibited in a three-part installation-cum-laboratory by Cuoghi. “Nationalism in art and at the Biennale shouldn’t be seen as an example necessarily of the division in our world but actually on the contrary as a polyphony of voices that come together in one place,” says Alemani of the debate surrounding the Biennale’s framework of national pavilions. “This rhizome of references and connections is what makes the Venice Biennale quite unique.”
Cover photo by Casey Kelbaugh.
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Featuring Cecilia Alemani, curator of the Italian Pavilion
Produced by Scenic
Production Team for Scenic:
Gary Hustwit, Maya Tippett, Jarrard Cole, Lucy Raven, Enrico Lenarduzzi
Production Team for Artsy:
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Owen Dodd, Designer
Demie Kim, Assistant Project Manager
Alexxa Gotthardt, Staff Writer
Sound mix: Mike Frank
Colorist: Sandy Patch
Music: KW | JR
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