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Togli il Fermo Opening at the AAR Gallery

December 3, 2013
AAR Gallery
AAR Gallery
AAR Gallery
Guests at the opening reception in the cortile
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Last Monday evening was chilly, but the “Togli il Fermo/Let it go” exhibition received a warm welcome at the AAR Gallery. The show, which presents work by Giuseppe Buzzotta, Gabriella Ciancimino, Silvia Giambrone, Giuseppe Lana, Filippo Leonardi, Concetta Modica, and /barbaragurrieri/group, was guest curated by Nari Ward, FAAR’13, and put on with the support of the Museo Riso, the Sicilian Museum of Contemporary Art. Following upon the recent success of Anamericana, which presented a panorama of contemporary American art through the eyes of an insightful young Italian critic, the new show, Togli il fermo /Let it go, reverses that dynamic to present works by Sicilian artists through the eyes of an American artist and Fellow of the Academy.

Works on display are the result of a week-long rural retreat to Antonello Colonna’s Vallefredda estate in Labico where the seven artists collaborated with Nari Ward in a multivalent seminar. In this bucolic setting the group engaged in discussions, reflections, experiments, and exchanges that were designed to foster the collective experience and inspire them to lower their defenses or “let go.” Nari Ward shied away from identification with the term curator, preferring to see his role in terms of friendship and guidance. As he views it, the connective tissue of the exhibition recalls the archaeological mapping of objects in space, which was a key element of the group’s shared experience.

The textures and patterns of landscape seem to have been a fundamental inspiration to this group of Sicilian artists, who have all called up a vision of the natural landscape as a haven of tranquility in the face of manmade chaos. In her piece, Ciancimino was directly inspired by the story of a group of Soviet partisans who found refuge in the Roman countryside. Giambrone’s highly textural work reimagines landscape as an emotional frontier and Lana questions how the enchanted historic landscapes of Italy are too often reduced to picture postcards. Modica’s painted and rotating earthenware recalls lost artisanal and local traditions, while Buzzotta reflects more broadly on the cyclical nature of fortune in a time of economic crisis. Leonardi’s piece considers the problematic repercussions of the hierarchical relationship that has developed between humans and animals. Layering manipulated maps of the horizon, /barbaragurrieri/group seems to have suggested both the fragility of landscape and society’s disorientation towards it.

The American Academy in Rome attempts to build a bridge between the advantages of its intimate artistic community on the hill and those of the stimulating metropolis that surrounds it. This show is a testament to its functioning as both a creative laboratory for its Rome Prize Fellows and the setting of a mutually enriching exchange between local and international artists and audiences. The show will run until December 16th and is open to the public on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Following the close of the exhibition at the academy, these works will enter into the permanent collection of the Museo Riso.