Repose and Resist
15th February - 30th March 2024OPEN
"Occupo un piccolo spazio di mondo, ma non l'ho delimitato" (Altiero Spinelli)
From 14.06.23 to 23.07.23
MAD Murate Art District - Carcere duro
The exhibition is dedicated to freedom seen from the prison and in the light of art. The initiative was born to give voice to the dreams of young underage inmates through art, connecting their thoughts to reflections on freedom and the dignity of punishment by the founding fathers of Europe, starting with Altiero Spinelli.
The artistic project, which has already been hosted at the Central Institute for Restoration in Rome, stems from the intentions of Silvia Costa, the extraordinary Government Commissioner for the recovery of the former Bourbon prison on the island of Santo Stefano in Ventotene. Organized together with some of the Cultural Institutes of European countries in Italy (EUNIC-Cluster Rome), such as the Czech Center, the Bulgarian Cultural Institute, the Polish Institute, the Slovak Institute, the Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Center, the General Representation of the Flemish Community and the Region of Flanders, it has received collaboration from the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence and the Ministry of Justice, and is hosted by MAD Murate Art District, involving young artists and curators from the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence.
The diverse path of the exhibition, curated in its Florentine location by Dispositivi Comunicanti and Mind the GAP, brings together the works of Stefano Bellanova, Giorgia Errera, Sadra Ghahari, Weronika Guenther, Martin Jurik, Katerina Kuchtova, Federico Niccolai, Marianna Panagiotoudi, Karina Popova, Ilaria Restivo, Zoya Shokooi, Maria Giovanna Sodero, Valerio Tirapani, and Laura Zawada.
The European artists involved, invited to participate by the promoting institutions, were encouraged to interpret through their works some of the foundational concepts of the European Union: freedom, unity, memory, community, and equality. Starting from the word “freedom,” desires, dreams, and aspirations were evoked by some young inmates in the Casal del Marmo juvenile prison in Rome, who were involved in a creative writing workshop led by actor Salvatore Striano, in collaboration with the Department of Juvenile Justice of the Ministry of Justice. The texts produced were then entrusted, through the Cultural Institutes, to graduating students from the Academies of Fine Arts of the six European countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Flanders, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey), who created valuable artistic works based on reinterpretation, connected to each other by a symbolic element: the dimension of prison cells.
The choice of the spaces in the Murate Complex for the Florentine stage of this journey is not random but derives from the significant history of this place. From 1424 to 1808, the structure housed the Convent of the Murate Sisters Congregation; between 1848 and 1983, it was converted into a male prison, with a wing used as a maximum-security prison during the Fascist Ventennio, destined for anarchists, socialists, and anti-fascists. Among the numerous high-profile political prisoners, the names of Carlo Levi, Gaetano Salvemini, Nello Rosselli, Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, and Alcide De Gasperi stand out; the latter, along with Altiero Spinelli, among the promoters of the European Union.
The artistic projects contextualized in the maximum-security wing of the Murate explore the concept of freedom within the prison cell, questioning not only its nature but also the forms it can take when experienced, desired, or imagined within a place of detention. The works, employing different media, range from sculpture to performance, to the projection of a virtual world, transforming the cells into gateways to unknown realities, shared experiences, and places of memory
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