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Stephan Zimmerli. Studiolo dell’esilio

curated by Valentina Gensini

Opening on May 16, 2024, at 5:30 PM


On Thursday, May 16, 2024, Stephan Zimmerli’s installation, winner of the 2024 artist residency grant, dedicated to the collective memory of migrants, exiles, and travellers, will be inaugurated.


Studiolo dell’Esilio is the project that visual artist Stephan Zimmerli developed during his residency at MAD Murate Art District. Dedicated to the collective memory of citizens who arrived in Florence due to migrations, exiles, voluntary or unavoidable transfers, the project gathers the memories that twelve citizens of the world, participants in the project, wanted to share with the artist. These stories, materialized in the artist’s drawings, provide a collection of memories, both material and organic, which are brought together within an ephemeral architecture built in the Laura Orvieto hall of MAD Murate Art District.


A wooden scenography – analogous to that of a Renaissance study – where ornaments and decorations correspond to the manifestation of an invisible world, a mental space constituted by words and memories, translated into images and revitalized by the artist’s graphic sign.


At the opening on Thursday, May 16, at 5:30 PM, Stephan Zimmerli will engage in a dialogue with curator Federica Forti.

Then, the opening of the installation in the presence of the French consul Guillaume Rousson.


Stephan Zimmerli

Stephan Zimmerli is a visual artist, architect, scenographer and musician, based in Paris.

For the past 25 years, he has been developing a trans-disciplinary artistic practice at the crossroads of Architecture, Theater and Music – with Visual Arts as the core discipline; his constant practice of Drawing is structured and ordered in hundreds of daily sketchbooks forming the basis of a personal art of memory, a “mnemotopia” gravitating around specific themes: time,... reminiscence, atmosphere, mental space.

A graduate of the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs and the Ecole d’Architecture de Belleville in Paris, Stephan Zimmerli completed his diploma project at the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio in Switzerland, in Peter Zumthor’s Atelier. Now he works as a freelance architect, designing projects merging sound and space (“Doisneau & la Musique” exhibition at the Philharmonie de Paris, Studiolo “Klein Leberau” for singer/musician Rodolphe Burger), while teaching Architectural Design, “Atmospherical Image” and “Thinking With The Hand” courses at several European schools (University of East London, Ecoles d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville & de Rennes, ENSAD, Universität Liechtenstein, Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio…).

In 1995, with 4 other musician friends, he created the folk-rock band Moriarty, playing double  bass, guitar and piano under the alias Zim Moriarty, touring with the band for 10 years around the world, playing over 800 concerts, recording 5 albums (achieving multiple gold-records with over 300’000 copies sold) and a series of soundtracks for film and theater, while also being in charge of art direction, graphic design, video clips and photography for their independent record label Air Rytmo.

Furthering the principles developed within the band and their label, since 2018 he started collaborating in the field of Contemporary Art with Moriarty’s guitarist Charles Carmignac and the Fondation Carmignac in Porquerolles, working on their visual identity, concept drawings & manifestos, curation and soundtracks for exhibitions, and designing the “Musée-Valise” art-therapy project for hospitals.

Since 1999, he also collaborated with theatre director, scenographer and playwright Marc Lainé, setting up the studio “La Boutique Obscure” and designing over 80 scenography projects with him in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Canada, before joining the Comédie de Valence (Centre Dramatique National) as associated artist in charge of hybrid theatre projects merging music, architecture and visual arts.

Stephan Zimmerli’s artwork has been exhibited in London (Caravanserail & Sketch galleries) and Paris (“Par les petits sentiers” at the Carrousel du Louvre, “Echoes From The Borderline” at Galerie &Co119, “A Dess(e)in” in the nave of the Versailles stables), and has been broadcast into numerous publications and conferences, as well as graphic and musical performances focusing on the interaction between manual drawing and mental space.

Stephan Zimmerli is currently in residency at the Murate Art District in Florence, Italy, developing an exhibition-performance project on the Studioli and the Art of Memory.

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Federica Forti

Federica Forti is a Consultant for the development of projects for the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and a lecturer in training courses for the global network of UNESCO Creative Cities.

She teaches Museology, Art History, Curatorial Studies, and Artistic Direction at Polimoda in Florence (teaching in English), the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence (Workshop in Curatorial), and the Catholic University of Milan (Master MEC_ events and communication for culture).

For... Polimoda, she has curated exhibitions for events such as Pitti and Dubai Design Week. Previously, she taught Museology at the Master’s program at the Institute for Art and Restoration Palazzo Spinelli in Florence.

From 2010 to 2015, she conceived and developed a residency project for international artists in Carrara, taking place in various locations including marble museums and quarries (DATABASE Carrara).

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