press release

From the time of the ancient Egyptians to medieval bestiaries and up to the present day there has always existed an enormous literature on the relationships between humanity and animals. Artists have often dealt with this theme, from the Symbolists who reinterpreted such figures from classical myths as the Sphinx, the Minotaur or the Sirens, to the Surrealists who summoned up subconscious images in their work. Our visual culture, and not just that of what is generally considered to be art, is full of images of monsters, the outcome of the cohabitation of different natures and the disturbing value of which is the result of our 'dissatisfaction with cvilisation'. A similar cohabitation is to be found in the redeeming nature of the shaman, the man who reaches the divine through means of animals. A tough, ambiguous and risky subject touching on the sick, the impossible, the unimaginable relationship between the human and animal, in shapes and figurative forms. This theme is certainly both ambiguous and subtle since the relationship between humanity and beasts is both frightening and nauseous, but we are dealing with 'another world', one where we find in action the 'lost part of man': that instinct that was mislaid with the growth of so-called civilisation. The exhibition will start with examples from the end of the nineteenth century and will then show a selection of work from the century that has just ended as well as from the present day. In works from Arnold Böcklin to Max Ernst, from Alberto Savinio to Francis Bacon, and from Picasso to Frida Kahlo and Matthew Barney, we will see how these themes have been present in the aesthetic inquiries of the western world. The exhibition catalogue will also dedicate an equal amount of attention to literature, cinema, and theatre with the aim of widening the scope of the inquiry and making it a truly interdisciplinary one.


Beauty and the beasts. On becoming animal
Kuratoren: Giorgio Verzotti, Lea Vergine

mit Werken von Arnold Böcklin, Max Ernst, Alberto Savinio, Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Matthew Barney, u.a.