artist / participant


press release

Italian Pavilion - La Biennale di Venezia

April 23, 2022 – November 27, 2022

History of Night and Destiny of Comets - Gian Maria Tosatti
Italian Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia

Commissioner: Onofrio Cutaia, Director-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry of Culture
Curated by Eugenio Viola

History of Night and Destiny of Comets is the title of the Italian Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, promoted by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity – Ministry of Culture.

Curated by Eugenio Viola, the exhibition presents for the first time in the history of the Italian Pavilion the work of a single artist: Gian Maria Tosatti (Rome, 1980).

History of Night and Destiny of Comets is conceived as a vast environmental site-specific installation that occupies the entire space of the Tese delle Vergini. It proposes an impressive vision of the current state of humanity and its future prospects.

History of Night and Destiny of Comets deals with the difficult balance between man and nature, sustainable development and territory, ethics and profit. It suggests an aesthetic reading of this uncertain scenario, while offering an unprecedented platform to develop a comprehensive and profound debate about these issues. The exhibition is envisioned according to a theatrical ratio that articulates the narrative into a prologue and two acts: History of Night and Destiny of Comets.

The first space offers a symbolic journey into the “Bel Paese” and coincides with the History of Night or rather the symbolic parable of the rise and fall of the Italian industrial dream. A sequence of disturbing scenarios foresees the final vision, overturning the imagination in a visionary epiphany.

The Destiny of Comets is the last image, that reminds us that indignant nature has not forgiven man since the time of the biblical Flood. And finally, a powerful and unsettling epilogue emerges, an inverted disturbing element, the sign of a possible peace. The exhibition ends with a hopeful message about the destiny of humanity, which like a comet, has crossed the universe in a tremendous luminous trail.

“I would give the whole of Montedison for a firefly,” wrote Pier Paolo Pasolini in a famous article entitled The Vacuum of Power (originally published in Corriere della Sera, February 1, 1975). In it, the Italian intellectual denounced the epochal passage through the metaphor of the disappearance of fireflies, understood as the final and heinous crime of the new fascism: neo-capitalism.

“The Italian Pavilion 2022 therefore intends—through an integral and multifocal vision of the languages of contemporaneity—to present not an exhibition but an immersive experience in the spaces of the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, which will be greatly transformed by the artist’s intervention along a visionary and sometimes dystopian path,” comments Onofrio Cutaia, Commissioner of the Italian Pavilion.

“I consider Tosatti’s work unique in the Italian and international art scene,” Viola adds. “He incorporates his theatrical training into his artistic research, which stimulates the mechanisms of interaction and the physical and emotional involvement of the viewer. For this reason, his works are not “simple” environmental installations but rather complex aesthetic devices that involve different media and daring steps of scale.”

History of Night and Destiny of Comets explicitly references the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by stimulating public debate about the environment, the urban landscape, and sustainable ecologies.

The catalogue will include texts by Eugenio Viola, the book’s editor, Gian Maria Tosatti, and a tribute to Italian photographer Mimmo Jodice. It will be published by Treccani and designed by Mosaico Studio.

The Italian Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2022 was also realised thanks to the support of Sanlorenzo and Valentino, main sponsors of the exhibition, sponsor Xiaomi, main technical sponsors Folio and Italstage, and technical sponsors Bonotto, Fondazione Morra, Laterlite, Marcegaglia and Mosaico Studio. Special thanks also to all the donors who have made a significant contribution to this project.