press release

The Dark Side. Who is afraid of the Dark?
08.10.2019 - 01.03.2020

Curated Danilo Eccher

The entire exhibition space of Musja will be given over to contemporary art and from this autumn will become a private museum presided over by Ovidio Jacorossi. The vast art collection, covering the period from the early 19th century Italian to the present, will be flanked by the most innovative contemporary trends in the international panorama in order to point up the fundamental contribution of art to personal and collective growth. The new gallery also sets out to become established as a focus for the development of civil society in Rome and to carry forward cultural commitment and dialogue with international public and private institutions and museums.

“With the creation of Musja we donate a new Museum to the city of Rome and to Italy, making available an art collection which is the result of a long human and professional story. In our business experience, we have always valued creativity as an asset to develop individual potential, as well as the potential of public and private institutions. With this new cultural venue we offer a tangible contribution to the exchange and to the cultural promotion to the society we all belong”, Ovidio Jacorossi, President of Musja, declares.

The complex thematic setting of The Dark Side project is organized into three exhibitions spread over three years, and dedicated to: “Fear of the Dark”, “Fear of Solitude” and “Fear of Time”. The first event in the new exhibition programme, dedicated to “Fear of the Dark”, brings together thirteen of the most important international artists with large site-specific installations and large-scale artworks by world-renowned artists such as Gregor Schneider, Robert Longo, Hermann Nitsch, Tony Oursler, and Christian Boltanski as well as new protagonists on the contemporary art scene such as Monster Chetwynd, Sheela Gowda, and Chiharu Shiota. There is a substantial Italian component with works and installations by Gino De Dominicis, Gianni Dessì, Flavio Favelli, Monica Bonvicini. During the opening of the exhibition, and thereafter at monthly intervals, there will be a performance by “Differenziale Femminile”, a group of four actresses, in the rooms of the gallery.

The majority of the site-specific works will be produced especially for the exhibition, while others are loans from various institutions, galleries and some others are part of the Jacorossi collection. All of them were selected for their power to draw the viewer in and encourage reflection on the topic while, at the same time, introducing some essential aspects of current contemporary art research. Visitors will be able to analyse their own reactions to sensory and tactile experiences, theatrical and magical visions, rituals and settings, anxieties that take different and unexpected forms only to melt away.

The Dark Side of the title is the dark side that is in each of us, the real or presumed obstacles in life that force us to pause, to reflect, that make our hearts beat faster, but at the same time ignite new possibilities, new thoughts, new perspectives. We have to enter a dark obscure dimension while trying in vain to avoid or hide from it, but which instead calls for a strong presence and demands a bold gaze. This is how fear is tamed, controlled, rendered complicit and benign in one’s human adventure: the dark side should not be denied or abandoned, but rather recognized, accepted, engaged and lived.

Hence, the project can be said to be aimed at the shadows that accompany us in the sunlight, discreet, silent, slightly deformed and uncertain, although ever present. A dark outline that one cannot do without, that moves through our dreams, that caresses us in intimate moments, that frightens us only to rouse our courage. The Dark Side is a project about the unspoken areas of our thoughts, about the secrets of our soul but also the curiosity of this challenge, about courage in traversing the dark, about the need to go beyond all fear.

The catalogue accompanying the exhibition contains a wealth of images by all the participating artists as well as written contributions. In addition to Danilo Eccher’s contribution, there are also some intellectually complex views on the theme of the dark by the theologian Gianfranco Ravasi, the theoretical physicist Mario Rasetti, the psychiatrist Eugenio Borgna and the philosopher Federico Vercellone. Different points of view, cross-cutting approaches, intellectual fields that diverge, overlap and are interwoven, give the project much greater scope than a standard art exhibition.

In the course of the exhibition, Musja will also be holding a series of meetings on the theme, coordinated by Federico Vercellone, professor of Aesthetics in the Department of Philosophy at Turin University.