Dr. Tenley Bick recently launched the 2021 program of her bilingual digital project dedicated to mapping new directions in contemporary Italian art. COSTELLAZIONE focuses on contemporary practice that addresses histories and systems of oppression in Italy, and on artists whose practices shed light on Italy’s multi-ethnicity, radical histories, and activism today.
COSTELLAZIONE returned Friday, January 22 with its 2021 inaugural program, featuring London-based Italian artist, filmmaker, and researcher Alessandra Ferrini on Instagram live. Dr. Bick and Ferrini discussed the artist’s most recent work, My Heritage? (2020), a site-specific multi-media installation at the former Casa d’Italia Marseille. As the artist discussed in the program, My Heritage? considers her identity as an Italian woman who has long lived outside of Italy, conveying the intersection of two histories: Italian colonialism during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935–36, and the spread of fascism during this period. The installation also included a sound component: recordings of texts by historical anti-colonial activists and figures associated with Pan-Africanism in London, where the artist has lived for 18 years.
Ferrini’s practice is fueled by her archival research, reflected in this work in the form of printed scans of the covers of Italian fascist publications, predominantly the propagandist weekly Il Legionario, which circulated to Italians in colonies and to other areas outside of Italy. Ferrini’s work was sadly only open to the public for 3 hours, due to closures for COVID-19 at the European nomadic biennial Manifesta 13. Her work was part of the exhibition Rue d’Alger, curated by Alessandro Gallicchio, with Simone Frangi, Marine Schütz and Pierre Sintès. COSTELLAZIONE provided an opportunity to share the work with broader audiences online and to discuss its conceptualization in more detail. To learn more about Alessandra Ferrini’s work, visit www.alessandraferrini.info.
All programs for COSTELLAZIONE are streamed live in Italian and then in English. Recordings are available after the live events at www.costell-azione.com.
Upcoming programs include:
New York-based Italian-American artist Francesco Simeti (Feb. 19);
Palermo-based street artist Mr. Cens (Mar. 5);
Italian-Senegalese artist Binta Diaw (Apr. 23);
and Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar (May 7), who has long addressed Italian history, anti-fascist and socio-communist political theory in his work.
Italian artist Mimmo Paladino will also participate this spring, on a date to be announced.
Dr. Bick is the founder and curator of the project. She premiered COSTELLAZIONE in October of 2020. For more information, follow COSTELLAZIONE on Instagram @costell.azione and visit the project website.