Artists Enrico David, Chiara Fumai, and Liliana Moro are representing Italy for the 58th Venice Biennale. The country’s pavilion is curated by Milovan Farronato, the director and curator of the Fiorucci Art Trust.
Across generations, the artists will link past and present, investigating daily life, tradition, and survival. Farronato shared with Whitewaller how the exhibition will be circular, without beginning or end.
WHITEWALLER: As the curator for the Italian Pavilion, what was the starting point for you?
MILOVAN FARRONATO: The germinal idea was influenced by some essays of the brilliant Italian author and storyteller Italo Calvino, in particular about The Castle of Crossed Destinies (1973) or If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979).
Some strategies of display adopted by German artist Katharina Fritsch in past exhibitions also vividly came back to my mind—the way she built her own concise space within the grandiose space of the Swiss institution Schaulager.
And then, the sequence of different environments, the sinister atmospheric quality, and the disorientation, mixed with the precariousness that characterizes the exhibition “The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied,” presented by the Fondazione Prada in 2017.
WW: How did you select the three artists to represent Italy: Enrico David, Chiara Fumai, and Liliana Moro?
MF: I was looking for the perfect elements to combine in a configuration that would not only reward the single but the whole group. I didn’t want this combination to have only similar shadings. I am fascinated by the set theory. This is the reason why I wanted to make sure that through a given constant that supported the whole, each single element had its own characteristic
WW: The artists span two generations—why did you want to tell this kind of intergenerational story?
MF: It just happened. Chiara Fumai participated as a student in a workshop by Liliana Moro. Liliana and Enrico David met through me, and, despite their very different expressive nature, they immediately experienced a deep empathic and existential connection. Chiara and Enrico will properly meet inside the Italian Pavilion, where one element of Chiara’s mural will turn into
a sculpture by Enrico.
The three of them have also participated, in different moments, in the project I have been developing yearly with the Fiorucci Art Trust in the Sicilian volcanic island of Stromboli. Stromboli has as many faces as disguises. The volcano is a tutelary deity. The island is a perfect scenario and sacred mountain—a place of powerful alchemies. Nevertheless, its black and primordial morphology can also appear hostile, malevolent. It is not for everyone—you might love it or hate it. Come back several times, or run away immediately. Chiara, Enrico, and Liliana were magnetically attracted by it and got involved on several occasions, though never at the same time.
WW: How would you describe the theme of this year’s pavilion? What did you want it to say about the creativity coming out of Italy now?
MF: I would describe it as circular, without beginning and without an end, like the twelfth card of the Major Arcana of the tarot: The Hanged Man. This is not the theme of the pavilion, but it sets the mood and the atmosphere of the exhibition.
Regarding the creativity coming out of Italy, I would define it as explosive, like the constantly erupting volcano under which I have been working for the past decade. Ready to speak out loud today from the youngest generation are, for example, Daniele Milvio, Giangiacomo Rossetti, Anna Franceschini, Riccardo Paratore, Benni Bosetto, Patrizio Di Massimo e SAGG Napoli, and Beatrice Marchi, just to name a few.