Conversation Piece | Part 1 – Fondazione Memmo

EDDIE PEAKE, Haunt, Frieze New York, 2014, © Eddie Peake, Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano
Courtesy of Galleria Lorcan O’Neill


Fondazione Memmo-Arte Contemporanea is proud to present Conversation Piece | Part 1, the first exhibition of many future ones dedicated to those artists currently residing in Rome, scholars at foreign academies, cultural institutes, museums, and foundations.

The exhibition, curated by Marcello Smarrelli, was conceived with the aim of observing carefully, and constantly reviewing what is happening in the contemporary art scene in Rome. A surprisingly active context, that of contemporary art in the capital, difficult to perceive for the general public, but dominated by the continuous and crucial activity of the Academies and foreign cultural institutes, where over several centuries new generations of artists from all over the world complete their education.

Fondazione Memmo, through this programme of different exhibitions and other related activities (talks, workshops, studio visits), aims to be the amplifier of such institutions, historically considered vital to the maintenance and development of a cultural and narrative texture related to the contemporary visual language in Rome.

For this first exhibition the invited artists are: Francesca Grilli, Josephine Halvorson, Rowena Harris, Isabell Heimerdinger, Thomas Hutton, Corin Hewitt, Tobias Kaspar, Jonathan Monk, Anna-Bella Papp, Eddie Peake, Calixto Ramírez, Su-Mei Tse.

The cycle’s title was inspired by a particular genre of painting, originally developed in the Netherlands, that became popular in England in the XVII and XVIII centuries, which represents a group of people in a domestic setting or engaged in genteel conversations. This exhibition, in fact, is an opportunity for a dialogue and a discussion of the work of different artists, often very distant from each other in research, poetry and technique.

Artists are invited to share the space of a private foundation, located in Palazzo Ruspoli, one of most significant examples of late Renaissance in Rome. A space particularly characterized by its history, but also by the everyday life that continues to run with the succession of a younger generation, a space where artists will have the opportunity to reflect together on the different ways in which a group show can be coinceived, finding a common fil rouge and giving each work the possibility to relate and “converse” with the others.

In choosing the title, there was also a kind of cinematographic suggestion, ispired by one of the most famous films by Luchino Visconti, Conversation Piece (1974), which tells the story of a science professor living in solitary in an ancient palazzo in Rome surrounded by his collection of family portraits. Soon his life is completely revolutionized by the arrival of young and restless tenants upstairs. A clear metaphor for the generational debate and of the hypothetical and productive exchange that may result from the reciprocal comparision, even with complications, resistances, and misunderstandings. The idea of home, intimacy, generational exchange, relationship with history, narration and the idea of a work of art as a manifestation of life in an expositive dimension, the search for a special relationship with the viewer and the space, are just a few of the issues on which we invited foreign artists, temporarily living abroad, to reflect upon in order to create the works currently shown.

On the occasion of Conversation Piece | Part 1, the Fondazione Memmo-Arte Contemporanea, presents a public programme of talks, lectures and screenings, which will be regularly communicated.  At midnight on June 4, closing day of the exhibition, the Fondazione Memmo will host Enduring midnight, a performance by Francesca Grilli.

Su-Mei Tse, Dong Xi Nan Bei (E, W, S, N), Neon installation 4 elements, each 23 5/8 x 23 5/8 in. (60×60 cm)
Installation view, Casino Luxembourg), Edition of 5


TBR (fig. 14) Kirsten Dunst, 2013, Gelatin-Silver Print, matted and framed, 65x58cm, Ed of 3 + 2AP


Corin Hewitt, 2015


Fondazione Memmo – Via Fontanella Borghese, 56/b, Rome
10 February 2015  – 4 June 2015