CINQUE MOSTRE – Across the Board: Parts of a Whole at the American Academy in Rome

Woody Pirtie, Venice to Rome, 2015


36 participants include scholars, artists, composers, musicians, and writers in a site-specific itinerary curated by Ilaria Gianni. 

9 February 2016 marks the return of Cinque Mostre, the annual exhibition of works by Rome Prize Fellows, Italian Fellows, and invited artists, at the American Academy in Rome. The Guest curator for the 2016 edition is Ilaria Gianni, co-director of the Nomas Foundation, Rome (assistant curator Saverio Verini), who has designed an exhibition itinerary articulated in several areas of the Academy’s main building. The project knits together different attitudes and points of view, connecting the works of American Academy’s resident artists, as well as those of other Italian and international artists through site-specific interventions. The result enhances the Academy’s role as an interdisciplinary laboratory involving the visual arts, music, literature, audio-visual production, design, architecture, and technological innovation.

Across the Board: Parts of a Whole is an itinerant and performative exhibition: a game with no fixed rules that takes the idea of the “fragment” as a starting point, rather than a conclusion, for the narrative. Including works by artists, scholarly research, studies by architects, musical compositions, and texts – the show is intended as a set for an evolving narrative moving physically and allegorically throughout the American Academy in Rome and beyond.  Different locations will disclose a cosmos of tales investigating marginality, authenticity, language, fragmentation, translation and transformation.

The exhibition features Mark Boulos, Jinn Bronwen Lee, Christopher Cerrone, Karl Daubmann (in collaboration with the Rome Sustainable Food Project), Javier Galindo, Helena Hladilova, Emily Jacir (with John Lansdowne and Christopher MacEvitt), John Lansdowne (in collaboration with James Huemoeller), Senam Okudzeto, Woody Pirtle, Public Fiction (with works by Math Bass, Leidy Churchman, Cécile B. Evans, Stanya Kahn, Nikita Gale, Andrea Longacre-White, Anna Sew Hoy), Bryony Roberts, Alexander Robinson (in collaboration with Anthony Baus), David Schutter, Maaike Schoorel, Namsal Siedlecki, Mali Annika Skotheim (with the participation of Lysley Tenorio, Javier Galindo, Karl Daubman, Jenny Krieger, Michelle Di Marzo, John Lansdowne), Nina C. Young (in collaboration with Miro Magloire, Elizabeth Brown Hudec, Daniela Giannuzzi, Simone Ghera).

Elaborating on historical facts, objects, landscapes, political representation, fictions and the construction of signs and symbols, the single parts of the show seem to be composing step by step a complex and multiform system questioning the potential of abstraction and its impact on reality.

Across the Board: Parts of a Whole is orchestrated as a journey through which the spectator-player encounters diverse scenarios to observe, learn from and interact with different works. The itinerary embraces the constructive chaos existing in a study, in its transmission and in its representation, proposing divergent readings of the voices comprising the multifaceted cultural universe. Involving artists and scholars whose practices tackle narrative devices, engage with the construction of a common imagery, shared history and memory, the show investigates the possibility of drawing on the past as a source for a completely new formation.

The itinerary starts form the Façade of the main American Academy building, where Public Fiction has assembled works by Math Bass, Leidy Churchman, Cécile B. Evans, Stanya Kahn, Nikita Gale, Andrea Longacre-White, and Anna Sew Hoy. These artists engage the spectator-player in an inquiry into the idea of the rules governing conventional meaning, setting free the codes of language, of signs and signifiers in their multiple variations.

The Atrium of the McKim, Mead & White Building has been altered by Bryony Roberts’ installation, which provokes a reflection on the complexity of the architectural composition of the pavement and the visual experience of physical space.

The Gallery – featuring works by Mark Boulos, Jinn Bronwen Lee, Helena Hladilova, Senam Okudzeto, Maaike Schoorel, and Namsal Siedlecki – has been transformed into an active gymnasium for exercises of language and style, questioning the idea of representation and fixed definition.

The Main Staircase, thanks to contributions by Christopher Cerrone and Woody Pirtle, resounds with reverberations and transparencies, underlining the power of a murmur or a projected image to unleash the viewer’s imagination.

The Cryptoporticus is transformed into a real study for the transformation and translation of sources, references, and information. Participating artists include Karl Daubmann (in collaboration with the Rome Sustainable Food Project), Javier Galindo, John Lansdowne (in collaboration with James Huemoeller), Alexander Robinson (in collaboration with Anthony Baus), Mali Annika Skotheim (with the participation of Lysey Tenorio, Javier Galindo, Karl Daubmann, Jenny Krieger, Michelle di Marzo, and John Lansdowne).

The Academy Bar is the setting a site-specific project entitled The Picture Club, an exhibition-within-the-exhibition curated by Ilaria Gianni, Gianni Politi, and Saverio Verini. Artists and authors from different fields – Micol Ässael, Chiara Barzini, Orazio Battaglia, Elena Bellantoni, Pim Blokker, Massimiliano Bomba, Carola Bonfili, Lupo Borgonovo, Joanne Burke, Francesco Ciavaglioli, Ester Coen and Nunzio, Sonia Cucculelli, Tomaso De Luca, Gabriele De Santis with Lorenzo Pace and Andrea Polichetti, Fabio Donalisio, Riccardo Falcinelli, Giuseppe Gallo, Helena Hladilova, Emily Jacir, Antonella Lattanzi, Emiliano Maggi, Luigi Ontani, Francesco Pacifico, Woody Pirtle, Gianni Politi, Fabio Quaranta, Lisa Rampilli, Alexander Robinson, Andrea Romano, David Schutter, Namsal Siedlecki, Tommaso Sponzilli, and Emma Verdet – are called to investigate the nature of representation, breaking down its conventions to create a personal view of portraiture as a subjective form of expression. Their works are integrated into the pre-existing gallery of historical portraits in the Bar representing figures who have contributed to the American Academy’s cultural life in the course of time, giving the place its unique flavour. The Picture Club is conceived as a sort of “peaceful occupation” emphasizing the essence of the site as a privileged place where different ideas and languages meet and where remarkable conversations, conflicts and crossings originate.

Collateral events:

3 March 2016
Temenos, performance by Nina C. Young in collaboration with choreographer Miro Magloire of New Chamber Ballet (with Elizabeth Brown Hudec, Daniela Giannuzzi, Simone Ghera). The performance is realized in collaboration with Real Academia de España en Roma.

Tempietto di S. Pietro in Montorio (Via di S. Pietro in Montorio)

17 March 2016
Presentation of TRANSLATIO, by Emily Jacir, John Lansdowne and Christopher MacEvitt, published by NERO, Rome.

American Academy in Rome (Via Angelo Masina 5)

Public Fiction, The Middle Future, 2016


American Academy in Rome  – Via Angelo Masina 5
Opening 9 February 2016, 6pm–9pm