Manfredi Beninati at Museo Civico di Castelbuono, Palermo

On December 10 at 6pm, the Museo Civico di Castelbuono will presenting the first solo show of Manfredi Beninati, one of the protagonists of the international art scene, who won the Audience Award at the 51st International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, in 2005. The exhibition, curated by Laura Barreca and Valentina Bruschi, brings together – for the first time – a selection of works from the early 2000’s to today. Moreover, for this occasion, Manfredi Beninati has created a site-specific installation that transforms one of the rooms of the fourteenth-century Ventimiglia castle into a life-size environment, where the visitor has no direct access, but can only look and experience it through a small window. A place to “look” at, like in his paintings, collages, drawings and sculptures, which make up the vast and rich artistic production that – in the course of less than twenty years – has brought him to a continuous regeneration of his artistic medium.

The exhibition presents a selection of drawings, paintings and collages made with different techniques and materials, where the artist references memories and personal history, interweaving these with an original cinematographic narrative angle, together with literary and artistic interests. These include Le Città Invisibili by Italo Calvino, using the book as a theme to discover places of fantasy that the artist populates with real or imaginary people, in a natural balance between dream and memory. There is the recurrence of familiar figures, such as mothers, children, brothers, faces that are sometimes partially covered with layers of colour, giving the viewer the perception of the passage of time, like in a film. Through this stratification, characteristic of his work, Beninati depicts domestic interiors and daydream landscapes, in a rarefied atmosphere, at times surreal, describing figures that seem to be slowly emerging from a fairy-tale.

“In the works of Manfredi Beninati you have the feeling of having arrived just a moment after something has happened, like opening a door, or looking into a place where someone has lived, where time has inexorably passed, leaving its fingerprints. Perhaps it is for this reason that he works for months, or even years, on the same works: developing a dialogue over time like a practice of self-knowledge that can last a lifetime,” Laura Barreca writes. “In his work, the artist refers to an 1968 intuition by the physicist Gabriele Veneziano, considered the father of the so-called “string theory” or “theory of everything”. How do we deal with the possibility that our solar system is one of infinite realities existing in the Universe?”, notes Valentina Bruschi in the catalogue essay. And continues: “Manfredi Beninati’s imagery, tied to the passage of time in a spatial dimension, is reflected in paintings and sculptures, created in his studio situated in the Liberty style area of Palermo, just a short walk from Piazza Politeama. This is the place where his visions materialize today, after having lived and travelled around the world, from London to Los Angeles, from Rome to Buenos Aires.”

On the occasion of this exhibition, the Museo Civico di Castelbuono is publishing an anthology of the artist’s work, in Italian and English, curated by Laura Barreca and Valentina Bruschi with texts by Nicholas Cullinan, Jim Lane and Francesco Stocchi. It is a book that brings together, for the first time, a large selection of works from the beginning of Manfredi Beninati’s career to his most recent artistic productions.

Museo Civico di Castelbuono, PalermoPiazza Castello, 90013 Castelbuono (PA)
Opening: Saturday 10 December 2016 at 6pm
11 December 2016 – 6 March 2017