“Vita, Morte, Miracoli” at Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genova

Elisa Montessori, Vita, Morte, Miracoli, 2018, installation view
Courtesy the artist, Galleria Monitor


Vita, morte e miracoli (Life, Death, Miracles). The Art of Longevity opens its doors at Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, in Genova, as manifesto of Villa Croce’s new course curated by Carlo Antonelli. Inside the museum, the visual narrative of the forth and fifth age of life by some artists born in Genoa, or in connection with Liguria, such as Renata Boero, Lisetta Carmi, Franco Mazzucchelli, Corrado Levi, Elisa Montessori, Anna Oberto, Rodolfo Vitone, joined by the thirty years old Nuvola RaveraMarco Bruzzone and the “riviera artist” Jean Dupuy as a special guest—are blown up as a proved evidence of a thesis, deriving from a complex and detailed collection of scientific contributions concerning some researches on senility under way in Genoa (co-ordinated by Antonelli and Paola Mordiglia).

The exhibition presents some audio interviews and participations featuring: Massimiliano Valerii (Censis general manager), Valter Longo (a superstar in his field, director of the Longevity Institute in Los Angeles and author of the bestseller “The Longevity Diet”, published all over the world), Stefano Gustincich from the Italian Institut of Technology (genetist battling against the Parkinson and Alzheimer cellular degenerations), Alberto Pilotto and Patrizio Odetti (head of geriatrics department respectively at the Galliera Hospital and the San Martino Hospital), Massimo Livi Bacci (great dean of demographic studies), Franca Rossi Galli (geriatric sexoligist), Niccolò Casiddu (teaching “silver economy” design at the Faculty of Architecture), Carla Costanzi (sociologist), Lucio Ghio (head of psychiatric department at the Galliera Hospital).

The demographic evidence of the uniqueness of the city of Genoa as worldwide lab for the new life expectancy and its implications turns the place where the museum is located into an avant-garde site: as Valter Longo declared, “Genoa is the US in 30 years, it is the entire Western world in 2040”. As a matter of fact, only then the planet will get to the current percentage of old people of the Liguria capital, with 40% of the population over 65 years old, which makes it already the oldest city in Europe and one of the oldest city of the planet. The exhibition’s informative support – present along the main staircase in form of audio interviews—set up an enormous diorama, that gets to expand the idea of Genoa as absolute capital for the so-called “silver foxes” between now and the mid of the century, thus delineating a concrete and clamorous platform for the economic, touristic and residential relaunch of the city.

So hurrah!

In such an euphoric climate, the creative work between the age of 80 and 100 years shines a new light, helped by the stunning development of personalized medicine, nutrigenetics, digital research and technology in general (let’s think at prostheses and exoscheletons, useful even just to face the arduous climbs of local narrow lanes). The last living generation who witnessed the horrors of Second World War gets finally rid of the burden of uselessness and of the endless wait for found joys and unexpected freedoms.

The exhibition route starts along Villa Croce main stair, where one can hear the voices of the experts met during the research. An enormous sound diorama that sets up and expands idea of Genoa as capital of longevity for the so-called “silver foxes” between the present time and 2050, seen also as a concrete platform for the economic, touristic and residential relaunch of the city. The visitor is accompanied to the discovery of the senile universe and its creative expressions, paced by citations sliding along the exhibition route through illuminated signs, contributing to the environmental experience affecting all the noble floor.

The different rooms of the villa hold as many immersive installations conceived by the artists purposely for the exhibition. The intro is entrusted to Jean Dupuy, exceptional special guest, who presents the preview of a video, realized together with his musician son, focused on the flow of time. And then it is up to Lisetta Carmi, known for her photographs of Genoese transvestites, who for the first time shows a series of travel slides from a trip to Mexico and Venezuela made in the Seventies, that seems to foresee her later choices of spiritual life, as testified by the audio recording of her of voice diffused in the room. Famous for abandoning inflatable marine sculptures in the gulf of the Tigullio, Franco Mazzucchelli intervenes directly on the architecture of the villa. The transparent film of his air installation expands inside the room until adhering to the walls like a second skin.

For her intervention, Anna Oberto moves from a performance of 1980 proposed now in form of an installation reconstructing its original emotional and engaging environment, accompanied by the images of that time and by a continuous line of words, distributed along the perimeter of the room. The work is introduced by a rare film of 1955 dedicated to Ezra Pound and realized together with Martino Oberto and Gabriele Stocchi. Renata Boero shows two large format canvases from her early days in the Sixties and from her most recent experimentations. In correspondence to the continuum of time, an analogously continuous sensory space has been created and enriched with sculptural elements. Within that space, life and death principles are evoked by the metamorphoses of the materials used by the artist. Corrado Levi offers a homage to the gulf of La Spezia, land that has inspired his famous Canti Spezzini (La Spezia Songs) and place where he has lived in the Eighties devising an emotional topography combined to a reflection on the topic of contemporary migrations. Elisa Montessori creates a lyric environment, an eternal bad girl’s one though: the glasses with the images of the palm trees of her infancy. Montale hidden in the books and in the horizons. But also the yellow papers that she only finds in the US and the small paintings she just stepped on. The artist evokes a continuous and unpredictable transformation, affecting not only the signs but also the very seeing and experiencing process of the viewer.

In the end of the exhibition, the labyrinth of roses painted by Rodolfo Vitone, a reconstruction of a 1985 installation at the Quarto Psychiatric Hospital in Genoa, evokes the famous rose garden of Villa Croce, but also the pleasures of life, that are ageless. An integrating part of the show is the participation of the young Genoese artist Nuvola Ravera with a collective action scheduled to happen in the days of the Spring Equinox, but already “potentially” present in the exhibition space in form of sculpture. Finally, by resuming one of his previous works on a legendary rest home for great artists of the 20th century, Marco Bruzzone imagines a shining real estate for the fourth and fifth age, Silverland, and let it become the main partner of the show.

After a workshop on Spaces, Objects and Dwelling Types in the Silver Age, scheduled for February 21st, throughout the exhibition run, a weekly talk program featuring the artistic and scientific protagonists of the exhibition will be open to the public.


Vita, Morte, Miracoli, installation view


Anna Oberto, Vita, Morte, Miracoli, installation view
Courtesy the artist


Elisa Montessori, Vita, Morte, Miracoli, 2018, installation view
Courtesy the artist, Galleria Monitor


Rodolfo Vitone, Vita, Morte, Miracoli, installation view
Courtesy the artist


Vita, Morte, Miracoli
Curated by Carlo Antonelli and Anna Daneri
22 February—1 May 2018
Opening 22 February 2018, 6pm

Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce | via Ruffini 3, Genova
010 580069/585772