A paradise for the smiling alligators

The increasingly actual trend toward an interdisciplinary approach aimed at redefining those once binary and conflicting relationships of environmental and gender justice moves its steps within the contemporary art world as well. The demolition of any form of rationality structured around dualisms, the decentralization and redefinition of the concept of human being in favor of posthuman theses, the appearance of fluid configurations free from preconceptions and binary models, are tensions perfectly witnessed by the works presented on the occasion of «a paradise for the smiling alligators». Curated by Marta Orsola Sironi and produced by BeAdvisors Art Department and Knot Agency, the exhibition, whose set design was entrusted to Andrea Isola, takes place within the city of Lecce’s Parco delle Mura Urbiche and is in effect the second edition of «paradise»: a nomadic exhibition format involving the participation of emergent artists and collaboration with international galleries and curatorial projects, for the purpose of realizing exhibition projects in places of historical and architectural excellence; the first stage of the project, in fact, took shape inside the halls of the Genoese palace Franzone Spinola di Luccoli, in March 2022.

The smiling alligators, to whom the title of the exhibition makes direct reference, are those marginalized, nonconforming individuals, not subject to the restrictions of power, gender and race, protagonists of the writings of Paul B. Preciado and Jean Genet and in this case protagonists of the second edition of paradise. This one, produced in collaboration with Copperfield (London) and Linda Michelle Mognato with Harlesden High Street (London), reflects on the concept of boundaries and the role that city walls play as elements of separation between what is civilized and what is out of the ordinary.

The exhibition involves artists who through their practices question human identity and beyond, such as, for example, Ambra Castagnetti, whose attempt to redefine the relationship with the body and the living beings around us is expressed through sculptures and installations that suggest a metamorphosis achieved through catharsis and active personification.  The monologue Hey, a true stream of consciousness of artificial intelligence, to which Gianna Rubini submitted and recorded series of questions, is a perfect testament to the possibilities offered and future developments that technology subjects humans to. Again, the work of a digital nature presented by Hawazin Al-Otaibi and Agostino Quaranta or Proposal, by Paolo Bufalini, an interesting installation involving the activation of two pillows that simulate a regular and potentially infinite movement, similar to human breathing, testify to the increasingly interdisciplinary relationship between nature, postcolonial boundaries and posthuman theories.

Edoardo Durante

a paradise for the smiling alligators
26/06/2022 – 03/07/2022
Parco delle mura urbiche
Piazzetta dei Peruzzi, 18, 73100 – Lecce – Apulia

a paradise for the smiling alligators, installation view, 2022, Lecce, Parco delle Mura Urbiche, bastione ovest. Photo courtesy Crates Design

Ambra Castagnetti, Satyricon (serie), 2021, installation view, Photo courtesy Crates Design

Jakob Rowlinson, The first time he touched me, almost all the dandelion seeds had gone, 2021, installation view, Photo courtesy Crates Design


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