From 12 May to 25 July 2021, Parco dei Daini and Carlo Bilotti Museum in Rome will host the second edition of Back to Nature, the first coordinated project of contemporary art installations set up in the park of Villa Borghese. Promoted by the Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali and curated by Costantino D’Orazio, it collaborates with the Santa Cecilia Conservatory of Music for the program of musical performances scheduled for the opening period. The success of the first edition, held in autumn 2020, underlines the renewed and widespread interest in contemporary art, but also the need to enrich the community’s relationship with the historical and natural heritage through contemporary forays that can suggest new ideas, reflections and uses. A strategy for the enhancement of the city that passes through art and which should be considered an opportunity for contemporary art to make itself known to a wider audience and for the city to charge itself with unprecedented meanings in the difficult attempt to pursue the complexity of reality.
Back to Nature intercepts the trend that today sees the public become more and more interested in art when it leaves its traditional containers, such as museums, institutional headquarters and galleries, to relate to urban and/or natural space. The installations are designed to be exhibited outdoors, meet the park’s visitors and build a new relationship with its elements. Some establish it with the ground, the trees, the water and the sky, others relate with the architectures that are used as scenography for the occasion. Thus, for artists and visitors, the interpretation of the relationship between art, nature and architecture becomes meaningful. The festival allows the visitor to rediscover the park and the park to find a new and unexpected, albeit temporary, identity. The invasion of urban space offers art the opportunity to meet the observer in an unexpected way (for the latter) and to surprise him, insinuating itself silently, in this case, into his day, managing to intercept a heterogeneous and sometimes disinterested in contemporary art.
Artists are led to express themselves outside the inflated and aseptic white cube: they were asked to think of site specific works, in which it is not allowed to neglect the context, but on the contrary it is necessary to consider it, empathizing with it, making it protagonist, or knowingly ignoring it or even entering into open contradiction with it. Back to Nature does not move on the level of easy provocation, spectacularity or strong contrast, but in the search for continuity and harmony with nature, sensitivity to current events and the social, expressing itself through a contemporary language. A festival that in future editions, it is hoped, will conquer space and international prominence, invading other areas of the park itself and the city and even those Tiber walls that happily hosted the murals of the south african artist William Kentridge in 2016.
Among the invited artists Loris Cecchini with Arborexence, consisting of 350 steel elements, artificially extends the crown of a tree, multiplying its upward movement and the reflection of light. Leandro Erlich with Window & Ladder offers us a surreal spectacle: a suspended window opens onto an unknown dimension, accessible via a metal staircase. Playing on the concept of limit, he invites the viewer to question the space that surrounds him. Giuseppe Gallo with Eroi, sculptures similar to chairs with trembling and slender legs, inspired by the shapes of the plant world, makes us reflect at the same time on the fragility and strength of contemporary heroes. Staccando l’ombra da terra # 1 e # 2 by Marzia Migliora is an interactive sound work, which draws inspiration from a cycle of meetings between the artist and a group of women in prison, in which steel organ pipes are arranged to reproduce the bars of the cells.
Migrante by Pietro Ruffo is a drawn figure of man, a metaphor of hope, which emerged from the water and traced in the air, lost in the burnished green of the trees. Assembly by Marinella Senatore reproduces a stage which, inspired by the drawings of the lights, quotes Samuel Beckett: “Dance First, Think Later”, inviting participation. Tomas Saraceno is present with the digital project How to hear the universe in a spider / web: a live concert for / by invertebrate rights which allows those who find and photograph a spider inside the park to access the concert enriched by sound samples of the universe in dialogue with the structures of the cobwebs. Michelangelo Pistoletto will be the protagonist of the installation that will be present from mid-June in Piazza di Siena which will see 100 benches adopted by donors willing to form the symbol of the Terzo Paradiso.
Extension of the Back to Nature Festival is the Arte e Natura exhibition inside the Carlo Bilotti Museum – Orangery in Villa Borghese curated by Antonia Arconti, Ileana Pansino and Daniela Vasta which investigates the relationship between these two major themes by proposing a selection of works that come from the Capitoline collection and go through the whole of the twentieth century to the present day. Among the artists involved: Gianfranco Baruchello, Alfredo Jaar, Olivo Barbieri, Maria Lai, Giulio Turcato and Renato Mambor. There is also a small section of video art dedicated to water, the protagonist of the debate in defense of the environment.
Giuseppe Gallo, Eroi, 2006. Foto Vittoria Silvaggi
Leandro Erlich, Window and Ladder – Città Eterna. Foto Vittoria Silvaggi
Marinella Senatore, Assembly, 2021. Foto Vittoria Silvaggi
Marzia Migliora, Staccando l’ombra da terra, 2021. Foto Vittoria Silvaggi