No disciplinary or geographical boundaries in the ...

No disciplinary or geographical boundaries in the spaces of Palazzo Collicola in Spoleto

Once again Palazzo Collicola shows its contemporary and international vocation, thanks to a seasonal program, opened on 11 November 2023, including two solo shows and an installation by artists from different areas of the globe. They are Calixto Ramírez, Petra Feriancová and Francis Offman, respectively from Mexico, Slovakia and Rwanda. Three events developed in close relationship with the identity of the museum and of the town, which are therefore well integrated with the selection of drawings by the Spoleto sculptor Leoncillo, which completes the cultural proposal. Despite their stylistic and conceptual diversity, the works by Ramírez, Feriancová and Offman orbit around the human being, conceived, according to each case, as “measure of all things”, as transitory being, in its historical dimension.

Calixto Ramírez, “Da Monterrey a Monteluco”. View of the exhibition at Palazzo Collicola, Spoleto, 2023. Photography by Giuliano Vaccai. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Alessandra Bonomo, Roma

On the ground floor, “From Monterrey to Monteluco” is the solo show by Calixto Ramírez, curated by Saverio Verini and promoted by Galleria Alessandra Bonomo. The project focuses on the artist’s experience, both because the whole show is based on a residency he spent near Spoleto, in a hermitage in Monteluco, and because Ramírez’s physical presence is part of his video and photographic works. His actions in natural environment, where the body is the measure unit, display the attempt to unify with landscape, simulating the shape of the vegetal elements of the Monteluco forest, in an eco-centric perspective. The union with nature is also present in many installation works and is inspired by the way of life of hermits. It is precisely hermitism, indeed, that is investigated in several works included in the exhibition.

Petra Feriancová, “Eternity, her responsive body and others stories. Algae”, 2023. Three glass and iron aquariums containing water, environmental dimensions. Photography by Giuliano Vaccai. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Gilda Lavia, Roma

On the Noble Floor, Petra Feriancová interacts with the characteristics of a 18th-century environment, establishing with it a strong synergy, made of dialogues and ruptures, thanks to sculptural and installation works. The exhibition ‘Eternity, her responsive body and other stories’, curated by Tiago de Abreu Pinto and Davide Silvioli, with the support of the Slovak Arts Council and Gilda Lavia Gallery, defines as an articulated narrative concerning the topics of time and transience, between eternity and vanitas. The artist embodies that typically Baroque European feeling of anguish arising from the transience of life through reference to the still life genre and the use of emblematic materials such as skulls, amaranth flowers and marble inscriptions. In particular, one of these, echoing the contents of the project, recites that tomorrow only ruins will remain of mankind history and that the world will go on anyway, even professing a critical approach to anthropocentrism.

Francis Offman, “Untitled”, 2022. Acrylic, coffee grounds, Bologna chalk on cotton, cm. 385 x 220 cm; 25 books with coffee grounds on the cover, 1 Bible, 1 French grammar manual, 81 gauges, installation, variable dimensions. Installation view at Palazzo Collicola, Spoleto, 2023. Photography by Giuliano Vaccai. Courtesy the artist and P420, Bologna

The topic of memory is also basic in the intervention “Untitled” (2022) by Francis Offman, made thanks to the P420 gallery and located in front of the Carandente Library, with which the work builds a metaphorical relationship. The work, reformulating objects ascribed to Rwanda’s colonial past, consists of a series of books constricted by gauges and coated with coffee powder. This envelops their covers, except for two texts: a Bible translated into Kinyarwanda and a French grammar manual, so the country’s indigenous language and the one imposed by Belgian colonialism. If it is true – mentioning Harold Pinter – that “the tragedy of humanity is not being able to understand the language of the other and imposing with violence the language of the strongest”, Offman with his intervention tries a reconciliation with a collective and individual memory injured by History, in view of a future made up of books yet to be written.

Leoncillo Leonardi, Drawings from the collection. View of the exhibition at Palazzo Collicola, Spoleto, 2023. Photography by Giuliano Vaccai

Concerning Leoncillo, finally, we can appreciate how the artist, despite the two-dimensionality of the support, was able to render the material entity of sculpture, perceptible in iconic elements of his language, such as the tree and the Saint Sebastian. All exhibitions are open to the public until 11 March.

Valeria De Siero


Petra Feriancová. Eternity, her responsive body and other stories
Calixto Ramìrez. Da Monterrey a Monteluco
Francis Offman. Senza titolo
Leoncillo. Disegni dall collezione
11/11/2023 – 11/04/2024
Palazzo Collicola
Piazza Collicola 1, Spoleto (PG)


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