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The Fifth Season. A future visible from above

The Fifth Season. A future visible from above

After a long time, the Cistern of Santa Maria di Castello in Genoa breathes Contemporary Art and does so in a completely natural way, thanks to the concept of La Quinta Stagione (The Fifth Season) conceived by curator Benedetta Spagnuolo and thanks to the creation of visual works that tell it. The space is located inside a large convent complex consisting of the Church of Santa Maria di Castello, the Convent and the Cloisters, a vast set of volumes that develops close to the port area of the Molo and occupies the top of a hilly area of ancient settlement. The Cistern is located, specifically, under the third cloister and at the time it was used for the collection of rainwater which the convent was equipped with, dates back to the 9th century and was built with recycled materials, as evidenced by fragments of Roman columns that we find inside.

The theme releases a sense of flourishing, a return to life in this difficult period that we are experiencing and gives the observer angles of time and space that go beyond reality, which open up new inner and internalized horizons.

The concept of the Fifth Season was also used in the past by the singer-songwriter Cristina Donà in her fifth album in 2007 and so did the directors Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth in 2012, with their homonymous film in the original language, La Cinquième Saison to which this project seems to be inspired more closely, a small masterpiece that perhaps cannot be considered a real film with its sense of unhealthy that the two directors transmitted to us, with the disturbing force of a certain “relentless” cinema of the great north, like the Dreyer in Dies Irae and Giovanna d’Arco, and the more extreme and gloomy Bergman in the Seventh Seal, of Shame and Silence.

In fact, this exhibition shows a return to the past, always looking with an eye to the future and above all seeing a hypothetical Fifth Season as a solution and resolution to an imperfect present from which we would like to escape. This time game leads us to reflect on our time; thinking about restless time because investigating it means, in the end, investigating life and its mystery, every day we fight it with different tools and not just with watches: the quality of our life and the conservation of nature are particularly influenced by one’s own relationship with time. In this exhibion it was decided to express this reflection too, trying to sensitize our modern culture in some way, which through a search for harmony with life, fails to re-establish that idea of ​​evasive time that our human time grants with the other rhythms.

Entering the Cistern headquarters we immediately notice the ceiling with large vaults that contain, like a magic box, works of various techniques, painting, photography, installation and video. The works interact exactly with the space, as if they were part of the structure itself, and alternating with different colors and sizes, give dynamism and movement to each ashy wall. We move in these spaces surrounded by the sounds of nature (the noises of the wind, the leaves of the trees, the flowing water) with a highly immersive experience that will indelibly approach the visual one throughout the exhibition.

On the left wall we find the first artist Giovanna Sposato who, with her microworlds, welcomes us in a completely natural and spontaneous way inside the room; to follow, the work of vertical momentum and great symbolism by Fabiana Lualdi; alongside the triptych by Sonia Andreani, a mixed media work where the concept of primitive is evident thanks to the linear sign and the use of materials such as jute; and again the four works on canvas by Chiara Trevisan, digital collages full of elements connected to the historical period we are living through; and finally on the first side the work by Lodovico Leonetti which refers to a classical painting, however having strong contemporary components.

On the front wall we find instead the diptych by LuluX, a work linked to his own land, Sicily, where the canvases welcome the lapilli of the volcano, here La Quinta Stagione is seen as an explosion of life; next to it we see the large canvases by Valerio Murri, with cold but not glacial shades, which clearly cancel the real seasons and bring us closer to completely idealized seasons; then the small, highly sensitive photographs by Beatrix Kittens, here the reference to femininity is clear (the roses, the branches) as if the season she wanted us to notice was seen as a reaction against violence; the three great works in oil on paper by Salvo Bonfiglio are then approached, closely linked to the idea of ​​family and also, if more hidden, to that of rebellion, in fact he also paints a mask with the appearance of a pig; last work on the front wall is the wire sculpture by Elena Chimenti, a head supported by a hand, the hand of nature (given the fabric green leaves), and inside the head a key, the help of nature in this case seems the only possible foothold for a revival of a Fifth Season.

Silhouetted on the wall on the right we find the works of Annamaria Gagliardi, two great mixed techniques in soft colors that recall the departure of the summer season to arrive to a new season; following the two canvases by Giovanni Ignazzi where a suspended atmosphere tell timeless solitudes; and the installation by Silvia Ottobrini, made of a central mannequin and two side wall sculptures (two hands respectively), full of symbolism is linked to memory and the concept of woman, where the Fifth Season is represented by a past period rather than future; after Federico Pisciotta with his paintings linked to “elements and allegories that reveal, with irony, the precariousness of human existence consumed by daily habits”, as the curator herself says; after all, the three works by Antonella Santonocito who see a new season on the horizon thanks to the experience and the memory of past moments.

On the last wall of the Cistern, Matteo Dei‘s photographs tell of hope and dreams through images that crystallize “the simple things” of our daily actions; and then the work by Massimiliano Manenti, entitled Uscita dal Terzo Millennio, describes exactly the thought of the exhibition, a race to get out of this bad historical moment; finally, two mixed techniques by Giovanna Licciardello, one of the two entitled Earth from space, offers the observer a new way of perceiving the seasons out of this world, where the view from above seems the only real hope.

The exhibition closes with the video installed on a monitor by Alessandra Zorzi, entitled The dream of reason, here the title paraphrases Goya: “The sleep of reason generates monsters.” It is an animation about absurdity, war, intolerance, fanaticism and even misunderstanding; here the new season is probably seen as an invitation to renew a new point of view beyond the addiction of raw images.

After visiting and experiencing the exhibition, we return to “our time” with the sensation of a renewal of thought, perhaps more hopeful than a concrete and not only imaginary rebirth, where the Fifth Season is no longer just a mental space for the artist, but finally something that becomes real.

Francesco Arena
19 Novembre 2021

Info:

LA QUINTA STAGIONE (The Fifth Season)
group show
curated by Benedetta Spagnuolo
11 – 20 November 2021
Cisterna di Santa Maria di Castello – Via Santa Maria di Castello, n. 27 – Genova
Everyday H. 15:00 – 18:00
Free entry
Organizer: ARTISTI ITALIANI – arti visive e promozione
Patronages: Regione Liguria e Comune di Genova
Mediapartner: GOA Magazine

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La Quinta Stagione, Cisterna di S.M. di Castello, GE – Installation view. Photo Credits Francesco Arena. Courtesy Artisti Italiani-arti visive e promozione

Artwork by Alessandra Zorzi, La Quinta Stagione, Cisterna di S.M. di Castello – GE. Photo Credits Francesco Arena. Courtesy Artisti Italiani-arti visive e promozione

Chiara TrevisanArtwork by Chiara Trevisan, La Quinta Stagione, Cisterna di S.M. di Castello – GE. Photo Credits Francesco Arena. Courtesy Artisti Italiani-arti visive e promozione

Artwork by Giovanna Sposato, La Quinta Stagione, Cisterna di S.M. di Castello – GE. Photo Credits Francesco Arena. Courtesy Artisti Italiani-arti visive e promozione

Artwork by Silvia Ottobrini, La Quinta Stagione, Cisterna di S.M. di Castello – GE. Photo Credits Francesco Arena. Courtesy Artisti Italiani-arti visive e promozione

Artwork by Sonia Andreani, La Quinta Stagione, Cisterna di S.M. di Castello - GE. Photo Credits Francesco Arena. Courtesy Artisti Italiani-arti visive e promozioneArtwork by Sonia Andreani, La Quinta Stagione, Cisterna di S.M. di Castello – GE. Photo Credits Francesco Arena. Courtesy Artisti Italiani-arti visive e promozione

La Quinta Stagione, Cisterna di S.M. di Castello, GE – Installation view. Photo Credits Francesco Arena. Courtesy Artisti Italiani-arti visive e promozione


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