Rome and Contemporary Art: an Incisive Dialogue
Many have tried to frame Rome, to place it in a specific point in time or space, to define it. We know that this is not only impossible, but also that this is not meant to be.
Par Tibi Roma Nihil (“As you Rome, nothing”) is a contemporary art exhibition that takes place in the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and that involves performance, dance, theater in symbolic places of Rome, from the Domus Severiana, to the Stadio Palatino of Domitian, and from the Domus Augustana to the Meta Sudans.
An idea of Monique Veaute, curated by Raffaella Frascarelli and realized in partnership with Nomas Foundation (Rome) and Electa, Par Tibi Roma Nihil presents the artworks from the Nomas collection. Three among the 27 artists on show (Jannis Kounellis, Kapwani Kiwanga, Nico Vascellari, Marinella Senatore) have produced on site installations: Karen Attia in the peristyle of the Domus Augustana, Daniel Buren on the Arcate Severiane; and Sislej Xhafa, with a fountain in front of the Colosseum.
A precious opportunity for Rome, the show managed to shape itself on an enormous to excel on using an enormous potential springboard – a springboard only Rome can offer: the harmonic combination between the ancient and contemporary. PTRN is then a small mirror of the city, a unique overlapping of several layers of history and cultures, of times and spaces, without hiding anything. Its own vitality has always been this coexistence. Sometimes it is disorienting and makes tourists laugh; other times, lit by the sunset, it makes everyone reconcile.
However, when this coexistence is the result of contemporary arts, it is often debated. But this does nothing but allow the expansion of the cultural discourse which is deeply related to the city itself. Many have tried to frame Rome, to place it in a specific point in time or space, to define it. We know that this is not only impossible, but also that this is not meant to be. It is possible, instead, to reflect on the beauty of its continuous transformation. And only art can show this to us.
Rome has a non-urbanity, but, at the same time, it knows how to re-create and re-use itself.
This show tries, at times, to evoke the grandeur of Rome’s monuments, such as in the huge, provocative, yet thoughtful word-installations of Marko Lulić (a contemporary monumentum to the antiquity) and Piero Golia. And this is very effective.
The exhibition works as its cultural aim is clear from the beginning: the keywords reported in the panels show us how every artwork reiterates a cultural or historical topic, which is deeply analyzed and which strengthens the anthropological bond between the ancient world and contemporary society. PTRN does not aim at contemplation nor at a sterile historicism, but becomes a real cultural project that reveals itself gradually to the citizens, particularly international citizen: the cives. The Roman setting and history are, in fact, just the background of a wider dialogue towards a multitude of cultures: from the Chinese and Indian to the Hebraic, and from the ancient Egyptian and African to the Celtic.
Finally, we have an exhibition that does not give us a definition of contemporary art as a “saving alternative” to the ancient, a heritage semi-abandoned by institutions and cultural policies, but as its own natural evolution, which, acting as an anthropological discipline, must speak to and confront with the eternal social and cultural structures of Rome.
Par tibi, Roma, nihil
June 23rd – October 23rd 2016
Via di San Gregorio 30, Rome
Open daily from 8.15am to 6.15pm (closing at 7.15pm)