Terrazza: Artists, Histories, Places in Italy in the 2000s


Terrazza: Artists, Histories, Places in Italy in the 2000s, by Laura Barreca, Andrea Lissoni, Luca Lo Pinto and Costanza Paissan

You can find it on amazon USA

Publisher RIzzoli writes: What’s hot and what will be hot in contemporary art in Italy. This book explores various aspects of art in Italy from 2000 through 2010: production centers, benchmark exhibitions, the major artistic developments that often contributed to extending if not shifting the domains of art, and the leading Italian artists in recent generations. The story is mainly told through images. In the first part of the book, they describe the more vital energies in artistic culture in Italy. The second part is devoted instead to the analysis of the work of sixty artists who have emerged during the last ten years or have in some way shaped and informed the development of art through their work.The Quadriennale di Roma has selected some of the most brilliant young curators in Italy as contributors: Laura Barreca, Andrea Lissoni, Luca Lo Pinto, and Costanza Paissan. The choice reflects a vision that starts from the phenomena that affected the production of art in Italy in recent years, and then moves on to the individual artists.


Michelangelo Frammartino, Alberi

Terrazza starts with the transcript of a fascinating chat between the 4 editors of the volume in which they attempt to delineate the challenges, flaws and idiosyncrasies of the Italian art scene: the political interference in the running of museums, the dynamism of cultural actors who chose to bypass the usual institutions and open non-profit and self-run spaces, the important role played by magazines in Italy, the pitiful interest for new media art, etc. This definitely sound like the Italy i know!

Right after that come some 200 pages that map out over 150 organizations and realities that produce, present and use art: the fondazioni, the galleries, the magazines, online networks, artist run space, collective workshop, research groups, festivals, museums, grants, awards, education centers, milestone exhibitions, non-profit organisations, free press publications, art residency projects, cultural production centers, etc. The origin, activity and essence of each ‘place’ is summed up efficiently into a single paragraph. The chapter is dense and informative.

The last part is dedicated to 60 artists who, due to the continuity and quality of their work, appear to embody the new impulses, directions and submovements in young Italian art (some of these artists were born in the 1970s so don’t take the adjective ‘young’ too literally.) Like most of you, i’ve seen my fair share of young Italian art (and maybe a bit more since i’m based in Italy at the moment) and it is exciting to see some of its most engaging protagonists presented together in a book. You start to detect threads and trends: the fresh perspective on the traumas of the country’s most recent history (the mafia, the violence of the Years of Lead, etc.), the quiet sense of humour, the desire to produce more action than political rhetoric, the new methods, etc.


Arcangelo Sassolino, Afasia 2, 2008

Terrazza is a brave book. Mostly because of the challenge of pinpointing the most important and interesting artists of a decade that is still so close in time. It is a brave but also an energizing and necessary book. You will or will not agree with the selection of artists (i for one am VERY happy with it) but i think that the authors did a great job at communicating their enthusiasm for young Italian art.

I also very much liked the design of the book. It evokes the one of a magazine that wants to be a bit less didactic and a bit more chaotic. With lots of photos, simple typography and a text that goes straight to the point (though i did spot a bit of art speak lingo here and there.)

The one thing i’m missing is a map. I would have loved to see how the spaces and places discussed in the book are distributed on the map of the country. It would also mean that i could use the book as a guide before visiting a particular Italian city.

I wrote above that i was pretty satisfied with the selection of artists. A quick look at the works below will help you understand why:


Eva and Franco Mattes, Perpetual Self Dis/Infecting Machine, custom made computer infected with Biennale.py

Biennale.py is a computer virus Eva and Franco Mattes created – with hackers group Epidemic – released on the night of the opening of the 49th Venice Biennale.


Laboratorio Saccardi, Casa AUT

Laboratorio Saccardi organized a group exhibition at the former residence of the Sicilian Mafia boss Don Tano Badalamenti in Cinisi, near Palermo.

Badalamenti was one of the mafiosi behind the Pizza Connection, a drug traffic scheme that distributed heroin and cocaine in the United States, and then laundered the cash using pizza parlors before sending it back to the suppliers in Sicily. Don Tano is also remembered for having ordered the murder of Giuseppe Impastato, a young activist who criticised local mafiosi and denounced their business on the free radio RADIO AUT. Badalamenti died in 2004 and his house is now owned by the state. It is empty and it remains an important symbol for Cinisi, Sicily and Italy. Laboratorio Saccardi used art as an instrument to breathe new life into the house and to signal the will to fight ignorance and oppression.


Rossella Biscotti, Le teste in oggetto. Installation view, Nomas Foundation, Rome. Photo: Ela Bialkowska

As often, Rossella Biscotti used archive material to investigate the relationship between artistic creation and historical context. During her research at the EUR in Rome, the artist discovered five bronze busts of Vittorio Emanuele III and Benito Mussolini, made for the 1942 World’s Fair which was cancelled because of WWII. As a consequence, the heads were never shown. Biscotti exhibited the head for the first time ever at the Nomas Foundation.


Danilo Correale, The future in Their Hands

Danilo Correale asked an Indian palm reader to decipher the personalities of six leading chairmen of banks. The palm reader had to use pictures of their hands, which had been shot while they were taking an oath during a public trial – a sardonic twist on philosopher and economist Adam Smith’s metaphor for the self-regulation of markets (the ‘invisible hands’) as well as on the limits of interpretation.


Flavio Favelli, Cerimonia (India Hotel 870), Bologna, 2007-2010. Courtesy: Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Photo: Dario Lasagni

On 27 June 1980, the Bologna-Palermo place DC-9 Flavio Favelli fell into the sea causing the death of 81 passengers. The disaster led to numerous investigations and to much speculation. Two years ago, Italy’s top criminal court ruled that there was “abundantly” clear evidence that the flight was brought down by a ‘stray’ missile. Flavio Favelli commemorated the event (which also caused the end of private Italian airline Itavia) with an Airtex cloth that would have wrapped the plane as if it were still brand new. The work was exhibited on piazza Maggiore and on piazza VIII Agosto in Bologna in June 2010 to mark the 30th anniversary of the tragic event.


Michael Fliri, All Right… All Right, 2007


Alberto Tadielo, AMADABLAM, Installation at T293 Rome, May 23 – June 30 2014


Francesco Arena, 3,24 mq

3,24 mq is a 1:1 scale reproduction of the cell where former Prime Minister of Italy Aldo Moro spent the last fifty-five days of his life as a prisoner of the Brigate Rosse in 1978.

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Rosa Barba, Time as Perspective, 2012

Photo on the homepage: Arcangelo Sassolino, Elisa, 2012.