Neither Nor: The challenge to the Labyrinth Italian Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 11 May – 24 November 2019
Neither Nor: The challenge to the Labyrinth is the title of the exhibition, curated by Milovan Farronato, in which three important Italian artists took part, presenting new works along with ones from the past: Enrico David (Ancona, 1966), Chiara Fumai (Rome, 1978 – Bari, 2017) and Liliana Moro (Milan, 1961).
The subtitle of the project alludes to “La sfida al labirinto” (“The Challenge to the Labyrinth”) a seminal essay written by Italo Calvino in 1962 that has been the inspiration for Neither Nor. In this text the author proposed a cultural work open to all possible languages and that felt itself co-responsible in the construction of a world which, having lost its traditional points of reference, no longer asked to be merely represented. To visualize the intricate forms of contemporary reality, Calvino turned to the vivid metaphor of the labyrinth: an apparent maze of lines and tendencies that is in reality constructed on the basis of strict rules. Interpreting this line of thought in an artistic key, Neither Nor – whose Italian title, Né altra Né questa, already used the rhetorical figure of the anastrophe to disorientate – gave agency to a project of ‘challenge to the labyrinth’ that took Calvino’s lesson on board by staging an exhibition whose layout was not linear and could not be reduced to a set of tidy and predictable trajectories. Many generous journeys and interpretations were offered to the public, whom the exhibition entrusted with the chance to take on an active role in determining the route they would take and thereby find themselves confronted with the result of their own choices, accepting doubt and uncertainty as inescapable parts of understanding.
The calendar of cultural events included a series of talks; with the participation of the artists Enrico David and Liliana Moro, and the philosopher Federico Campagna. The filmmaker Anna Franceschini was entrusted with the documentation of the exhibition, which took the form of an experimental short film with the title Bustrofedico (‘Boustrophedon’). Produced by In Between Art Film and Gluck50, it was shown in Venice at the end of the exhibition. A programme of educational activities aimed at the young students of academies and dance schools, promoted by The Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity and Urban Regeneration of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, was also organised. The programme, curated by Milovan Farronato, Stella Bottai and Lavinia Filippi, was held in the spaces of the Italian Pavilion, at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and at Bauer Hotel.
The Italian Pavilion was realised also with the support of Gucci and FPT Industrial, main sponsors of the exhibition, and the contribution of the main donor Nicoletta Fiorucci Russo. Special thanks also go to all the other donors, whose names appear in the credits section, for their fundamental contributions to the project; we are grateful as well to the technical sponsors Gemmo, C&C-Milano and Select Aperitivo.
Milovan Farronato Curator Italian Pavilion Borgonovo Val Tidone (Piacenza), 1973. He lives and works between Milan and London.
Milovan Farronato is director and curator of the Fiorucci Art Trust, for which he developed the Roadside Picnic itinerant artists’ residence project and, since 2011, the annual festival Volcano Extravaganza, originally located on Stromboli and then transferred first to Naples in 2017 and after that to Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2018. With Paulina Olowska he organized the symposium Mycorial Theatre, held in 2014 at Rabka, Poland, and in 2016 in São Paulo, Brazil. He has collaborated with the Serpentine Galleries on the Magazine Sessions (2016).
Farronato conceived The violent No!, part of the public programme of the 14th Istanbul Biennial in 2015. From 2005 to 2012 Farronato was director of the Viafarini non-profit organization and curator at the Documentation Centre for Visual Arts (DOCVA) in Milan.
From 2006 to 2010 he was associate curator of the Galleria Civica in Modena and, from 2008 to 2015, lecturer in Visual Culture at the claDEM department of IUAV University.
The exhibitions he has curated include: Nightfall, with Fernanda Brenner and Erika Verzutti, Mendes Wood DM, Brussels (2018); Nick Mauss, Illuminated Window, La Triennale and Torre Velasca, Milan (2017); Lucy McKenzie’s first solo exhibition in Italy, La Kermesse Héroïque at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice (2017); Si Sedes Non Is at The Breeder Gallery, Athens (2017); Prediction at Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo (2016); Peter Doig’s solo exhibition at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice (2015); Christodoulos Panayiotou’s solo exhibition at the Kaleidoscope Project Space, Milan (2014) and Arimortis at the Museo del Novecento, Milan (2013), co-curated with Roberto Cuoghi.
Milovan Farronato was a member of the team of curators of the 4th Dhaka Art Summit and sits on the Development Committee of the Chisenhale Gallery in London.