Exhibitions

Travelling and meeting different cultures as a way of finding one’s own identity, through the mirror of diversity, has been expected from visual artists for longer than we normally think.From the XVI to the XVIII century Italian cities (specially Rome and Florence) were supposed to be the best places for artists to travel to, where to spend months or years copying from antique models and getting acquainted with the most recent artistic trends. In XIX century and until the Sixties Paris became the place to be, with most of the new art movements being started here, and attracting an accordingly large numbers of artists from the whole world, to be followed by New York in the Seventies and Eighties.

In an age of multipolar development and multicultural societies there are no clear cut centres to take the lead. The art process itself has changed, and the role of models in art making is much less appreciated or cared for, at least at a conscious level. The main art cities attract of course large communities of international artists, but the accent is rather on the diversity of the individual art scenes, which are appreciated in their individuality and specific values. Some of the most interesting art works are indeed being created in peripheric locations and have a very hybrid parentage. Artists – specially young ones – are on the move, and welcome travelling to different cultures as a way of experiencing different life styles and questioning accepted values.

The accent is more on the movement than on the stay : long term, year-long residences are not accessible or attractive to many young artists for various reasons, whereas shorter stays of months or weeks are increasingly common and have come to be accepted as an indispensable “rite of passage” in the career of (almost) any self respecting young artist. Artists’ mobility has become a priority that many art institutions cherish and cater for. Artists themselves welcome any interesting chance of getting out of their studios and circles to meet.. what? The large world outside. The deep aspiration of many artists to escape the narrowness of the art ghettos – as contemporary art increasingly cut itself out of mainstream society – seems to be fulfilled, or at least attenuated, by full immersion in the everyday of different cultures. So the artists turn into self-taught urban ethnographers and leave to explore – usually with irony and critical detachment, but often with participation and enthusiasm too – the uses and customs of the visited cities, be they a few hundred kilometres from their own city, or on the other side of the world.

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