Conversation Piece | Part VII
Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, Benedikt Hipp, Apolonia Sokol
The Fondazione Memmo presents Conversation Piece | Part VII, the start of a new exhibition cycle curated by Marcello Smarrelli, which is dedicated to Italian and foreign artists who are either temporarily residing in Rome or who have a special relationship with the city.
The exhibition features Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys (a Belgian duo), Benedikt Hipp (Rome Prize Fellow at the German Academy Rome Villa Massimo) and Apolonia Sokol (currently an artist-in-residence at Villa Medici – the French Academy in Rome).
The series of exhibitions entitled Conversation Piece tells a story in chapters addressing various different aspects of the critical debate as regards contemporary art, including the broader history of art as well as more topical issues, and the artists are invited to engage in an open discourse between each other and the curator.
Towards Narragonia is the title of this, the seventh chapter of Conversation Piece. It refers to “Das Narrenschiff” or the Ship of Fools, by the Alsatian humanist and satirist Sebastian Brant, the first edition of which was published in 1494 and illustrated by Albrecht Dürer. This satiric poem tells the fantastic story of a ship crammed with madmen, on its voyage to Narragonia, the fools’ paradise or Land of Cockaigne – a place of abundance and utopian delights – culminating in the tragic epilogue in which the ship is wrecked.
The works of the three artists invited to exhibit their work in Towards Narragonia will explore the theme of madness as a source of inspiration for artistic creativity, as well as the attraction exercised upon artists by everything that is different, strange and perturbing. If it is true that art is able to overturn or derange prevailing customs, ideas and opinions, disorienting us and forcing us to reflect on our existential condition, then it must also be true that the unprecedentedly alienating times in which we now live can in some way be considered as “artistic”.