curated by Cristiana Perrella
On Thursday 7 November the Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci will inaugurate بيت Bayt, the first retrospective exhibition on the work of filmmaker Mario Rizzi in a public museum in Italy.
The exhibition takes its name from the homonymous BAYT (“home” in Arabic), which started with Al Intithar (The Waiting, 2013), continued with Kauther (2014) and concluded with The Little Lantern. The project is created for the occasion with the support of the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity and Urban Regeneration of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism under the Italian Council program (4th edition, 2018), in collaboration with Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL); Salt, Istanbul (TR) and Helsinki Art Museum, Helsinki (FI). The work will become a permanent part of the Centro Pecci’s collection.
The entire trilogy helps to provide a sensitive, deep and complex vision of issues such as female identity in the Arab world, the concept of home and uprooting, and the driving forces between innovation and conservation that have traversed and traverse the Mediterranean.
The last film in the trilogy The Little Lantern, starring three women from Syria, Tunisia and Lebanon, tells the story of Anni Kanafani, a testimony to the energy and utopia of a Danish woman who is now 84 years old. Kanafani's story starts in the Sixties when, due to her love for an important writer, poet and Palestinian activist, Ghassan Kanafani, she decided to move to the refugee camps in Lebanon. After the death of her husband, who was assassinated together with his niece Lamis, Anni Kanafani pursued the dream of justice and integration.
Mario Rizzi's film is named after a fairy tale that Ghassan Kanafani wrote for his niece, The Little Lantern, which uses a metaphor to describe the creation of a grassroots democracy, for a “Palestinian spring” that overcomes the barriers of the refugee camps and indifference through non-violence, dialogue and culture.
In addition to the trilogy, the exhibition includes other photographic and film productions by Mario Rizzi which trace a path through his career of over twenty years. The project fits in with the Centro Pecci's attention to topics and artistic practices capable of understanding the current historical moment in its complexity, offering a critical voice that can help to interpret today’s global socio-cultural dynamics, starting with those that run through the city of Prato itself.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue that documents and critically analyses the trilogy, inserting it into the broader framework of Mario Rizzi's artistic career.
The film The Little Lantern will be part of a programme of screenings in the museums collaborating with the Centro Pecci in this initiative, the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (Netherlands), the Salt in Istanbul (Turkey) and the HAM in Helsinki (Finland). The three institutions were invited to participate by focusing on the topics proposed by the work produced and the differences in the region and audience where it will be shown, thereby enriching the debate with new points for reflection on the themes of identity and belonging.
Mario Rizzi (Barletta, Italia,1962) lives and works in Berlin. Starting with the concept of border, above all in relation to the question of identity and sense of belonging, Mario Rizzi’s work deals with lives on the margins, concentrating on collective memories and individual stories that are often forgotten or unspoken. Over the last twenty years his films and photographs have mainly focused on the Middle East and the topic of migration. His works have been exhibited at art institutions and film festivals, including: The Tunisian Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition - the Venice Biennale (2017), Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, (2016); MAXXI, Rome (2015), MoMA PS1, New York (2014); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2008), 6th Taipei Biennale; Tate Modern, London (2007); 9th Istanbul Biennale (2005); MART, Rovereto (2004); 14th Sydney Biennale (2004). In 2012 Rizzi won the Production Program Award of the Sharjah Art Foundation (United Arab Emirates), in 2005 the Best Artist Prize at the 7th Sharjah Biennale and in 2004 the Mulliqi prize in Kosovo. His films were selected for the official competition of the Berlin Film Festival (2008 and 2013), the International Film Festival of Ankara (2015 and 2016) that of Dubai in 2013. In 2016 he was on the panel of the 4th International Film Festival of Duhok in Iraqi Kurdistan and the 27th International Film Festival of Ankara. His works can be found in prestigious public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
08.11.2019 — 15.03.2020
Thursday November 7, 6.30 pm
Mario Rizzi, Idomeni Untitled #3, 2016
Courtesy the artist
Viale della Repubblica, 277, 59100 Prato PO, Italia