Viaggio in Italia

Viaggio in Italia / 2013

An exhibition by students of Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig and invited artists


Photos by Nicolas Reichelt

The Idea

The idea for the exhibition project “Viaggio in Italia / Italian Journey” follows a micro-historical approach. It focuses the field of our artistic confrontation onto a geographically limited territory, sharpening within its expansion, politically and socially relevant issues of our post-industrially influenced era. The exhibition preceded a joint study trip with about 20 students from the classes of Alba D’Urbano and Tina Bara to an area between Tivoli and Rome. The exhibition concept aims to combine the results of a project developed on a micro level by the students with a broader secondary macro level. For this reason, we decided to invite a number of artists, who would expand our specific field of interest outwards with their own positions. As such we placed the various topics that crystallised out of our trip into a broader social and political context, in which places, geographic features, architecture and art history, production and migration contexts can be examined in depth.

To begin with, the interest in our micro-region has a biographical background: Tivoli is the city in which Alba D’Urbano was born and raised, from which she – following in the footsteps of European migration of the second half of the 20th century – began her trip to Germany in the 1980s. At the time, the migrational thread ran in the opposite direction of the so-called „Grand Tour“, a trip which was undertaken since the Renaissance, first by the noblemen, then by the educated bourgeois, and since the 18th Century increasingly by artists from the „cradle“ of Western culture. Inspired by the tradition of the „Grand Tour“, its projections and images of longing, we appropriated the subject of the Italian journey, in order to question it or to re-interpret it in contemporary terms. We reflect upon the field of tension between a place of romantic yearning and the reality of today’s post-industrial structural change. The territory of interest is especially interesting to us because of its many overlapping layers, which reveal a time period from antiquity to the present. Romantic ruins and today’s post-industrial reality meet in sharp contrast to one another. The structural changes that have taken place and still take place in the area around Tivoli over the last decades, refer to profound global transformations within its own manageable microcosm. The economic conditions are no longer supported by the large former industries, rather have shifted to the service sector. The unbalanced distribution of wealth between the so-called First and Third World, exploitation, wars and structural failures, cause a far-reaching change in the history of a population on a local level by massive migrational flows. Many immigrants and refugees come from economically and socially disadvantaged poor countries to Italy and the area between Tivoli and Rome is also characterised by it in a very special way. People live in old industrial ruins, in the midst of a chaotic structure which is caused by the upheavals, and are looking for new possibilities of life in the emerging urban areas. The clash and the meeting of different cultures on a stage of a special kind, which is almost made up of many layers of diverse cultural and natural landscapes, their testimonies ranging from classical to industrial archeology, form the basis of our project.

The students‘ works and the works of the invited artists, which were developed over the course of two years during several visits to the area, can be divided into four major topics that interact in a diverse way in relation to each other. One central topic revolves around the phenomena resulting from the changes in working conditions thus also affecting political fields and the second major topic, that reflects primarily upon global structural change in various ways. In turn, the change can be particularly clearly seen in the predominantly photographic studies of urban planning and architectural substance, as well as in the works implemented in the fourth dimension in cinematic or installative form, which specifically deal with themes of tourism and the „Grand Tour“, leading once again to the work problematic.

Alba D’Urbano and Tina Bara

Viaggio in Italia / 2012

An exhibition by students of Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig and invited artists

Werkschauhalle, Spinnerei Leipzig

Participating Artists

Tina Bara – Alba D’Urbano Jacopo Benci   Gottfried BinderKatrina Blach   Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson
Emerson CulurgioniJohanna Diehl   Charlotte Eifler   Sarah Feulner – Lena-Rosa Händle
Valerio Figuccio– Michael PetriNina Fischer – Maraon el Sani   Ya-Wen FuHeike Gallmeier   Eiko Grimberg   Matthias Hoch
Franziska JyrchSusanne Keichel   Franziska Klose   Julia Krause Kathrin Kunert   Verena Landau   Franziska Meinert
Berit Mücke   Nadine NeuhäuserMarcel Noack   Jana Nowack   Ginevra Panzetti– Enrico Ticconi   Raphael Sbrzesny
Jana Schulz   Maya Schweizer Maria Sewcz   Tim Sharp   Jakub SimcikSCHLATTER / SINGHeidi Specker
Sylvia Stucky   Yukiko Terada   Dagmar VaradyCarolin Weinert