From north to south – from an eighteenth-century villa to a former cigar factory to the gigantic floor of shattered mirrors in a Norman castle – three installations redesign spaces and perceptions. And they emphasize the visionary power of contemporary art

The exhibition spaces have (finally) reopened to present exhibitions, events and installations with a high emotional impact. We have chosen three, from Como to Sicily, which mix art and video, historical artifacts and future projections. A constellation of voices, a hybridization of different knowledge that weave new connections, drawing new perspectives. In the name of contamination and metamorphosis, inclusion and coexistence.

For its thirtieth edition, Miniartextil, a historic event dedicated to contemporary Fiber Art, composes an itinerary throughout the city of Como. The heart of the project is the Civic Art Gallery in which 54 mini-textiles are exhibited –  delicate, ironic, fragile and powerful works  which act as a counterpoint to a retrospective exhibition that puts the masterpieces of the Civic Collections in dialogue with the works of 26 international artists, chosen from among those who have participated in the event over the years. The former Wholesalers Pavilion of the Covered Market instead hosts Sei esattamente dove dovresti essere, an interactive site-specific installation by Stefano Ogliari Badessi.

For the occasion, Villa Olmo, a splendid eighteenth-century villa reopens its doors to art, hosting Metamorphosis, a collective exhibition curated by Paolo Bolpagni, Giovanni Berera and Sonia D’Alto, until 18 July. With works by artists such as Jannis Kounellis, Slavs and Tatars, Marwa Arsanios, Nedko Solakov, Ariel Schlesinger and Jonathan Monk, Hans Peter Feldmann, Daniel Buren, Sheila Hicks and Gianfranco Ferroni, the exhibition brings together voices from different eras, formations and cultural origins, united by the language of the thread, of the weft, of the use of fabric, or more specifically of the weave.

Metamorphosis is a polyphonic narration that disrupts a constellation of different voices, perspectives and knowledge. Hybridization, mixing and confluence of differences coincide in the same space. The works are part of a process of contamination between techniques and media, between tradition and innovation, reuse and repetition. The exhibition is therefore an attempt to negotiate with tradition and the ability to adapt and continually reinvent itself, also measuring itself against technological inventions.

The charm of the works on display and the importance of the artists involved make Metamorphosis the ideal project, together with Miniartextil, to compose an in-depth story dedicated to a particular expressive area of contemporary art, as well as to trace a cultural path between Como and the lake.

In Florence, until June 4, the former industrial spaces of Manifattura Tabacchi host – and dialogue  with twelve exciting works of video art. Resisting the Trouble - Moving Images in Times of Crisis consists of the works created by the twelve artists participating in the ninth edition of the Visio-European Program on Artists' Moving Images, a research and residency project dedicated to the talents under 35s. installations reflect on some of the most urgent issues generated by the current world crisis, proposing alternative visions to rethink the present and imagine the future.

The selected artists are: Jonas Brinker (1989, Germany), Claudia Claremi (1987, Cuba/Spain), Helen Anna Flanagan (1988, England/Ireland), Valentina Furian (1989, Italy), Megan-Leigh Heilig (1993, South Africa/Germany), Marcin Liminowicz (1992, Poland/Holland), Edson Luli (1989, Albania/Italy), Olena Newkryta (1990, Ukraine/Austria), Ghita Skali (1992, Morocco/Holland),  Peter Spanjer (1994, Nigeria-Germany/England), Emilia Tapprest (1992, Finland-France/Holland), Tora Wallander (1991, Sweden).

“During the lockdown, moving images, more than any other artistic medium, proved to have the intrinsic ability to overcome the limits of the exhibition space, exploiting the mediation of the technologies at our disposal” explains Leonardo Bigazzi, curator of the exhibition. “In this context of uncertainty and precariousness, can art represent an instrument of resistance to the alienation and isolation to which we are subjected? How can we avoid a dystopian future in which physical relationships risk being entirely delegated to the digital dimension? How can we recover an active role in the change process and focus it on the value of diversity, respect and solidarity? The exhibition questions the possibility of imagining inclusive models of coexistence capable of unhinging existing power structures, and overcoming established canons and stereotypes related to competition and abuse between living beings”.

Resisting the Trouble – Moving Images in Times of Crisis is produced and organized by Lo schermo dell’arte with NAM – Not A Museum, the contemporary art program of Manifattura Tabacchi, today at the center of an important urban regeneration project.

Read also: the new building site of Manifattura Tabacchi

Finally, until 31 December 2021, the Hypostyle Hall of the Maniace Castle in Syracuse has eight hundred square meters covered with walkable mirrors. The images of the cross vaults and luminous stone columns of the sober Norman architecture multiply on the new temporary flooring. Passi, the engaging traveling installation by Alfredo Pirri, operates a fascinating transformation of a thousand-year-old monument thanks to the conceptual strength and visionary power of contemporary art.

In the fascinating correspondence between the mirror of the Sicilian sea that surrounds Frederick's castle and the mirrored floor inside the Hypostyle Hall, the installation finds an unexpected way to redesign the environment. The audience walking on the surface becomes the protagonist of a collective performance by shattering the mirrors.

On the shattered floor, as evidence emerged from the abyss, some artifacts from the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum in Syracuse float, in dialogue with the very light colored spheres created by the artist: they are heavy stone 'bullets' of ancient catapults, which have become mysteriou  metaphysical – objects with a strong symbolic value.