For 144 years, the Real Academia de España in Rome is one of the most important and innovative cultural centers on the international scene. To date, it has hosted 944 "scholarship holders" demonstrating its ability to keep up with the times and to be of fundamental importance not only in cultural relations between Italy and Spain but between Italy, Spain and South America, creating a virtuous circle of growth and comparison.
It has happened also this year supporting and promoting the projects of new scholarship holders: Javier Arbizu, Juan Baraja, Ángela Bonadies, María Teresa Chicote Pompanin, Roberto Coromina, Julia de Castro, María Esteban Casañas, Javier Gonzalez-Hontoria, Inma Herrera, Cecilia Molano, Leire Mayendia, Miren Doiz, Santiago Pastor, Javier Sáez, Miguel Marina and Miguel Leiro., Álvaro Negro, Nuria Núñez, Abel Paúl, Milena Rossignoli, María Gisèle Royo, Elena Trapanese, Ana Zamora. As usual in March, the artists have opened the doors of their studies to make their projects known to the public. On this occasion I had the opportunity to visit the artists' studios focusing the practices of some of them.
Javier Arbizu, already active internationally, presents his project Neomedievo, a pictorial project based on the comparison between medieval aesthetics and philosophies and contemporary aesthetics and philosophies. Is there still a place for so-called "magical" aspects in such a rational and rationalized world? Are we still able to get excited and marvel at reality or can we and must we understand it only rationally? Are we still interested in the mystery?
For Arbizu the medieval context with its political chaos, crisis of values, fears, wars and diseases that favored the proliferation of superstitions is very similar to ours in which we perceive the fear of not being able to control everything that surrounds us and that in a somehow happens around us.
Roberto Coromina, on the other hand, makes a visual diary of his stay in Rome. Of course there are famous examples of travel diary in history, I think for example the "trip to America" by the French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville or the "journey in Italy" by the German writer Goethe. Here, however, it is something different: being inspired by the history of art, astronomy, architecture as for example the Pantheon Coromina paints on a square support a circle as a generator of multiple possibilities. He proceeds in this way to realize a work a day for each of the days of his stay at the Academy. The result is not only visual / emotional because it puts in question the painting, its imagination, its presence or absence, its reason for being in the contemporary world.
The project by Julia de Castro The rhetoric of the whores is singular and interesting. A classic of counter-literature that of Ferrante Pallavicino, almost unknown to the Italian public, proposed here precisely in the version of de Castro. What are the most appropriate characteristics and behaviors that a prostitute must have? An analysis by de Castro that deepens the male-dominated view of the world: being a whore is different from being a Don Giovanni and it is not just a lexical but cultural rooted difference. The woman's body is here understood as "a body of battle, a weapon of creation and destruction, object of desire and contempt.”
Inma Herrera’s project, which gives new life to an artistic practice often considered obsolete as engraving, is also very courageous. Herrera shows us how this is a preconception and how much this discipline can still give to the contemporary debate on the arts. Her project "Magnetism in transinto (Ribera - Tiepolo)" starts from the work of these two artists (both linked to Spain and Italy: Jusepe de Ribera was born in Spain and died in Italy, Giambattista Tiepolo was born in Italy and died in Spain), investigating the graphic side of their practice based on the religious theme present in the work of these artists. The result will be a fusion of traditional engraving with installation, sculpture, video, performance, thus promoting an interdisciplinary dialogue.
It will be interesting to see how these projects will take shape in the exhibition to be held in June and I will not fail to visit and tell all the readers who follow us with affection.