The Venus of the Rags in Bolzano
A series of events dedicated to and centred on the Venus of the Rags starts today in Alto Adige, and Pistoletto himself – the author of the installation – will be the protagonist of the artistic festival on more than one occasion.

The Venus of the Rags “on the road”. The famous work by Michelangelo Pistoletto has been the protagonist of an artistic journey stopping over in many Italian cities, from Biella to Rome, from Lampedusa to Ventimiglia to Bolzano. After a long pilgrimage, the work is today due to arrive in the Alto Adige county town in the context of the initiative “What beauty?”. The cities have not been chosen randomly: in each place the Venus has left an artistic and social mark reflecting on the theme of bodies and borders. Besides Pistoletto’s native city, where the work was born, the Venus of the Rags has been to Italian border zones that are experiencing a strong migratory phenomenon: “These stops – we read on a press release by the curators – become landing areas, social ports in which the Venus of the Rags (delivered, unpacked and set up) brings actions, moments of reflection and cultural exchange, metaphorically taking on herself the burden of an ancestral journey in search of freedom”. Behind the scenes of the project are “Spazio 5 artecontemporanea” and “Teatro Pratiko” in the figures of Manuel Canelles, Bolzano’s Rebirth/Third Paradise ambassador, and Nazario Zambaldi, artist, who have organized the event coordinated by Petra Raffaelli.

Waiting for Venus
The artistic initiative started on 21st December 2017, in the context of the Rebirth Day, celebrated in the historic setting of the old cinema Eden in Bolzano. The project “Waiting for Venus” was launched last spring, in wait of the arrival of the work in Trentino. Teatro Cristallo, the High School for Arts and Human Sciences Pascoli and Officine Vispa are the subjects curating the initiative, and have been able to draw the general public to contemporary art.

Where you can find the Venus of the Rags
The work (set up this morning, Tuesday 4th September) is on display in the inner courtyard of the department of Arts and Design of the Libera Università di Bolzano, an area of transit for technicians and students. The installation is actually visible day and night from the outside of the building. The choice of the setting for the Venus of the Rags shows an attempt to link the ideal and symbolic body of the work to daily practices, visually eliminating the distance between nature (what is real) and metaphor (what is representation).

The Venus of the Rags arrives in Bolzano: the guests
The programme of the day in which the work arrives in Bolzano includes workshops and themed conferences held in the Centro Trevi Piazza della Cultura, with the participation of guests of national calibre like Giorgio De Finis, director of MACRO and MAAM, and Anna Pironti and Paola Zanini, from the educational department of Castello di Rivoli. Saverio Teruzzi, coordinator of the Rebirth/Third Paradise ambassadors, Gruppo Immagine from Trieste and don Rito Alvarez will also be there, together with the volunteers of the experiment in the Gianchette neighbourhood in Ventimiglia.

The participation of Michelangelo Pistoletto
There is great anticipation for the presence of Michelangelo Pistoletto himself, who will be in the city for a few events scheduled for 23rd and 24th September. On the evening of the 23rd, the artist will attend a performance at the Unibz, in the courtyard of the faculty of Arts and Design. Monday 24th will be a day full of engagements for the artist from Biella: in the morning he will be at the opening of the ESCAPE Gallery, with a presentation of the Third Paradise curated by the students from the high school Pascoli; in the afternoon he will present (together with Chiara Belliti) his latest book “Ominiteism and Demopraxy”; and in the evening he will take part in a public talk with the students of the department of Arts and Design, curated by Stephan Shmitz Wolfen.

The comment of the organizers
“Thanks to this journey, – write the curators in reference to the projects What beauty? and Waiting for Venus – the Venus has been able to extend her original revolutionary meaning to represent a new social stand: from ideal to social body, the beautiful goddess wins the apple and then descends the golden Olympus to immerse herself into the transitory nature of our daily lives and give dignity to a heap of discarded material. Throughout her journey, she becomes an instrument of reflection and awareness, bearing peace and symbolising a situation in which borders are cultural boundaries impossible to overcome. Her message is one of an attainable rebirth, of a good approaching the beautiful and of an art able to reach everybody; she carries in her slender arms the heavy weight of a system that doesn’t work, and, looking back at us, she seems to wonder: what beauty?

Please see for further info and updates on the events in programme in Bolzano.