Francesco Urbano Ragazzi


Arnone Palace
Dec. 1-16 2012

Residency program curated by: Francesco Ragazzi & Francesco Urbano


Invited artists: Francesco Bertelé, Rachele Maistrello, Anja Puntari, Giulio Squillacciotti
Visiting professors: Marina Fokidis, Akram Zaatari, Miltos Manetas
Art Direction: Fabio De Chirico

The South is a mirage that must be seen closely, wherever this is. The risk is otherwise to pick only the epic, folkloristic, tourist or decadent side. More than an observatory, the South needs attentive observers who will contribute to multiply the visions, moving the axis of sight from the categories of centre/outskirts, significance/marginal, to a polycentric and animated geography: a geography that firstly knows how to name what is there and that doesn’t confuse everything in the umpteenth peacefully, sunny panorama.
Take Cosenza for example: in the 16th Century this city was justly considered the “Athens of Calabria” thanks to its philosophical academy – one of the first to be founded in Europe – and which now, nestling in the foothills of the Sila, is missed out by the itineraries and the imaginaries. How can its landscape be described today? How can anyone, coming from outside the area, discover and diffuse its potential and its wonders?
Prima Visione is a project curated by Francesco Ragazzi and Francesco Urbano; through a residency program, it aims to start a process of reconsideration and new representation of that specific territory. From the 1st until the 16th of December 2012, four artists with different levels of approximation to the South, but without any familiarity with the city of Bruzi, will make Cosenza their temporary dwelling. Between the need to discover and the search for mediation, Francesco Bertelé, Anja Puntari, Rachele Maistrello and Giulio Squillacciotti will turn their gaze outwards, working from an exceptional atelier, the National Gallery in Palazzo Arnone, seat of the Regional Board of the Ministry of Historical, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage of Calabria.
This particular position will enable them to be put in contact with the history of Cosenza from a privileged point of view: they will work face to face with the paintings housed in the Art gallery which includes canvases by Pietro Negroni, Mattia Preti and Luca Giordano in an exhibition of works of art dating from ’500 to ’900. Another important stone of confrontation is the corpus of 65 graphic works by Umberto Boccioni, recently included as artistic patrimony of the city.
The institutional place of art will then transform into a laboratory and a base from which both the resident artists and the people who gather around them and their works will start out on their voyage of discovery. The Prima Visione experience will not be restricted between the museum’s walls, but it will start a collective expanding involvement, interpreting the territory as a film set or a playground. The four selected artists share in fact an explorative attitude which continuously leads them in and out of the artistic field through interdisciplinary incursions, cooperative practices, theoretical elaborations and lunges into reality.
If the aim of Prima Visione is the shared production and the spread of new imagines for the territory, the project doesn’t allow space for a peaceful territorial marketing. The artists in residence will live an intense intellectual confrontation with three world famous guests who, from different points of view, will contribute to analysis of the South as a social and cultural concept. To them three public moments will be dedicated on the 10th, 11th December 2012 at 17 and the 14th December at 16, always in Arnone Palace.
Akram Zaatari, artist representing the Lebanon Pavilion in the 55a Biennale of Visual Arts in Venice, will talk about how his personal work intersects with the Arab Image Foundation and about how images can have the power to change the perception of your own identity. Marina Fokidis, curator of the Kunsthalle Athena, will begin instead her intervention starting from the experience of South, an art magazine she founded. To conclude this series of lectures, Miltos Manetas, new media artist and theorist, will consider the geographic category that he himself recently coined: that of the Middle South.
The use of a stereotype as the base material, the re-appropriation and the contemporary re-elaboration of former imagery and the delocalisation of the territory will be the lenses through which Prima Visione must be observed.
The results of the residence will be re-elaborated later for a long period and exhibited in 2013 in an exhibition in Arnone Palace.

1-15 December, h 10 – 18: studio visits by previous appointment (
10 December, h 17: Akram Zaatari
11 December, h 17: Marina Fokidis
14 December, h 16: Miltos Manetas
14 December, h 18: Open Studio