How does one begin to tell an odyssey? For Raffaela Naldi Rossano—the subject of this summer issue’s cover story—there are three basic elements. The first is home, a recurring element in the artist’s practice, here taking the form of transformed domestic objects that, as Francesco Urbano Ragazzi writes, move art “away from the capitalist solitude of the last thirty years to reconnect with history.” The second is the sea, specifically a Mediterranean boat trip that engenders the artist’s practice of de-subjectivization as well as a constellation of initiatory experiences. The third is the song of the muses, through which the artist looks at myth as a pattern applicable to infinite narratives.
“[…] Observing the ever-liquid nature of the artist’s work brings to mind another kind of political thinking. It’s Carl Schmitt’s theory, according to which relationships between peoples have evolved through a struggle across two opposing spaces. On one hand there is the land, easily divisible along the borders of sovereign states, and on the other hand there is the sea, so boundless that it becomes the shapeless surface on which national identities break apart.
It is in this post-identitarian liquidity that Partenope’s currency gains value. Seen from the boat on which the artist weaves a new mythological geography and establishes its coinage, the Mediterranean Sea returns to being the basin of a diverse cultural unity shaped by centuries of exchanges; not the macabre theater of rejections, shipwrecks, and fantasies of ethnic purity.”