A Salento village (and its gardens) become an open-air art gallery

In Martano (Lecce), the village's gardens and courtyards are transformed into a large open-air art gallery for a weekend.

For one weekend, the gardens and courtyards of a Salento village, Martano (Lecce), are transformed into an open-air art gallery: this is the widespread exhibition Unlocked, beyond lockdown, organized from July 31 to August 2 by the Mana Grika Association with the collaboration of artist Francesco Cuna (who selected the works), as part of the Cortili Aperti project, one of the highlights of the Salento summer.

The exhibition aims to be an unprecedented journey into post-confinement returns. Art that finally leaves the walls of the house and meets the public without the help of the Internet, and imbued with the thousands of uncertainties that characterize these times: uncertainties that are reflected in the title Unlocked, which intends to draw an ideal door on the artistic ferment that has characterized the months of forced blockade, a door that is no longer locked but cannot be imagined wide open in this moment of limbo between emergency and safety distances.

So the Unlocked exhibition aims to become a glimpse and represent that glimmer of hope that, once that door is open, beyond it there is something better, a return that smacks of change. Thus, in the exhibition come large-scale printed reproductions, arranged on freestanding supports, of works by the artists: Gabriele Albergo, from Italy; Efrem Barrotta, Cesare Biratoni, Dario Carratta, Francesco Cuna, Pasquale De Sensi, Filippo La Vaccara, Riccardo Resta; Azadeh Ardalan, from Iran; Hervé Constant, from France; Christos Giannopoulos, from Greece; Xing Jiayan, from China; Déirdre Kelly, from Ireland; Jenny Klein, from the UK; Rafael Klein, from the US; and Bogdan Vladuta, from Romania.

“If it is difficult to define what one really is, easier is to say what one is not, and I am certainly not a curator,” says Francesco Cuna. “But if I point to the etymon of the word, here is where curation becomes responsibility, and more precisely responsibility that follows observation. So I cannot back out, and in this return to life, after the imposed halt, a mouth-watering opportunity for silent observation, I choose to take the responsibility of presenting to you some works and their authors, of curating their appearance to your lives, to ours. Suspended and then returned, released. These works are dialogues and speak different languages, by origin and medium of expression. They are memory of a defined moment, title of a flickering future, uncertain rootedness to the present, they are a flag I am proud to deliver. I am sure they will be able to speak to you as much as they have spoken to me.”

“I have always considered it important to promote art, the love of art and its many facets,” says Martano City Councilor for Culture Andrea Aprile. “To stimulate in the citizens of Martano that critical sense toward such a vast and important world. There are so many events promoted in these years of administration. I believe that the Open Courtyards event represents one of these events, a moment in which to create a perfect combination of art and architecture, mixing the history of palaces and courtyards with the modernity of artistic works. That is why, from the very beginning, I agreed to promote the UNLOCKED review, promoted by the Ass.ne Mana Grika, which I thank for choosing Martano for this wonderful initiative.”

Unlocked, beyond lockdown will be on display as a gallery spread during the Cortili Aperti event, July 31 through Aug. 2, in Martano, from 7 p.m. until midnight each night. Once the event concludes, the reproductions will be moved to a single location chosen by the municipality, extending the exhibition until the end of August. Thereafter the exhibition will be divided again and the works will find permanent homes in various cultural venues around the country. For information you can visit the Mana Grika website.

A Salento village (and its gardens) become an open-air art gallery
A Salento village (and its gardens) become an open-air art gallery

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