Contemporary artists in the sign of Warburg. The ritual of the snake in Bagnacavallo.

The Convent of St. Francis in Bagnacavallo is hosting the group exhibition of contemporary art "The Ritual of the Serpent," which takes its cue from Aby Warburg's book of the same name. Dates: Sept. 11 through Dec. 8.

From September 11 to December 8, 2021, a group of important contemporary artists will unite under the sign of the great Aby Warburg: in fact, the exhibition The Ritual of the Snake is scheduled on these dates at the Convent of San Francesco in Bagnacavallo. Animals, Symbols and Transformations, curated by Viola Emaldi and Valentina Rossi. The group exhibition, promoted by the City of Bagnacavallo on the occasion of the Feast of St. Michael, the city’s patron saint, and organized by the Magma collective, includes works by twelve artists: Mark Dion, Bekhbaatar Enkhtur, Valentina Furian, Claudia Losi, Marco Mazzoni, Marta Pierobon, Luigi Presicce, Lorenzo Scotto di Luzio, Dana Sherwood, Filippo Tappi, Davide Rivalta, and Emilio Vavarella.

The title of the exhibition refers to Aby Warburg’s book of the same name, which collects a lecture given by the scholar in the Kreuzlingen nursing home in 1923. Warburg, in his digression evokes the primitive terror of the snake, the animal that perhaps more than any other activates a phobic charge on all other living things, including man. This same impulse, entirely natural, suggests that we do not distinguish humans as a “different” species, although they act according to particularly complex logic and capacity for abstraction.

The review stems from some reflections around the work of art that symbolizes Bagnacavallo’s cultural identity: the engraving San Gerolamo nello studio by Albrecht Dürer, dated 1514 and kept at the Museo Civico delle Cappuccine, which depicts the saint together with the lion he had brought with him on his return from hermitage in the desert, after taming it by removing a thorn from its paw. It is precisely from this work that the reflection on the exhibition starts, to investigate through contemporary art the relevance of the symbology, if and when it is still present, that accompanies the bond between humans and animals and to explore the way in which today’s visual artists feel and express this particular relationship of coexistence between species in the light of the consumerist and self-destructive “domination” of human beings on which reflection is undoubtedly needed.

In the spaces of the Convent of St. Francis, therefore, here is a constellation of works that investigate the animal being, starting from symbols and their iconographic and iconological interpretation, passing through scientific thought, up to the shift from the era of the Anthropocene (a concept born in the 1980s and then formalized by Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry Paul Crutzen at the beginning of the 2000s) to that of the Chthulucene, a term coined by Donna Haraway in 2016 to indicate a time of ecological crisis in which everything is interconnected and in which survival requires learning the art of species coexistence. Animals have always been part of the artistic imagination, in Western as well as Eastern culture, from their very earliest representations (the Paleolithic cave paintings where the most common subjects, along with human footprints, are large wild animals) to becoming in recent decades works of art themselves through their physical presence, from Damien Hirst ’s taxodermied shark to the bees and pink-footed dog that roam the worlds elaborated by Pierre Huyghe. The exhibition aims to highlight how contemporary research has continued to pursue, obviously with the appropriate indices of differentiation, an art that often expresses, albeit evocatively, this connection between species.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication published by Danilo Montanari Editore and with a text by Professor Fabrizio Lollini of the University of Bologna. The volume will be presented on November 14, 2021. The exhibition is realized with the contribution of Molino Spadoni and Wall&decò, while the related image of the exhibition and publication is by Wladimiro Bendandi (D+ studio). Opening hours: Friday 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to noon and 3 to 6 p.m. Special openings: Sept. 24, 27 and 28 6 to 24 p.m.; Sept. 25 and 29 10 a.m. to noon and 3 to 24 p.m.; Sept. 26: 10 a.m. to midnight.

Pictured: Claudia Losi, Les Funérailles de la Baleine, Fondo Bruno, Cossila San Giovanni (Biella), 2010.

Contemporary artists in the sign of Warburg. The ritual of the snake in Bagnacavallo.
Contemporary artists in the sign of Warburg. The ritual of the snake in Bagnacavallo.

Warning: the translation into English of the original Italian article was created using automatic tools. We undertake to review all articles, but we do not guarantee the total absence of inaccuracies in the translation due to the program. You can find the original by clicking on the ITA button. If you find any mistake,please contact us.