The Gesture in the cultural heritage of Europe

The natural gesture and its transposition in art:
in theatre, dance, cinema, video, architecture and visual arts,
overcoming the limits of the physical.

The gesture as a shouting force, a vital necessity, that can be interpreted without the need for translation. The gesture that is born in mankind and with mankind, a common expression in every latitude of the earth. Gestures that are born before the concept of culture itself, appropriated by culture, stripped of their utilitarian purpose to render them exemplary. Gestures removed from their function, that become pure, empty aesthetic expressions testifying to the relationship between nature and culture. Like the word that develops from elementary sounds to become the expression of thought, the gesture from sheer necessity becomes a pure aesthetic expression. (Maria Gloria Conti Bicocchi)

The project aims to define intercultural methods of researching a European identity, by studying and representing primary forms of communication. It investigates expressions of non-verbal language that reflect the multiple picture of contemporary Europe. Methods of drawing together and sharing the cultures existing in different countries are developed from this research.

In a constantly changing society, such questions- about identity aboveall, about forms of communication, about lexicon and about comparison or integration of lexicons- are those on which artistic expression hinges. The project deals with the theme of gesture through the specifics of different cultural and artistic approaches. A particular focus is placed on young artists, invited to respond to the project theme through the creation of new productions.


a project by Maria Gloria Conti Bicocchi, Maurizia Settembri, Paolo Atzori, Marina Fokidis, Andrés Morte Terés, Barbara Novakovic Kolenc, Sergio Risaliti, James Tyson
supported by EU Culture 2000 programme
project leader: Fondazione Fabbrica Europa per le Arti Contemporanee
partners: Artefactory, Procida (Italy), Muzeum Institute for Art Production Distribution and Publishing, Ljubljana (Slovenia), Oxymoron, Athens (Greece) / Artimage, Graz (Austria), Chapter Arts Center, Cardiff (United Kingdom), Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona (Spain)
executive coordination: Maurizia Settembri, Silvia Palmia
visual arts coordination: Marina Bistolfi
collaborators: Simona De Luca, Marco De Luca
advisors: Adam Kendon, Giovanni Manetti, Carla Cristilli, Arturo Martone, Maria Graziano


A Visual Library in Progress

July 21 – September 18, 2005
Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki

October 6, 2005 – January 6, 2006
Quarter – Centro Produzione Arte, Florence

an exhibition curated by Sergio Risaliti, Marina Fokidis, Daphne Vitali

The exhibition presents a wide range of video, performance, photography and installations by international artists working from the 1960s to the present day. The three curators explored the theme of the gesture in the visual arts by investigating its different facets: the gesture of love, impossibility, transcendence or resistance. Combined in a non-linear way, the different “documents” are presented in the form of a visual library, providing a site of exchange and investigation; a counterpoint to the conventional codes of visual art history.

The exhibition presents the work of young artists including Pipilotti Rist, Piotr Uklanski, Francis Alÿs, Jeremy Deller, Douglas Gordon, Sislej Xhafa, Uri Tzaig, Anri Sala, Lara Favaretto, the Stalker Group and Paolo Canevari. These works are shown alongside keystones of the exploration of gesture such as ‘I Like America and America Likes Me’ by Joseph Beuys, ‘Leap into the Void’ by Yves Klein, ‘The Lovers (Walk on the great Wall of China)’ by Marina Abramovic and Ulay, ‘Shoot’ by Chris Burden, ‘Stamping in the Studio’ by Bruce Nauman, and others by Vito Acconci, Richard Serra, Sophie Calle, Giuseppe Chiari and Lygia Pape.

The Gesture. A Visual Library in Progress provokes a physical and mental displacement in which the viewer can find a paradigm of gesture that crosses geographical and cultural borders. A space made up of enigmatic intersections concerning the state of memory and global culture.













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