During a recent trip to Arezzo, I was able to catch the last weekend of a summer project, the first edition of Icastica 2013: glocal women – art, music and theater events, linking global with local.
Icastica (“the art of representing reality”) proved to be a fantastic cultural initiative for such a small, but important Tuscan town, home of Vasari and Petrarca, with over 20 cultural venues (indoor and outdoor) covering a 4 kilometer route. Forty international contemporary artists (including some of the big names) of architecture, theatre, dance, and music expressed works relating to the theme of women’s issues while creating a dialogue with the historic center of Arezzo. This type of juxtaposition of old and new works well in Italy and creates contemporary interest of the present in a context somewhat halted in the past. Visiting these works, or even stumbling upon them, adds an exciting realm of discovery to places that already maintain their merits.
Most visitors to the Basilica di San Francesco are there to admire the Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca. Work by German artist Heike Weber installed inside the Basilica, a white carpet constructed with silicon contrasted against the Basilica interior. In the desecrated church of Sant’Ignazio, a symbolic garden of bare wooden coffins and olive trees by Yoko Ono was installed.
Andrèe Weschler, from Singapore, performed in the Church of Santi Lorentino & Pergentino where she wrapped herself in meters of porcelain white pearl-like strings weighing 50 kilos and busted out of the constraint in the end. Watch a video of the performance:
A hot name in the contemporary art scene, Marina Abramovic, exhibited her work The Communicator, 2012, in the Museo Casa di Giorgio Vasari. And next to Cimabue in the Church of San Domenico, was the work of Lebanese artist Mona Hatoum.
Kaarina Kaikkonen from Finland had two installations, her familiar clothing draped underneath Vasari’s loggia and an upward sail of shirts in Piazza della Libertà in front of the Palazzo Comunale where the gold inflated soft sculpture plow machine of Vibha Galhotra was featured in the courtyard.
Georgian artist Tamara Kvesitadze had her subtle silicon and electric faces moving/breathing inside the Palazzo Comunale.
And when walking up the elegant main shopping street, Corso Italia, in Arezzo, one could not help but being confronted by the regurgitation of books spilling out of a palazzo window by Spanish artist, Alicia Martìn, as well as her sphere of books taking over the portico of Via Roma.
Many other artists, including Kikki Smith exhibited their work for Icastica at the Galleria Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea. Yes, you can say it, there is more contemporary art in smaller cities like Arezzo than there is in Florence, so keep your eyes open for initiatives such as this one, well worth the visit.
ARTIST LIST: Tania Bruguera, CUBA; Ximena Garrido-Lecca, PERU’; Cecilia Paredes, PERU’; Tatiana Akhmetgalieva, RUSSIA; Marya Kazoun, LEBANON; Soyeon Cho, KOREA; Belle Shafir, ISRAEL; Raeda Sa’adeh, PALESTINE; Shaikha Al Mazrou, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES; Yin Xiuzhen, CHINA; Chen Ke, CHINA; Cui Xiuwen, CHINA; Shirin Neshat, IRAN; Nina Papaconstantinou, GREECE; Maddalena Ambrosio, ITALY; Tamara Ferioli, ITALY; Carla Mattii, ITALY; Whitney McVeigh, UK; Candice Breitz, SOUTH AFRICA; Kiki Smith, USA; Marina Abramovic, MACEDONIA; Virginia Ryan, AUSTRALIA; Vibha Galhotra, INDIA; Carole A. Feuerman, USA; Chiharu Shiota, JAPAN; Federica Marangoni, ITALY; Amy Cheung, HONG KONG — CHINA; Vibha Galhotra, INDIA; Tamara Kvesitadze, GEORGIA; Andrée Weschler, SINGAPORE; Mona Hatoum, LEBANON; Heike Weber, GERMANY; Carole A. Feuerman, USA; Chiharu Shiota, JAPAN; Remen Chopra, INDIA; Vibha Galhotra, INDIA; Monali Meher, INDIA; Anastasia Ax, SWEDEN; Monali Meher, INDIA; Yoko Ono, NUTOPIA; Jennifer White Kuri, USA; Liina Siib, ESTONIA; Marianna Uutinen, FINLAND; Carole A. Feuerman, USA; Virginia Ryan, AUSTRALIA; Tamara Ferioli, ITALY; Alicia Martin, SPAIN; Kaarina Kaikkonen, FINLAND; Federica Marangoni, ITALY