Pictured above: Detail of Relative (2023) by Qiqi Wen. Exhibited at the Ancient Franciscan Cloisters.
The eighth Biennial of Contemporary Mosaic opens in Ravenna, Italy, in October 2023. Here, we take a look at some of the numerous events that will be taking place over the following three months and give you a glimpse of some of the mosaic works that will be on show.
By Rhona Duffy
The eighth Biennial of Contemporary Mosaic offers a look at contemporary mosaic against the background of the testimonies of the early Christian and Byzantine eras, which remain an inexhaustible source of stimuli.
From 14 October 2023 to 14 January 2024, artists will exhibit their artworks across various indoor and outdoor venues throughout the city. Mosaic monuments, museums, cloisters, galleries, mosaic workshops, and temporary and symbolic spaces become meeting opportunities and places in which ancient and contemporary art reflect each other.
The Burriravennaoro exhibition at the Ravenna Art Museum (MAR) is dedicated to one of Italy’s most prominent artists from the second half of the twentieth century, Alberto Burri. It traces the history of the intense relationship that Burri has had with Ravenna since the end of the 1980s. Conceiving several cycles of works inspired by the history and artistic culture of the city, Burri, in one of his latest series, embodies and transfigures in the contrast of black and gold, dark and light, the dialogue with the historical mosaic of Ravenna in the current reality of a cities in which the vestiges of the past have progressively intertwined with the economic, industrial, political and social developments of the present. Burri’s works are an opportunity to explore the multiple aesthetic suggestions and meaning that the monumental and mosaic testimonies from the early Christian and Byzantine eras of Ravenna have offered, and continue to offer, within the confines of the techniques traditional or outside, reinventing the codes of mosaic.
Also taking place at MAR, the Physical Memory of Matter highlights the experimental practices of mosaic in the Ravenna area from the 70s to today and includes work by Paolo Racagni, Marco Santi, Valentino Montanari, Almuth Schöps, Felice Nittolo, Sergio Policicchio, Toyoharu Kii, Daniele Strada, Marco Bravura, Verdiano Marzi, Stefano Mazzotti, Takako Hirai, CaCO3 and Sara Vasini.
While you’re at MAR, take the opportunity to visit the Contemporary Mosaic Collection. Recently rearranged, it traces the development that the mosaic technique has seen in Ravenna from the second decade of the twentieth century to today. It includes works by international artists including Marc Chagall, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Georges Mathieu, Mirko, Renato Guttuso and Emilio Vedova, as well as the contemporary works by Luigi Ontani, Mimmo Paladino and Piero Gilardi, as well as new experiments with mosaic language, including works by Giuliano Babini, Luca Barberini, Marco Bravura, Marco De Luca, CaCO3, Silvia Naddeo, Paolo Racagni, Francesca Pasquali and Omar Hassan.
In the historic Palazzo Rasponi dalle Teste, the Episodi di Mosaico Contemporaneo exhibition sees design and mosaic dialogue and interact in the production of new and special objects intended for interior furnishings. The project involves six designers and creatives to create objects intended to be worked as mosaics.
Meanwhile, the works of the sixth edition of the GAeM – Young Artists and Mosaic Award are being exhibited in the Manica Lunga of the Classense Library. An exhibition dedicated to the graphic work of students for the mapping of the city’s public mosaics is hosted in the former Church of Santa Maria delle Croci. Plus, you’ll find installations and demonstration workshops of Byzantine sculpture and mosaic from Ravenna in the iconic spaces of the Basilica of San Vitale.
This is just a taster of the numerous mosaic delights on offer during these three months. For full information, visit ravennamosaico.it.
(Sizes of work shown if information was provided.)