News & events > The Grand Italian Vision: the Farnesina Collection of Contemporary Art in Singapore
07 Feb 2023 - 25 Feb 2023

The Grand Italian Vision: the Farnesina Collection of Contemporary Art in Singapore

What is art, if not an exploration of the imaginary to create its own vision?

Pushing the boundaries of the tangible, The Grand Italian Vision: The Farnesina Collection, is an Italian art exhibition curated by Achille Bonito Oliva from the Collezione Farnesina – an extraordinary collection of contemporary Italian art housed in the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome.

The exhibition will be presented abroad for the first time from 7 to 25 February 2023 at The Arts House in Singapore

Looking to bring Singaporean visitors onboard an enthralling journey through the history of Italian art, the dynamic project stars avant-garde works of sculpture, mosaic, painting, photography, and installations seeking to redesign the story of Italy where art has become reflective of civilisation and lifestyle.


Singapore as a Global Art Capital

The exhibition making an unprecedented international debut marks a key step forward in bilateral relations between Singapore and Italy, this time embedded in cultural diplomacy. At a time where Singapore is looking to become a global art capital, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs begins their journey of sharing Italian contemporary art to the rest of the world in Singapore, where innovation pervades the society.

Italian art is the expression of our unmistakable identity, it confirms the vitality and creativity of our culture, but at the same time it is a vehicle for communication and dialogue with other cultures. In this sense, strengthening our relations with the multi-faceted cultural reality of Singapore is one of the most qualifying aspects of our mission in this City-State, and is made more original by Italian creativity, which sinks its roots in a centuries-old tradition, while always showing new capacity for innovation.

— Mario Andrea Vattani, Ambassador of Italy to Singapore and Brunei


Documenting the Identity of Italian Art

True to its name, The Grand Italian Vision: The Farnesina Collection places emphasis on the visionary. Here, the documented history of Italian art seeks to bring visitors on a grand tour to understand the Italian artistic identity fundamentally rooted in creativity.

The balance of the different forms of expressions is maintained through the adoption of a thematic curation rather than a chronological one. Presented to an international audience, the exhibition aims to incite a range of visions from history to geography, from a 20th century sensibility to the push towards modernity, from intimism to confrontation, from environmental emergencies to migrations and new forms of poverty, and finally, from dialogue to encounter.

1. "The fox and the wolf: struggle to power" by Elena Bellantoni. Courtesy of Embassy of Italy in Singapore. 
2. "Cavallo" by Marino Marini. Courtesy of Embassy of Italy in Singapore. 
3. "Reparto Nomenclatore - Archivio 1 " by Sabrina D'Alessandro. Courtesy of Embassy of Italy in Singapore. 

The Collection

The exhibition is intricately structured to allow the differences between the various artists to condense fluidly. The journey begins with Futurism which documents the dynamism pervading the Italian artistic identity in the 20th century. This leads up to the suspension of time, represented by Metaphysical Art citing classicism as an aspect of Italian art that has been prominent since the Renaissance. Dadaism and Surrealism soon break into the exhibition in a calm and balanced way, escaping the romantic tabula rasa that instead accompanies these movements in other European countries.

The genius loci of various generations of artists therefore prevails, escaping the permanent simplification of references to summarise a dialectical participation in the history of the art work. In this way the sections comprising Futurism, Metaphysical Art, Informal, Pop Art and Kinetic Art, Conceptual, Arte Povera, Transavantgarde, provide a return to painting and new experiments up to Digital Art, overall marking the unstoppable vitality of art across the various sections.

Art is always the fruit of imagination that knows no barriers. Italian art is the clearest proof of this. From the Renaissance to the present day, it has always operated under the sign of renewal and memory.

- Achille Bonito Oliva, Italian art critic, Historian of Contemporary Art, Curator of The Grand Italian Vision: The Farnesina Collection.


4. Unique Forms of Continuity in Space by Umberto Boccioni. Courtesy of Embassy of Italy in Singapore. 

Collateral Events

The National Art Council (NAC) Singapore will be supporting the Embassy of Italy in Singapore through lateral programmes involving local universities and art and cultural stakeholders.

A seminar will be held at The Arts House on 1 February 2023 at 5pm SGT. The event is conducted with the involvement of the National Art Council and in collaboration with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. NTU Founder Director Prof. Ute Meta Bauer and Dr Anna Lovecchio, Assistant Director, Programmes will discuss the exhibition with the Italian curator Achille Bonito Oliva. ASEF is delighted to be communication partner for this event.

Cover Image: "31.45.19" by Matteo Basilé. Courtesy of Embassy of Italy in Singapore. 

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