26.05.2022 > 16.10.2022
Museo Nazionale della Montagna - Turin
curated by Andrea Lerda
Since 2018 the Museum has been pursuing a path of exploration of the issues affecting the mountains in this early 21st century, broadening the subjects through which to observe the problems and opportunities of a constantly changing territory and resorting to the use of multidisciplinary languages, tools and areas.
This approach sees our institution engaged in an increasingly close relationship between the museum, the city, the mountains and the “areas in between”, on the one hand through increasingly frequent interaction with artists, scientific and creative realities in the area, and on the other through partnership strategies with researchers and research institutes at an international level.
Within the variety of mediums that are used from time to time to narrate the mountains, contemporary creativity has an important place in activating reflections on the environmental, historical, cultural, social, anthropological, landscape, but also architectural and sporting levels.
The exhibition Laboratorio Montagna ideally returns the image of a process in progress, in which Museum, town and mountain territories are simultaneously involved. The word “laboratory” is useful to describe the approach adopted by Museomontagna in interpreting the process of transformation of its identity and vision. A place that changes, open to exchange from and with the outside, to interference and contamination through which to activate speculative visions on the topos of the mountain, on the physical and mental places that make it up. A museum that expands its boundaries as a response to time, as a choice to build its own future, its own relationship with the public and collective needs. A dynamic that, in parallel, is repeated in the macro place that we define as mountain, today subject to numerous reinterpretations at various levels. A mountain “in between”, as Mauro Varotto defines it, confirming the fact that this historic term not only defines the highlands, but also includes territories “in between”, between high and low, the urbanised city and the high-altitude peaks. What Antonio De Rossi calls “metromountain”.
A mountain as a mosaic and workshop, an emblem of transformation and opportunity, which at the same time changes “from a periphery to a laboratory for development models that aim to combine environmental sustainability and social wellbeing […] which becomes the centre once again, the fulcrum of a series of return processes that call into question the idea that it is […] always and necessarily a disadvantaged area” (M. Varotto).
The exhibition project stems from a dialogue with the Turin art scene. The construction of the exhibition narrative is the result of a process of interaction with Turin’s galleries and exploration of research centred, in various ways, on the universe of the mountains. This curatorial decision continues the experience already begun with the exhibition Ecophilia. Exploring otherness, developing empathy – presented at the Museum between 2021 and 2022 – on the occasion of which the choice of the six artists involved arose from a preliminary mapping of the creative figures active in the city.
Laboratorio Montagna therefore presents the work of a dozen artists represented by the galleries of Turin. The visual stimuli and conceptual links proposed by the works are the basis for activating reflections on the concept of the museum-mountain as a laboratory. The exhibition touches on a series of topical issues, from the impact of climate change on mountain ecosystems to the theme of living in the mountains; from the modification of the landscape to the rediscovery of “walking” as an experience of empathic relationship with the world.
Thanks to the involvement of Annibale Salsa, anthropologist, and Andrea Membretti, sociologist, the exhibition narrative is accompanied by technical readings and glimpses of good practices in mountain living that come from active experiences in the area.