E la mia Patria è dove l'erba trema

20.09.2023 > 19.11.2023

curated by Giuseppe Appella
National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rome

As part of the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Lucanian poet Rocco Scotellaro (Tricarico, April 19, 1923 - Portici, December 15, 1953), promoted by the Region and APT Basilicata with the patronage of the Municipality of Tricarico and the Matera Basilicata 2019 Foundation, the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art pays tribute to him with the exhibition E la mia Patria è dove l'erba trema. 45 artisti d’oggi rileggono l’opera di Rocco Scotellaro.

The exhibition, curated by Giuseppe Appella, brings together 45 artists from seven generations who have had constant connections with poetry, often hailing from the regions Rocco frequented. Seven months ago, these artists were sent the volume Rocco Scotellaro, Tutte le Opere  (Mondadori Publisher Milan 2019), for a reading and comparison that aimed not only to create a work of art but also to provide written insight into the relationship between word and image and the relevance of discussing Rocco Scotellaro, from a sociopolitical and a purely literary perspective. As Emilio Isgrò writes in his page included in the catalog published by Silvana Editoriale, "just read a few verses to feel that Scotellaro's music, with all its folk singability, is radically different from the hermetic." Moreover, it serves "to question whether it is possible to reopen, for the South, the messianic promise of growth and salvation that has always been proclaimed but never kept." Because "it is art and literature, that is, disinterested and strong dreams, that politics needs today to rebuild itself."

This is a way to revive the intense political and cultural debate of the first half of the 1950s but also to acknowledge Rocco Scotellaro's broad interests evident in his journalistic writings, film writings, and artistic associations (first through Mauro Masi-Michele Giocoli-Remigio Claps, and later with Carlo Levi, Ernesto De Martino, Adriano Olivetti, Amelia Rosselli, Giorgio Bassani, Leonardo Sinisgalli), all focused on the demands and needs of our time.

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