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Hortus conclusus. L'illusione di un paradiso

Museo Villa dei Cedri, Bellinzona
3 June - 8 November 2020

Is it possible to analyse our contemporary societies, in particular those of the West, in the light of the religious themes and ancient myths that founded them? This is the question posed by the exhibition «Hortus conclusus. The illusion of a paradise» starting from the Christian allegory of the enclosed garden – image of the Paradise and the virginity of Mary – and the Greek myth of the Rape of Europa, which relates the heroic journey of a kidnapped young girl, founder of European civilization. While Western art has assimilated and propagated these two iconographies since the Middle Ages, their study still offers a key to contemplate the works of contemporary artists who explore the relationship between man and his territory, between identity and culture. Like the United States, Europe seems today to defend the idea of a hortus conclusus , a new Eden inaccessible and surrounded by walls, both physical and mental. The therapeutic metaphor of the garden, traditionally perceived as a place of contemplative and spiritual retreat, has given way to the vision of a country that embodies the hope of a better life on the «other side» of the wall.

Works by contemporary artists are introduced with a section of prints of the 15th, 16th and 17th century by Albrecht Dürer, Heinrich Aldegrever, Martin Schongauer, Hendrick Goltzius and Remoldus Eynhoudts.



Tonatiuh Ambrosetti, Jean-Marie Appriou, Mirko Baselgia, Jean Bedez, Hicham Berrada, Laura Henno, Alain Huck, Eva Jospin, Mathias Kiss, Emma Lucy Linford, François Malingrëy, Omar Mismar, Adrien Missika, Sandrine Pelletier, Pierre et Gilles, Annaïk Lou Pitteloud, Recycle Group, Mustafa Sabbagh, Conrad Willems.

Sandrine Pelletier (Lausanne, 1976), Who fears the Others, 2017, mirrors, 85 x 220 cm, Courtesy the artist
Jean-Marie Appriou (Brest, 1986), The breath of the suns, 2018, cast aluminium, unique, approx. 65 x 150 x 225 cm, Courtesy the artist & Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York, © Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zurich
Heinrich Aldegrever (1502-1555/61), Maria mit Kind auf der Rasenbank, 1503, copperplate engraving, 10.8 x 6.8 cm, Zürich, Graphiche Sammlung ETH, inv. D 7693, © ETH-Bibliothek Zürich, Graphische Sammlung / D 7693 / Public Domain Mark 1.0
Adrien Missika (Paris, 1981), As the Coyote Flies (detail), 2014, color HD video with sound, 14’35’’, directed, filmed and edited by Adrien Missika, music by Victor Tricard, produced by Centre Culturel Suisse Paris, Courtesy the artist
Pierre et Gilles (Pierre Commoy, La Roche-sur-Yon, 1950 e Gilles Blanchard, Le Havre, 1953), La Vierge à l’enfant (Hafsia Herzi & Loric), 2009, photography, inkjet on canvas, oil-enhanced, unique piece, 260.5 x 194.5 cm, Courtesy the artists & Galerie Templon, Parigi / Bruxelles, © Pierre et Gilles
Emma Lucy Linford (Vevey, 1992), Il vestito della regina, 2020, Embroidery and oil pastel on cotton canvas (3 elements), 210 x 140 x 0.5-0.25 cm, Courtesy the artist, © Photo: Pierre Maulini
François Malingrëy (Nancy, 1989), Le Jardinier aux fleurs gisantes, 2020, Mixed techniques, ca. 170 x 600 x 360 cm (variable dimensions), Courtesy the artist, © Photo: Pierre Maulini
Sandrine Pelletier (Lausanne, 1976), A shadow of a shadow, 2020, Acrylic wash, ca. 250 x 2200 cm, Courtesy the artist, © Photo: Pierre Maulini
Annaïk Lou Pitteloud (Lausanne, 1980), Limit of control, 2020, Chalk, ca. 210 m (Variable dimensions), Courtesy the artist, © Photo: Pierre Maulini
Conrad Willems (Ostende, 1983), Construction, 2017, 500 beige Borrèze sandstone blocks, 275 x 120 x 110 cm, Courtesy the artist, © Photo: Pierre Maulini