As one walks through the exhibition, the themes proposed unfold as one ascends, forming a symbolic journey that is constantly suspended between reality and fiction.
On the museum’s ground floor, rending apart a daily existence that society claims to be scintillating, the silver balloons of Philippe Parreno, Speech Bubbles (Silver), and the soap bubbles in Ryan Gander’s video, Imagineering, reveal the profound shock of existence through the ruins of wars and conflicts.
Alongside the 1970s works of Alighiero Boetti and of the American Robert Longo and Martha Rosler, we also find the voice of some Middle Eastern artists: Kader Kattia with Open your Eyes, who has a personal take on the tragedy of the First World War and Walid Raad, who illustrates war through the surprised and ingenuous eyes of a child. The crescendo reaches a peak in the work of the Swiss artist, Thomas Hirschhorm, Break-through (three): an allegory of the disasters of war simulates the gutted roof of Palazzo Fortuny in the wake of a bombardment.
It then falls to the sacrilegious works of Gino de Dominicis to exorcise death, through his suggestion of the notion of immortality in the very concept of a collection .
After the parenthesis of the mezzanine floor, with the idea of the solitude of man today, developed in the works of the German Franz Erhard Walther, we move up to the next floor. Here, it is the strenuous conquest of one’s own identity that is at the centre of the dialogues triggered by the curators between the works of the Right collection and the home/workshop of Mariano Fortuny on the piano mobile of the palazzo.
Inner identity and sexual identity, with its extensions to the concept of love – here presented in its variety of different forms, both as personal and social or political progress – are shown here, together with ferocity and the concept of eternity. From People by Dorothy Iannone, and Faccine by Alighiero Boetti (the artist’s work is a constant throughout the exhibition) we move on to the work of Cy Twombly, Jana Sterbak, Candida Höfer, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Markus Schinwald, Victor Man, Joan Jonas, Yann Sérandour and Anna Mendieta; and on to the provocative work of Nan Goldin, and the Self Portrait of you + Me by Douglas Gordon, with the burned faces of Hollywood legends; these are followed by the disturbing work entitled 100 Jahre by Hans-Peter Feldmann which uses 101 black-and-white portraits to show the inexorable passage of time and the fleeting nature of existence, from just a few weeks of life to a hundred years. And there is the myth of the eternal love between Hadrian and Antinous in the work of Francesco Vezzoli, who shows himself in the guise of the emperor.
The exhibition has become more intimate on the piano nobile – and is also dotted with many artist’s books which are a particular feature of Enea Righi’s collection, and which also add interest to the following rooms, an extreme synthesis of a reflection on art – and becomes all the more so on the second floor, where it explores the idea of utopian architecture, a search for a world the way it should be, and examines the works also of some leading exponents of radical architecture. And so on up to the top floor, where Carlos Garaicoa and his large rug depicting the words El Pensamiento introduces the room next to the neon work of Peter Friedl: Io posso trovare fantasie dove non c’è nessuno.
There: it is perhaps in the idea, in thinking, that the metaphor of the transience of snow finds its response: what can survive is the spiritual heritage contained in this and other true collections. So that the white remains dazzling in the places of the spirit.
The “Quand fondra la neige, où ira le blanc” exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue/objet d’art featuring numerous critical texts, planned by Alessandro Gori-Laboratorium and developed as a complementary exhibition: two paths – that of the exhibition and that of the publishing project – that are reflected in one another but deliberately do not coincide. In the catalogue, the different nuclei of the Righi collection are not catalogued rigidly, but shown together in sets that each reader can freely arrange in sequence to be able to grasp the many souls of the collection and its historical times, and also those intimate meanings, which by their nature cannot be enclosed within a rigid structure.