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RE-COLLECTING. Castagne matte (Mad Chestnuts)

MAMbo, Project Room
Closed until 3 December 2020

Closed until 3 December 2020 due to the public order issued by the President of the Council of Ministers on 3 November 2020

As part of the new cycle of exhibition focuses called RE-COLLECTING, conceived by Lorenzo Balbi, which investigates particular aspects, works and themes of the MAMbo and Museo Morandi collections, Castagne matte (Mad Chestnuts), curated by Caterina Molteni, reflects on rituality as a social religious and artistic dimension.

Mad Chestnuts’s name refers to an everyday good-luck gesture: the popular belief that by keeping horse chestnuts in one’s coat pocket, one could shoo away autumn flus. Referring to gestures of daily superstition and expanding the research to the persistence of a 'magical' dimension in the contemporary, the exhibition offers a reflection on rituality as a social, religious and artistic dimension.

In an epoch marked by ecological disasters, pandemics, and urgent rival political claims, rituality appears a possible strategy to understand and face emergency situations and conditions. In fact, the ritual dimension gives rise to important reflections about the individual and his body, the idea of social and political community, and our perception of life and death, with practices based on the principles of a ‘magical’ world. Linked to the ineffable, ritual returns us to a dimension of existence that cannot be captured by descriptive language and eludes attempts at regulation.

Thanks to the collaboration with the Archaeological Museum of Bologna, the exhibition is enriched by a selection of objects illustrating the superstitious practices of the Roman era.  In parallel to a research project dedicated to the museum’s collection, the exhibit includes a detailed study of the Metafisica del quotidiano (Everyday Metaphysics) festival, which the Galleria d'Arte Moderna of Bologna hosted in 1978. Curated by Franco Solmi, the festival offered a reflection on the ritual ambiguity of artwork: an aesthetic criterion that allows artistic creations to evade unitary readings and inhabit zones of attrition and contradiction.