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5th December 19 - 1st February 20

NM Contemporary is pleased to present "MEMENTO" the new project of the artist Matteo Basilé curated by Marina Mattei, curator at the Capitoline Museums and Tian Kai, curator of the Shanghai Minsheng Museum.


For centuries, artists have fed on the lymphatics of classical art to interpret patterns, turns, measures and balances, each time offering their contemporaries a different reading of the past: think of Leonardo da Vinci , Raphael and Michelangelo, Andrea Palladio, Vincenzo Scamozzi, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini, Giovan Battista Piranesi or Antonio Canova, to name only the best known, until Adalberto Libera or Mario Sironi. Thanks to many of them, Rome has evolved through this attentive and harmonious transmission, as in the collection of Scipione Borghese where the old works were placed at the same level as works by living artists such as Bernini and Caravaggio.


The dialogue between archeology and contemporary art is an extraordinary (and perhaps unique) opportunity to regenerate the idea of ​​a universal museum not frozen in a sterile cult of the past but sensitive to the evolution of contemporaneity, in a historical and artistic context unique in the world.

The important risk, already denounced by Angela Vettese in the book Giganti (Charta, Milan, 2001) is that of not accepting "history as a continuum but of artificially dividing it into blocks, preferring the fake antique to the contemporary, to split in a philistine way the past which tends to be reassured and the present in which we live which precisely worries us ". "Monuments die when they do not speak anymore" writes Tomaso Montanari: one of the most interesting and stimulating ways to make them talk is to make them talk to works of contemporary artists able to interpret them with the language of today, made precisely to arouse new visions and reflections capable of transforming, with their strength, the heritage of simple passive scenario, used and exploited by a tourism of the consumable, in the context of an active and alive culture, managed in a conscious and never risky way .


With this premise and after the series “Pietra Santa”, “Travel to the center of the Earth” and “Stardust”, a new chapter of Basile's travels is born: Memento that brought the artist back to his hometown, Rome.

In this journey, Basilé photographs with the eye of those who see the invisible, the unspeakable ... the large halls and courtyards of the museum are submerged by the imaginary waters of a global flood that makes culture, memory and history "liquid" according to the theory of Zygmunt Bauman.

The characters who live in these places cross them as time travelers, rewriting in these places a map both terrestrial and human. 

Fifteen works, between scenarios, portraits "fallen in time" and a video installation, will take the viewer on the path of the knowledge of a universal memory between the past and the present, between East and West, where the museum becomes fnot only the "container" of history, but the perfect scenario where his characters "find and reinvent the memory of a future past".

The project will make the Capitolium travelling to the Shanghai Minsheng Museum in 2020.

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