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Un'Epopea POP

To celebrate the 7th centenary of the death of Dante, the Municipality of Ravenna, Culture Department and MAR - Art Museum of the City of Ravenna, with the precious contribution of the Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna, will be presenting the exhibition Dante. Gli occhi e la mente. Un'Epopea POP, curated by Giuseppe Antonelli. The exhibition will include a contemporary art section curated by Giorgia Salerno.

Dante’s popular appeal dates from as early as the fourteenth century and has continued into the more recent cultural universe we generically refer to as “pop”. A phenomenon that does not just apply to light music or to Italy alone. In fact, Dante’s pop appeal is decidedly international. This can be seen by the extraordinary success of books, films, comics and cartoons, and even videogames inspired by the figure of Dante and the atmosphere of his Divine Comedy. Dante has become an icon in popular culture. An icon in the sense of a symbol linked to a shared popular imagination. There is the Dante that symbolises Italian and European cultural identity, and has been featured on both lira and euros. There is the image of Dante that has been used as a trademark and in advertising for some time. Then there is the character Dante who regularly appears in the storyline of successful books, films and games. Not a pedantic Dante therefore. Still a strong presence in our everyday lives. And a multimedia Dante, like the exhibition we have designed, featuring not only books, but a wide range of items and plenty of audiovisual content, including interactive content. Much of the tour is accompanied by the voices of the great actors that have been involved in the readings known as lectura Dantis. Because, as Jorge Luis Borges said, “in Dante, as in Shakespeare, then music follows the emotions: the intonation and accent are what count the most, every phrase must be read and is read aloud”. The exhibition layout is divided into rooms, each of which is dedicated to specific aspects of this particular history.

The exhibition is linked to a contemporary art show, curated by Giorgia Salerno. This features works by contemporaryartists selected for their conceptual affinity with Dante’s work, with key themes such as souls, women, dreams, journeys and light. An immersion in Dante in which every theme depicted in the workscontains references to places and people in Dante’s work and in his Divine Comedy. On show are international artists of the calibre of Edoardo Tresoldi, Irma Blank, Tomaso Binga, Richard Long, Kiki Smith, Rä di Martino, Elisa Montessori, Letizia Battaglia, Robert Rauschenberg, Gilberto Zorio.

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