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HOME | Visual arts | Elena Mazzi: Atlante Energetico

Elena Mazzi: Atlante Energetico

The Fondazione Spinola Banna per l’Arte and the GAM Galleria Arte Moderna e Contemporanea of Turin announce a three-year collaboration project which, promoted thanks to the contribution of the Compagnia di San Paolo, brings together two cultural excellences of the Piedmont territory: one private and one public institution.

The GAM and the Fondazione Spinola si will be offered as venues for the exchange of ideas, but also of forms of experimentation and verification which are expressed through workshops, exhibitions, conferences, performances and a final publication.

The aim is thereby to re-launch the residency programme dedicated to young artists, a programme promoted over the last ten years by the Fondazione Spinola.

Through a shared project, every year the theme will be proposed by an artist, invited jointly by both institutions, who in the role of tutor will outline a project and a working schedule to be implemented between the following autumn and spring, in both venues.

The residential workshop at the Fondazione Spinola Banna will be split up every year into three phases: the first destined to research and analysis into the theme proposed, with the help of experts from around the world; the second aimed at the analysis of the projects developed by the participants, and the last dedicated to the exhibition of the completed works.

For the year 2016/17, the artist/tutor invited is Elena Mazzi with a project entitled Atlante Energetico.

The Atlante Energetico project unfolds along various paths which continually overlap and dialogue with one another. It takes place in two main venues: the GAM in Turin and the Fondazione Spinola Banna.

The main theme to be investigated is that of energy, which is declined here in various aspects involving the Piedmontese territory, its landscape and one of its key food sources: rice. Rice is life, and it has long shaped the cultures, economies and eating habits of various countries around the world. Originating largely in the valleys of Asia (in particular of South-East Asia) and only later exported to other continents, rice now provides 21% of the energy used by human beings. There are a huge number of varieties, and can grow in wet, humid conditions were other crops would not survive. Rice fields, of which there are plenty in Piedmont, are complex and delicate biological environments. Man models them, often altering their equilibria. rice fields are actually fascinating places, which shed their ‘skin’ throughout the various phases of the year: from the spring with its watery surface reflecting the world, to the autumn, coloured with golden plants. The main Piedmontese rice fields are to be found between Vercelli and Novara, and were the stage of key moments in 20th-century history, when women came to work as mondine (rice pickers) from all over the North of Italy. This was the stage of the first female workers’ struggles. For many of them, going to work in the paddy fields was the only experience of a journey that would take them away from their families, into a different context: one of hard labour but also of conviviality and sharing.


The experience with students at the Fondazione Spinola Banna will be split into two events of three days each, foreseeing a study of the territory of the rice fields and a dialogue on the themes of energy, food, environment and territory including the participation of external guests (like the curator Caroline Malmstrom and the artist Signe Johannesen, who worked with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Environmental Team – Centre for Island Ecology
The rice fields will constitute a pretext to talk about an anthropological, social and scientific approach towards a complex territory. What is proposed is an articulated analysis, a methodology of planning work examining various perspectives of action undertaken with a view to understanding, safeguarding and narrating the territory. The two stages of residency and workshop in the autumn of 2016 and spring 2017 will provide the opportunity to put together an exhibition and a publication offering an account of the experience and the dialogue developed over the months.


Alongside the programme developed for the Fondazione Spinola Banna, the GAM in Turin will host a series of interventions of various kinds, such as conferences, performances, screenings and readings which will involve experts from the sector such as Leone Contini, anthropologist and artist, and the scholars of the research workshop Iris – the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research into Sustainability of Turin.

The programme will respect the following schedule:

From 27 to 30 October 2016 WORKSHOP (First Stage)

at the Fondazione Spinola

6 November 2016, project presentation at the GAM, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin

From 31 March to 3 April 2017, WORKSHOP (Second Stage)

at the Fondazione Spinola

The opening of the final show and the presentation of the publication will follow

From November 2016 to Maggio 2017 at the GAM, a series of meetings, conferences and performances dedicated to the theme of the project is foreseen.

download the press release

Download the call for tender 2016

The call for the residency project was won by: Paola Pasquaretta (born in 1987), Nadia Pugliese (born in 1981), Fabio Roncato (born in 1982), Silvia Rossi (born in 1983) and Chiara Sgaramella (born in 1982).

Elena Mazzi: Atlante Energetico

Elena Mazzi was born in 1984 in Reggio Emilia (Italy). She received her BFA in 2007 in History of Art from Siena University, and her MFA in 2011 in Visual Art from IUAV, Venice University. She was selected for an exchange program at Royal Academy of Art (Konsthogskolan) of Stockholm. She participated in different solo and collective exhibitions in Italy and abroad. Since 2011 she attended different residency programs and workshops such as HIAP (FIN), Via Farini (IT), Guilmi Art Project (IT), Foundacion Botin (SP), Bevilacqua La Masa (IT), Fondazione Spinola Banna (IT), Dolomiti contemporanee (IT), Botkyrka Konsthall Air (SE). She is one of the finalists at Termoli Prize, Celeste Prize, Fabbri prize, Meru prize. In 2015 she is invited to participate in the 14° Istanbul Biennal, winning Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo prize, and to the 17° Mediterranean Biennal winning the Antwork prize, and again in the same year she assisted and performed for artist Joan Jonas. In 2016 she is invited to participate at the 16°Quadriennale di Roma, she wins the Illy cafè prize for a residency program at Fondazione Pistoletto and she receives a special mention for 'Arte, Patrimonio e Diritti Umani'prize given by Connecting Cultures association.
Elena Mazzi currently lives and works in Venice.

Her poetics deals with the relationship between man and the environment in which he lives and with which he must reckon on a daily basis. This analysis, which often follows an anthropological approach, investigates and documents an identity which is at the same time personal and collective, relating to a specific territory, and giving rise to forms of exchange and transformation.