For immediate release
Contact: Arica Hilton
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CHICAGO – Hillary Rodham Clinton, then Secretary of State, declared 2013 as the Year of Italian Culture in the United States in honor of Italy’s immense cultural legacy in the arts, sciences and design. The Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago (ICIC) will partner with Chicago The Field Museum to celebrate Italian culture in Chicago by bringing significant cultural events to the city in June 2013, featuring some of today’s most important Italian visual and performing artists.
ICIC will present “Divina Natura,” an immersive installation that projects poetic illuminations inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy” on the façade of The Field Museum for one-night-only, Monday, June 24. Created by acclaimed artist Marco Nereo Rotelli, best known for his large-scale installations at past editions of the Venice Biennale, “Divina Natura,” will bring together light projections, music, text and performance using classical and contemporary poetry.
Marco Nereo Rotelli will transform the exterior of the Field Museum into an enormous illuminated manuscript inspired by the universe of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem, “The Divine Comedy,” widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature. Colorful projected images and poetry will interact with the building’s classical architectural elements, taking attendees on an hour-long voyage that delves into the mind of the medieval Italian poet and his struggle through the sinful circles of hell in the “Inferno,” the first section of the poem. During the luminous event, the massive projection on the north and west façade of the Field Museum will be visible from nearby streets, buildings, parks and even aircrafts. Planned to correspond with the summer solstice, the hour-long light and music spectacular will begin at 9:30 p.m.
Rotelli will adapt an array of text, numerology and symbols from Dante’s master work, “The Inferno,” including the allegorical animals that represent different categories of carnal sin. In Dante’s poem, the leopard, lion and wolf connote fraud, deceit, violence, ambition and lust – universal vices that will be depicted by Rotelli as he examines how their relation to present-day life.
A selection of unique compositions from elite contemporary poets and musicians will shape “Divina Natura” and add to Rotelli’s already spectacular visual display. The poets, selected by artist Arica Hilton, will each choose a key verse from Dante to develop a contemporary work that resonates with today’s audience. The sonic atmosphere will be curated by Alessandra Visconti, and will include musical performances by soprano Karolina Dvorakova and a soundtrack by Adrian Leverkuhn and Thomas Masters.
OPENING RECEPTION for EXHIBITION OF PAINTINGS & DRAWINGS at HILTON | ASMUS CONTEMPORARY JUNE 28
Following the event at the FIELD MUSEUM, HILTON | ASMUS CONTEMPORARY will showcase paintings and drawings created for the Field Museum installation. The show will consist of paintings in various languages, such as the lost language of the Rapa Nui on Easter Island, to Arabic, English, Italian and hieroglyphic language that was created by Rotelli himself. The drawings are the architectural working sketches of the FIELD MUSEUM installation which shows the illumination process.
Opening reception for an exhibition of Rotelli’s paintings & drawings will be at River North gallery, HILTON | ASMUS CONTEMPORARY, 716 N. Wells Street, Chicago. The gallery will also continue the Field Museum poetry readings throughout the month of June and July.
Arica Hilton, formerly the president of the Poetry Center of Chicago, was asked to curate the poets. The poets were selected according to their excellence in poetry. They will recite their poems in English and in their native language. Each one has an important relationship to the project.
1. Ana Castillo (Spanish)
2. Giuseppe Conte (Italian)
3. Reginald Gibbons (Portuguese)
4. Osama Esber (Arabic)
5. Arica Hilton (Turkish)
6. Elise Paschen (French)
7. Lia Siomou (Greek)
8. Thomas Haskell Simpson (Italian)
9. Chana Zelig (Hebrew)
In selecting the poets, curator/artist/poet Arica Hilton, formerly the president of the Poetry Center of Chicago, stated “We wanted to capture the essence and spirit of the various cultures, their contemporary concerns, passions, pain, ambitions, dreams and fears. By using Dante’s Inferno as a jumping point, the poets have shown their ability to transcend prejudices, dogmas, and cultural differences by coming together without even knowing each other, and writing poems that will move the human heart and mind to openness.”
In his poem, In the Land of Revelation, Osama Esber, a Syrian poet residing at University of Chicago writes:
You illuminate my words, you inspirer, on the roads of hell.
I read your epic
Bearing on my shoulders the burdens of another hell,
In a country where Divine Revelation chose
To visit in bullets and blades.
My hell is inside me
Exploding the language of the here and now,
Flames rise illuminating the roads of exile.
Chana Zelig, in English and Hebrew writes about limbo. With some of the poems, there is a direct correlation about their lands, their lives, and what it means be an immigrant in America.
I belong here
in this language!”
But I don’t.
My accent betrays me:
pronouncing me in-between.
People come in,
called “Resident Aliens.”
Greek poet, Lia Siomou, writes about her husband’s passing, a poem about travel. Traveling to another form of life. Death. And she asks him to:
“Take me, on the old boat that softly
Traverses the cool Lake waters to the shore across
The ores are so silent, the waters so still
And you, so invisible, so motionless to all
You stare at the Hades navigating in calm
Your past and your present far away, so far.
Rotelli was born in Venice in 1955. There, he obtained a degree in architecture and researched light and the poetic dimension for many years, and by consequence has collaborated with philosophers, musicians, photographers and film directors in his work, which never strayed from the core relationship between art and poetry. Today, he is known as the one of the foremost contemporary artists working with light and has realized major installations around the world in major cities like Paris, Rome, Naples, Beijing and London. Milan’s Art Project Cultural Association, the group he founded in 2000, is composed of young artists and architects with whom he constructs numerous interventions and urban installation projects.
Large-scale pieces of Rotelli’s include: an installation on the Petit Palais’ façade in Paris composed of verses by Baudelaire; “Bunker Poetico” at the 49th Venice Biennale; the transformation of a rock quarry into a marble book, at the 11th Biennale di Scultura in Carrera; a landscape installation “Poetry for Peace” in Seoul’s World Cup Park; an installation on San Secondo Island in the Venetian lagoon for the 51st Venice Biennale; a permanent installation for the Living Theatre in New York, dedicated to the Beat Generation; and “Save the Poetry,” a window display for the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton in Paris. Most recently, Rotelli completed an artist residency at Northwestern University in the fall of 2012, co-sponsored by the Global Languages Initiative, Residential Colleges and the Northwestern Library. Rotelli illuminated the Charles Deering Library accompanied by poets curated by Arica Hilton.
“Divina Natura” is produced by the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago and Milan’s Art Project Cultural Association, a group founded by the artist in 2000, composed of young artists and architects. “Divina Natura” is sponsored by Reda S.P.A., an Italian textile firm founded in 1865.
For more information on events in conjunction with the Year of Italian Culture, contact the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago at 312-822-9545 or visit http://www.iicchicago.esteri.it/IIC_Chicago.
The Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago, founded and directed by Silvio Marchetti, is the cultural office of the Consulate General of Italy in Chicago. Founded in 1985, the Institute is one of five cultural agencies of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the United States and part of 90 institutes worldwide. The Institute serves as a convenient source for information about Italian life and culture and showcases Italy’s classic and contemporary heritage with particular reference to art, music, cinema, design, architecture, science, and technology.
The Field Museum, originally an outgrowth of the World’s Columbian Exposition, was founded in 1893 with the mission of "accumulation and dissemination of knowledge, and the preservation and exhibition of objects illustrating art, archaeology, science and history." It was renamed The Field Museum of Natural History in 1905 and has since become a key resource in Chicago for the natural sciences including anthropology, botany, meteorites and zoology. For more information on the Field Museum, visit fieldmuseum.org or call 312-922-9410.
HILTON | ASMUS CONTEMPORARY specializes in modern and contemporary paintings, works on paper, textiles, sculpture and photography featuring Chicago-based emerging and established artists, as well as internationally known artists from Asia, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean Region such as Turkey, Greece, Italy, and the Middle East. Located in the River North Art District in Chicago, the gallery is at the corner of Wells and Superior, between PROSECCO, a fine dining Italian restaurant and THE BOARDING HOUSE (the new restaurant by Master Sommelier Alpana Singh.)
www.hiltonasmus.com • firstname.lastname@example.org • for more information: 312.852.8200
For press inquiries regarding “Divina Natura” and the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago, please contact Nick Harkin/Mia DiMeo at Carol Fox and Associates 773-327-3830 x 103/101