Contemporary art in historic sites

A conversation between Renato Leotta (artist) and Claudio Gulli (Palazzo Butera Foundation)

In recent years, Renato Leotta has often linked his artistic research with historical places. The restoration site of Palazzo Butera in Palermo, explored as part of Manifesta 12 (2018), is the first episode that will be investigated in the conversation with Claudio Gulli, engaged in Francesca and Massimo Valsecchi’s project. The exploration of a possible recording of Nature proceeds from technique to technique: from the fall of a fruit imprinted on the earth, translated into baked clay to create a floor, to the traces of sea salts on cotton. At the Castello di Rivoli, for the solo exhibition Sole (2020), a light representing an era – the spotlight of a Fiat 500 – undermines the time and identity of an eighteenth-century marble or the Juvarra staircase. Finally, the conversation will find its centre in the Mondo project that involves Leotta and Gulli at Palazzo Biscari in Catania. Here the “gipsoteca” (plaster casts gallery) of Renato Leotta, a production of plaster and sand casts that maps the coasts evoke the section of the naturalia of a lost eighteenth-century museum.


Surfaces in Conservation. Images, identity, aesthetics

In a work of art, the correlation between the media and the expression of its aging may be considered as the function of a relationship established over time, in the dichotomy between authenticity and historicity. In the surfaces of art and architecture, this relationship represents the cultural site where the reflections and shifts in how we think about time take place. There are many physical aspects of this transformation, situated on the edge between cultural proposition and aesthetic experience.
The seminar is a collaboration between Università Iuav di Venezia, the Istituto Centrale del Restauro in Rome (ICR) and the Ministry of Culture (MiC), whose objective is an interdisciplinary consideration of conservation projects as a means (and not only a tool) for aesthetic experience.
The program reflects this theoretical assumption and will be made up of two sessions, considered as intersecting themes, Image and Material in the Work of Art, and Image and Construction in Architecture. Within this discussion, through presentations and conversations addressing the metaphor of surface as cultural project site, the speakers will examine various fields of knowledge – artistic practices, aesthetics, the history of art and art criticism, the history of architecture, theory and history of conservation, conservation techniques, petrology, architectural composition, urban planning, the philosophy of language and linguistic theory, archeology, and engineering as applied to cultural heritage.

Author: Claudio Gulli
Curator, Palazzo Butera Foundation, Palermo

Author: Renato Leotta
Artist, award winner Maxxi Bvlgari Prize 2020

Biography ↗

Surfaces in Conservation. Images, identity, aesthetics

curated by Luigi Ficacci, Emanuela Sorbo, Marco Chiuso


Seminar participants
Fabrizio Antonelli, LAMA Director – Lab for Analysing Materials of Antique Origin – Università Iuav di Venezia; Aldo Aymonino, Department Director – Università Iuav di Venezia; Peregrine Bryant, Director Studio Peregrine Bryant, London; Massimo Carmassi, former Professor Università Iuav di Venezia; Gabriella De Monte; Luigi Ficacci, former Director ICR; Laura Fregolent, Director of Research – Università Iuav di Venezia; Claudio Gulli, Palazzo Butera Foundation, Palermo; Renato Leotta, Artist; Alessandra Marino, ICR Director; Angela Mengoni, Università Iuav di Venezia; Camilla Mileto, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura, Universitat Politècnica de València; Laura Morgante, Studio Peregrine Bryant, London; Simona Sajeva, Engineer, INP (Institut National du Patrimoine); Giorgio Sobrà, SAF – ICR Matera (Scuola di Alta Formazione e studio); Fernando Vegas, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura, Universitat Politècnica de València; Alessandro Viscogliosi, Università La Sapienza, Rome


Technical Team

Sofia Tonello, Gianluca Spironelli, Marco Tosato


Laurel Saint-Pierre

Add contribution

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *