May 23, 2016 - May 28, 2016

Imago Mundi: The Art of Humanity at The Pratt Institute

Imago Mundi

PRATT INSTITUTE THE RUBELLE AND NORMAN SCHFLER GALLERY

New York, May 23, 2016. A journey beyond the appearance of trivial judgements on people and places in a continuously changing world. This is the direction in which we are taken by Imago Mundi, the cultural, democratic and global non-profit project created and driven by Luciano Benetton. All this will be on view in the exhibition The Art of Humanity from May 23 to 28, 2016 at the Pratt Institute in New York, one of the most prestigious universities in the world for the Arts, Architecture and Design.

140 works that Imago Mundi collected between the spring and summer of 2015 thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of a tenacious and courageous human chain. A unique collection that, right from its title, tells the story of a Syria that exceeds the boundaries of common perceptions and the news reports: war, destruction, refugees pressing at our borders. For beyond this physical and metaphorical frame is a country that responds to the conflicts and the paralysis of diplomacy with the force of beauty, with the vital passion of art. There are painters, illustrators, cartoonists, photographers, poets, calligraphers, actors and theatre directors, street artists and video makers who still explore, see and express themselves. And above all they create, even without electric lighting, even under the bombardments, to bring us an extraordinary culture and the hopes, but also the pain, of a people who want to cease being the victim and become instead the protagonist of their own fate.

A collection of 160 works that brings together the creativity of emerging Israeli talents and established masters of colour, and a group of Palestinian artists with Israeli citizenship. A unique collection, polyphonic, vital, at times bold, that captures the originality and value of the Israeli culture and its artistic production. And it demonstrates how this dusty, disputed land, where olive groves have always grown, is also overflowing with the colours of art.

Filmmakers, video artists, photographers, illustrators, musicians, painters: a new platform of established and emerging talent confronts an ecological crisis that appears to outweigh any relevance of art or culture in our society. A collective declaration signed by 270 artists - in the name of diversity and freedom of expression - to try to discover how to deconstruct our powerful, individual identities for the sake of the larger community.

Imago Mundi showcases contemporary Italian art. The works of 420 artists - maestros and talented young painters, but also architects, designers, photographers, publicists, musicians, actors – brought together in the two volumes of the collection curated by Luca Beatrice to compose a vibrant and generous mosaic that criss-crosses the Bel Paese from north to south and from east to west. Commitment, sensitivity, spirit of discovery and the courage to look ahead: with pride in an unrepeatable tradition its starting point, Praestigium is above all the extraordinary representation of a future. A new artistic, social and moral vision that Italy can and must show to the world.

Imago Mundi showcases contemporary Italian art. The works of 420 artists - maestros and talented young painters, but also architects, designers, photographers, publicists, musicians, actors – brought together in the two volumes of the collection curated by Luca Beatrice to compose a vibrant and generous mosaic that criss-crosses the Bel Paese from north to south and from east to west. Commitment, sensitivity, spirit of discovery and the courage to look ahead: with pride in an unrepeatable tradition its starting point, Praestigium is above all the extraordinary representation of a future. A new artistic, social and moral vision that Italy can and must show to the world.

Two hundred small canvases like two hundred windows – real, not virtual - wide open on the Chinese contemporary art scene. A reality in which themes, aesthetic codes, formal solutions and expressive techniques, even the materials used, express a world in ferment, capable of offering extraordinary insights and reflections on the acute tensions in the relationship between individuals and society. An overview that brings together the works of established and emerging artists, of every background and age, not only from Beijing, the epicentre of the immense and explosive Chinese figurative scene, but from every region of this great country.

The only collection of its kind in the world, unprecedented for the extraordinary quality and quantity of the artworks collected. A vibrant and dynamic portrait of Tibet, its spirituality, philosophy, tradition and culture through the paintings of 143 artists, emerging artists and established masters, citizens of the "Roof of the World" or living far from its mountainous, challenging routes. A collection that testifies to a new fusion of innovation and artistic tradition - pop icons and comics alongside traditional Buddhist iconography - and brings to the world nature and poetry, the souls of many lives, beauty, commitment and, above all, freedom, vision, harmony and peace.

Elegance, refinement and emotion in a mosaic that reflects a country where the harmonious wellbeing of the whole is more highly valued than individual affirmation. The small format of the works created for this collection by 207 established and emerging artists reflects a peculiarity of Japanese culture: the recognition of beauty in small things - in bonsai and haiku, just as in hi-tech - and the ability to extract the essence of things, compacting their form.

A collection of contemporary art that is also a profound, complex, contradictory and fascinating interpretation of Iranian society: 149 works that bear witness to and confirm the growing international interest in Iranian painting, photography, sculpture and illustration. The artists are young or well established, men and women, with different personalities and expressive worlds but with a common thread: the desire to reconcile the past with a present that is poised between the desire to modernize and the will to safeguard Islamic cultural and religious traditions. It is an intricate path that unites millennialcreative energies and openness towards globality, simultaneously communicating a bond with the homeland and an aspiration for change.

The extraordinary pictorial culture of a people hidden for too long, who use art to proudly assert the dynamism, vitality and beauty of a mystical, dreamlike tradition. The 216 works collected in this volume provide unprecedented testimony to a unique figurative poetry, a visionary journey amidst the colours of the desert landscape through the eyes of affirmed artists such as Tommy Watson or Mrs. Bennett, alongside many others who are less well known. A new abstractionism that to some extent has been overlooked in the West.

The different colours of the South African rainbow, highlighted by the works of 211 artists, often far apart in age, training, cultural experience, career progression. An extraordinary artistic potential that is embodied in this unique collection with a variety of techniques - from oil to acrylic, from wool and silk to materials in everyday use - and subjects: social and personal themes, intimate human loneliness and universal nature, the harshness of living conditions and echoes of revolution. "We are all meant to shine," said Mandela in his inaugural speech of 1994. Art can help us shed some light: on ourselves and those around us.

A whirl of vitality, an artistic landscape that juxtaposes techniques, models, materials, ambitions. Turbulent creative contrasts emerge from the more than 250 works in this collection, a still shot of the reality of contemporary Tunisia. The singular style of painters, committed artists who each and every day question their present: with women in the front line, the new guardians of the political, historical, social and cultural exception in Tunisia.

Contemporary Egyptian art through the eyes of 210 established masters and emerging talents. A complex and courageous vision, protagonist of that part of the Arab world that has developed, over time, the deepest relationship with Western art forms. Impressionism, surrealism, abstract art are entwined with a profound pursuit of the local identity, both ancient and modern. A pictorial culture that is eclectic, lively and light, but also capable of pointing a finger at the country’s contradictions, exploring forms, people, weaknesses, beliefs and hopes, with languages ​​that speak of the future.

A new South American chapter for Imago Mundi that pays tribute to the art of Chile: 170 works by painters, illustrators, photographers, sculptors, textile artists, new-media artists, engravers, watercolourists, testifying to the extraordinary originality of the cultural scene of the country and the profoundness of its soul. The works vary in inspiration and theme - faces, landscapes, Eros, visions, abstractions, provocations, myths - but are united by an intense expressive participation. An overview from the peaks of a continent that reflects the beauty of the "dulce patria" celebrated by Pablo Neruda: "The earth, my earth, my mud, the bloody light of a volcanic dawn, the claudicant peace of the day and the night of earthquakes."

A journey through contemporary Afghan art. 142 paintings, the work of established and emerging artists. Painters, graphic artists, miniaturists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, poets, who together bear witness to the extraordinary strength and freedom of artistic expression even in the uncertainty of a tormented country, struggling with the old and new devastation, both material and psychological, of a conflict that prevents the design of a future. Suggestions, inspirations, creative allusions that alongside the traditional symbols - the burqa, the sport of buzkashi, poets and saints, the Buddhas of Bamiyan, landscapes, scenes of the markets - inspire new energetic, colourful, vital visions, opposing an unstable future and, as such, still Untitled.

Through 3,000 works by artists from 14 countries and every continent, an extract of a collection that has now passed the 100-nation milestone, we will discover hidden and surprising truths. There is a Syria that is not just war, drama and refugees, but a desperately progressive society and heir to a great civilization. An Israel that goes beyond the memory of the Holocaust and the struggle for its very existence, projecting itself in a stimulating cultural laboratory. A United States that questions the survival of the American dream, generating new energy and experimentation. An Italy that does not limit itself to exploiting the residues of its rich and extensive history, but is committed to a widespread search for new and dynamic experiences.


And we also find similar considerations, and wonderment at the unexpected, in each of the other artistic realities explored: Australia/Aboriginal Art (Oceania); Afghanistan, China, Japan, Iran, Tibet (Asia); Chile (Americas), Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia (Africa). Each time, in each work, despite, and indeed thanks to, the small 10x12 cm format, we will discover the beating heart of avant-garde movements that are often concealed but which consistently possess an immense driving force.

 “In a place of excellence in artistic instruction like the Pratt Institute - said Luciano Benetton - we aim to show the world as we would like it to be: colorful, in peace and without walls. Our idea of ​​art generates dialogue between different visions and poetics, it builds bridges between conflicting ideologies and faiths: ‘unity in diversity’, as augured by the prophetic German artist Joseph Beuys.”

Delfina Roybal and Evan Lagache at the opening of Imago Mundi exhibition "The Art of Humanity at The Pratt Institute"

Artist Tenzing Rigdol, curator Paola Vanzo and artist Chungpo Tsering at the opening of Imago Mundi exhibition "The Art of Humanity at The Pratt Institute"

Eleanor Heartney, April Anne Johnson, Thyra Kally at the opening of Imago Mundi exhibition "The Art of Humanity at The Pratt Institute"

Brad Hasse and Valentina Pozzoni at the opening of Imago Mundi exhibition "The Art of Humanity at The Pratt Institute"

Pakistani artist Shahzia Sikander and Brooklyn Rail editor Phong Bui at the opening of Imago Mundi exhibition "The Art of Humanity at The Pratt Institute"

Chilean artist Paula Garrido Miranda at the opening of Imago Mundi exhibition "The Art of Humanity at The Pratt Institute"

Syrian artist Kevork Mourad at the opening of Imago Mundi exhibition "The Art of Humanity at The Pratt Institute"

Credits: Story

Imago mundi is a non-profit project sponsored by Luciano Benetton under the auspices of La Fondazione Benetton Studi e Ricerche.
The set, designed by Tobia Scarpa, is curated by Fabrica

Catalogs are curated by the editorial department of Fabrica, directed by Enrico Bossan

Art directors:
Marcello Piccinini
Namyoung An
Daniele Tonon

Photography and Video:
Marco Pavan
Marco Zanin

External Relations: director Martina Fornasaro
Texts: Pietro Valdatta and Emma Cole
Organizing Committee: Valentina Granzotto

Digital and Social Media department:
Digital Director: Valentina Pozzoni
Digital and Community consultant: Anita Falcetta
Digital Assistant: Livia Pozzoni

Digital creative agency imagomundiart.com: North Kingdom

Special thanks to:
All the artists and the curators of Imago Mundi
Laura Pollini
Carlo Tunioli

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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