Forte Marghera Special Project at the 59th Venice Biennale

18 Apr 2022 – 27 Nov 2022

Regular hours

11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00

Free admission

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Forte Marghera

Veneto, Italy

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Elisa Giardina Papa, one of the artists taking part in the International Exhibition (in competition), has been invited by Cecilia Alemani to make a special work in Forte Marghera, in the building called Polveriera austriaca.


Elisa Giardina Papa’s “U Scantu”: A Disorderly Tale (2022) reimagines the Sicilian myth of the donne di fora (“women from the outside and beside themselves”), described in orally passed-down tales as feminine, but also masculine; human, yet part animal; and benevolent, yet vengeful. This video installation – which complements the artist’s presentation at the Corderie in the Arsenale – envisions the donne di fora as teenaged “tuners” who ride bikes customised with powerful sound systems through the abandoned Postmodern architecture of Gibellina Nuova. The ride of the “tuners” is interspersed with text and visual motifs from a 19th-century collection of Sicilian fairy tales, Giardina Papa’s fragmented childhood memories of songs and stories told by her grandmother, and the 16th- and 17th-century Inquisition trials that criminalised women that were believed to be donne di fora. “U Scantu”: A Disorderly Tale repurposes the magical, ritualistic, and fantastical as radical forces that might explode prescribed categories of humanity and womanhood. Displayed in Forte Marghera – a 19th-century gunpowder store built to protect the city of Venice from its explosive contents –, the installation proposes the combustible power hidden in suppressed histories.

Ian Wallace

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Elisa Giardina Papa

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