The title of the exhibition 'Good and Bad Government' refers to the Ambrogio Lorenzetti mural (see below). Lorenzetti's task was unprecedented, for the local council called upon him to paint allegorical depictions of good and bad government and to represent the effects such regimes would have in the town and the country. The result is the first panoramic city/countryscape since antiquity, and the first expansive portrait that we have of an actual city and landscape. Lorenzetti fused the topographical, the symbolic and transcendent in his vision.
These frescoes embrace the city and the wider country and the links between them, the vitality and humanity but also the huge social problems faced. The murals are a touchstone for this collaborative project which is co-curated by the artists who will visit Siena to ignite opportunities for direct emotional engagement with the frescoes.
Artists Andrea McLean, Victoria Rance, Timothy Hyman, Michael Johnson and Frank Creber have spent many happy hours, working alongside their communities, at the bottom of the telescope looking upwards at the machinery of government. Their diverse works tell a story about how the messy detail of a citizens lives are inextricably linked to the broader narrative of history, politics and belief systems. The show features images of the built environment and our complex engagement with nature.
The artists, who will make new work for this exhibition, share an affinity with each other’s work, and have a connection based on a deep commitment to observe and narrate personal chronicles about the social and physical landscape of their neighbourhoods.