Una Boccata d’Arte 2022, Diana Policarpo, Hyperbolic Dreams, Montegridolfo (RN), Emilia–Romagna. Courtesy: Fondazione Elpis. Ph Gionata Possenti e Alessandro Rinaldi
Diana Policarpo is a visual artist and composer working in visual and musical media including drawing, video, sculpture, text, performance, and multi-channel sound installation. Policarpo investigates gender politics, economic structures, health and interspecies relations through speculative transdisciplinary research. She creates performances and installations to examine experiences of vulnerability and empowerment associated with acts of exposing oneself to the capitalist world.
Her work has been exhibited worldwide including solo presentations at Kunsthall Trondheim; Galeria Municipal do Porto; Centro de Artes Visuais, Coimbra; Galeria Lehmman + Silva, Porto; Belo Campo/Galeria Francisco Fino, Lisbon; GNRtion, Braga; lAB Artists Unlimited, Bielefeld; Kunstverein Leipzig; Xero, Kline and Coma, London; Kunsthall Baden-Baden among others. Policarpo has recently exhibited, performed and screened her work at st_age (Thyssen- Bornemisza Art Contemporary); Maus Hábitos, Porto; Interstício, London; Nottingham Contemporary; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas (MACE); ARCOmadrid; Chiado 8, Lisbon; Kunsthall Oslo (with Marie Kolbæk Iversen); LUX – Moving Image, London; Cafe OTO, London; Guest Projects, London; Tenderpixel, London; Shau Fenster, Berlin; Mars Gallery, Melbourne; Peninsula Gallery, New York; Insitute of Contemporary Arts, London and W139, Amsterdam. Policarpo was the winner of Prémio Novos Artistas Fundação EDP 2019, and of the 21st edition of the Illy Present Future Prize in 2021.
Diana Policarpo’s project in Montegridolfo is coordinated by Elisabetta Negroni.
text by Elisabetta Negroni
Hyperbolic Dreams by Diana Policarpo is an invitation to walk, listen and look curiously, attentively and committedly to the environment that surrounds, houses us and constitutes us in Montegridolfo, Emilia- Romagna. The project is presented in two moments and consists of a sculptural gate positioned inside the niche at the entrance of the ancient castle gate. The iron bars within the frame of the gate form simple and delicate drawings, archaic shapes of elements and nature, developing all the way to the top of the gate almost touching the roof of the niche.
The second one, instead, proposes a series of botanical guided walks along a trekking route in the territory of Montegridolfo, just down the hill of the castle. During the walk, visitors are accompanied by the hiking local guide Gianni Grilli, who will teach visitors about plants, herbs and anecdotes regarding the surrounding nature and historical places. Sonic scores designed by the artist will provide a non- conventional and meditative input on how to explore the landscape during the walk.
The knowledge of the role of ergot fungus that grows on wheat and which can give hallucinations if eaten, and learning about local herbs as medicine, held and passed by women and holders of traditional knowledge throughout generations, became largely lost as modern medical science advanced. This project taps into stories of healing and connecting with the land, from botanical trade to historical events in that region and beyond. Montegridolfo bears tragic moments in its recent history, being precisely positioned on the military Gothic Line during WWII; however, inspired by the natural beauty surrounding the village and the energy of its territory’s agricultural activity, the artist acknowledges the present with deep fascination for its landscape and the power of nature – providing visitors and Montegridolfo itself with a different viewpoint of its narrativity.
Una Boccata d’Arte 2022, il borgo di Montegridolfo (RN), Emilia Romagna. Courtesy: Fondazione Elpis. Ph Gionata Possenti e Alessandro Rinaldi
Montegridolfo is an enchanting border village, of about 1000 inhabitants, in the province of Rimini. At one time, it was the first Bastion of the Malatesta Lordship against the Duchy of Urbino. Now, it is on the border of Emilia-Romagna and the Marches. It gets endearingly called a “Marchignolo municipality”, combining the names of the two regions. Being in between the Conca and Foglia valleys means the village has a unique identity where history and landscape merge with man’s work and culture. In 1548, the Madonna appeared in the surrounding countryside where she rested on the millstone of an oil mill as a sign of belonging to the community. This tale is told in the large altarpiece at the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin in Trebbio. From that painting, we discover the Castle and the surrounding countryside; an unchanged landscape that’s subject to protection by the ministerial decree of 1976. From whatever standpoint, the Castle of Montegridolfo appears as an ark floating on a sea of green; the neighbouring fields frame the castle, appearing as pieces of a mosaic. The walls that protect the town, behind which lies a tower or strut attributed to Francesco di Giorgio Martini, lead to the spectacular entrance way to the village that is marked by the large civic tower. After crossing the threshold of the village, you encounter a succession of narrow streets and alleys that offer picturesque views of the houses and hills and on the horizon, the sea. From here, you can see the whole coast starting from Cervia, passing through Cesenatico and Rimini, up to Cattolica before continuing on to Gradara and Pesaro. In the 1990s, the old Malatesta village was carefully renovated through a restoration promoted by the stylist Alberta Ferretti.