Victoria Lomasko in Brescia Oggi

'From Badiucao to Victoria Lomasko: the torch changes hands in Brescia' by Sara Centenari

07 October 2022 First symbolic exchange between the Chinese performer and the Russian dissident: public talk introducing the new exhibition.


Such a non-rhetorical, sensible and topical passing of the baton as that which took place yesterday morning in Brescia between the Chinese artist Badiucao and his dissident colleague Victoria Lomasko had rarely been seen. Not least because, as Elettra Stamboulis, the curator of these exhibition projects gathered under the name "Art and Rights", pointed out in the Sala Giudici in Palazzo Loggia, although there are still artists who are 'courtiers of power' even today - in both democratic systems and authoritarian regimes - there is no doubt that the true expressive need of contemporary art is now to keep the light on rights alive.


In this direction, the Municipality of Brescia, Fondazione Brescia Musei and Festival della Pace are pulling straight ahead: this is the third important episode after "We will also have better days - Works from Turkish prisons" by the artist Zehra Dogan in 2019 and "China is not near - Works by a dissident artist" by Badiucao in 2021, with the attendant diplomatic turmoil. Now the spotlight will be on Victoria Lomasko's brilliant intelligence: big eyes like beacons of light on a lean body that conveys tenacity and steadiness, as it did yesterday in her dialogues with journalists.


A project that began long before 24 February 2022
"Despite the international current events, we have managed to fulfil our commitments to 'Art and Rights'," remarked the director of Brescia Musei Stefano Karadjov, adding that "in its very installation, the exhibition will itself be a work of art". A project that began long before the dramatic February of this year. From Friday 11 November 2022 to Sunday 8 January 2023 the Museo di Santa Giulia will host for the first time in Italy the solo exhibition of the dissident artist, who left Russia last March after the invasion of Ukraine. 'The Last Soviet Artist' will open the Brescia Peace Festival. This is a great triptych on civil, political, and artistic freedom in the world, because as the deputy mayor and councillor for culture Laura Castelletti emphasises, 'reaffirming that the city wants to be the capital of rights, in defence of democracy and in opposition to dictatorships, is even more important in 2023 as the capital of culture with Bergamo'. And the date of 12 October is a fixed point in the discourse: in fact, on Wednesday at 6.00 p.m., a talk open to the public will be held at Palazzo Loggia, in the Vanvitelliano salon, precisely to present the exhibition and the stylistic signature of the author, performer and also writer.


12 October and the precedent with Turkish artist Zehra Dogan
It was on that date that Zehra Dogan created the work in the Brescia museum in which she portrayed the Syrian Kurdish activist Hevrin Khalaf, slaughtered on the border with Turkey. And now, on the 12th of this month, before the talk, the work that Badiucao donated to Brescia Musei will be unveiled in the office of the President of the City Council and the Peace Festival, Roberto Cammarata. "Unfortunately for the first time the artist we are hosting comes from a country at war. In the past we could talk about oblique participation in conflicts,' explains Cammarata, 'now we are talking about the invasion of Ukraine. And in doing so we take up Mattarella's beautiful statement in Assisi: peace, freedom, democracy and justice are defended with means of peace, freedom, democracy and justice'. Means 'consistent with the ends'. On that day, Victoria Lomasko and Badiucao will be present in the hall, as they were yesterday, for the handover, which during the dialogue with the citizenship will demonstrate all its concrete and symbolic value. Badiucao arrived from Australia for this purpose. Incursions into the contemporary are of two different types, recalls Francesca Bazoli, president of Fbm. "There is the archaeological contemporary that resemantises our classical heritage, as in the case of Isgrò's exhibition. And there is this other great strand. Just think of the Venice Biennale, to understand the centrality of a discourse that allows dissidents to express themselves as artists'.


Mayor Del Bono: "Human rights are inalienable and not concessions of states".

"We need to turn on many beacons, shine a lot of light," recalls mayor Emilio Del Bono, who cited La Pira, Rosmini and Pope Francis to reiterate that "human rights are inalienable and not concessions of States. After the abyss of the Second World War it seemed impossible "but what is written in the 1948 Declaration is taken with a pike. Therefore what is being done in Brescia has great historical value: these exhibitions will not quickly pass into oblivion'.

7 October 2022
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