Festival of Foreign Academies and Cultural Institutes

May 7 > August 25, 2024

Curated by Lorenzo Benedetti
in collaboration with Francesca Campana

Exhibition promoted by Rome the Capital City's Cultural Affairs Department and the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo

Organised by the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo in conjunction with 
Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma, Accademia di Danimarca, Académie de France à Rome – Villa Médicis, Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Accademia di Romania in Roma, Accademia Tedesca Roma Villa Massimo, Accademia d'Ungheria in Roma, Accademia dei Virtuosi al Pantheon, American Academy in Rome, British School at Rome, Circolo Scandinavo, Complesso monumentale di San Salvatore in Lauro, Forum Austriaco di Cultura, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, Istituto Culturale Coreano, Istituto Giapponese di Cultura, Istituto Polacco di Roma, Istituto Svizzero, Museo Casa di Goethe, Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, Real Academia de España en Roma.
Artists: Kamrooz Aram, Ane Rodriguez Armendariz, Séverine Ballon, Jacopo Belloni, Alix Boillot, Susanne Brorson, Fatma Bucak, Pedro Luis Cembranos, Zachary Fabri, Hamedine Kane, Kapwani Kiwanga, Bjørn Melhus, Marko Nikodijevic, Tura Oliveira, Estefania Puerta Grisales, Chloé Quenum, Marie Robert, Sarina Scheidegger


EXPODEMIC Festival of Foreign Academies and Cultural Institutes7 May__25 August 2024

Expodemic is the second edition of the Festival of Foreign Academies and Cultural Institutes in Rome designed to spread out from the Palazzo Esposizioni Roma into the fabric of the city.

The exhibition recounts the close bond between the founding and development of exhibitions and the history of the academies, both through the involvement of foreign artists currently resident in the city and through historical documents.

Rome not only hosts the largest number of international cultural centres whose intertwined stories date back to 1666 with the founding of the Académie de France, it is also the city in which the modern concept of the exhibition was first developed. For over forty years, from 1680 to 1720, Giuseppe Ghezzi, a painter, the Secretary of the Accademia di San Luca and the regent of the Congregation of the Virtuous at the Pantheon, organised a series of important exhibitions in the monumental complex of San Salvatore in Lauro, showcasing artworks from the collections of Rome’s aristocratic families and thus forging the concept of the modern exhibition. Thanks to his ability to understand his own period in history, Ghezzi made art public through his series of exhibitions, developing a modern and democratic notion of culture and, in effect, playing the role of history’s first modern curator.

Expodemic sets out from the Palazzo Esposizioni exhibition to spread throughout the city with a series of posters specially produced for the occasion and distributed free of charge in its cultural partners’ various venues. The exhibition aims to illustrate the importance of the deep-rooted bond between the Palazzo delle Esposizioni and Rome’s Foreign Academies and Cultural Institutions, highlighting that cultural archipelago’s richness and diversity as well as its ongoing role, so crucial and relevant to our own time.

The exhibition also includes a public programme of encounters, performances and screenings hosted at Palazzo Esposizioni in addition to numerous exhibitions and events organised in the Academies and Cultural Institutes themselves.

3500 cm2
Project for an artist’s poster

3500 cm2 is the area expressed in square centimetres available to an artist to produce a 50 x 70 cm poster tasked with disseminating the language of contemporary art among a vaster and more varied audience than customarily visits exhibitions. The posters are distributed free of charge, in several hundred copies, to all visitors to Expodemic, the Festival of Foreign Academies and Cultural Institutes that is hosted in the Palazzo Esposizioni but that is disseminated through the tight network of Academies and Institutes in Rome.

3500 cm2 is an exhibition without barriers of space or time that develops in the city’s fabric in a novel way, with the intention of building a cultural platform capable of expanding art’s potential for communication in an alternative format based on interaction between the artist, the institution and the audience. The exhibition develops along two lines: uniqueness (the original artwork created by the artist subscribing to the project) and repetition (the multiplication of that artwork for everyone visiting the venue). 3500 cm2 interacts with a broad audience while maintaining a high standard of artistic quality and constantly creating new "visitor/collectors" sensitive to the language of art.

Giuseppe Ghezzi

A central figure in Rome in the late Baroque era, Ghezzi may be considered the first exhibition curator of the modern age. A painter and writer, he was born in Comunanza in 1634 and settled in Rome at the age of eighteen. His career is a complex tangle of various disciplines including painter, restorer and copyist, as well as writer and evaluator of works of art. He played a crucial role in the leading academies of his day, as Regent of the Confraternita dei Virtuosi at the Pantheon and Secretary of the Accademia di San Luca, while in his capacity as a writer he was also a member of the Accademia dell’Arcadia. Every year from 1680 to 1720 he produced an exhibition in the monumental complex of San Salvatore in Lauro, opening to the public the treasures jealously guarded hitherto in numerous collections of paintings in Rome, thus offering the local community the opportunity to admire some of the greatest masterpieces of Italian painting of the previous two centuries. In addition to realising the potential of a new kind of audience and of thus defining the concept of an exhibition as we understand it today, Ghezzi also devised the notion of a purpose-built public exhibition space. After his death in 1721, it was to be over a century and a half before the opening of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in 1883 provided Rome with another building purpose-designed to host exhibitions.

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