“Within Alterity: Encounters with a Population, a Collection, a Territory” SACI MFA exhibition at MAEC, Cortona

"Dentro L'Alterità" SACI MFA Spring 2014 Exhibition

Within Alterity: Encounters with a Population, a Collection, a Territory

An exhibition of artworks at the Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca in Cortona (MAEC) by students in SACI’s MFA in Studio Art program.

Through July 31, 2014

A very special exhibition opportunity has been arranged for SACI’s first MFA students in conjunction with an exhibition at the Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca in Cortona (MAEC), which features artifacts from Holkham Hall and the British Museum. To both enhance the exhibition and celebrate the foreign connection to Etruscan studies and comprehension, MFA students from SACI presented a multimedia project entitled Within Alterity: Encounters with a Population, a Collection, a Territory.

The project is based on their engagement with the museum and its Etruscan collection, the people of Cortona, and the surrounding region where many Etruscan sites are located.  It culminated in an exhibition of the MFA students’ artworks April 24 – July 31, 2014, inspired by their exposure to Etruscan culture, which is currently at MAEC throughout the spring and summer. Grounded in contemporary art practice, the project offers the students of SACI the possibility to draw inspiration from this seductive past. This opportunity was made possible through the efforts of MFA instructors Karen Yurkovich and Daria Filardo and by the support of MAEC Director Paolo Giulierini and the US Consulate in Florence.

The work realized uses video, drawing, painting and installation, and reflects this exceptional opportunity to confront oneself with a fundamental aspect of Italian culture that was of great importance for young scholars and English explorers 300 years ago. Here are some images from the opening night. Read more information about the exhibition and the museum here.

Christina Gednalske and Radha Tague conducted a performative intervention through threads that bind the inhabitants of Cortona to their museum. The action was documented as it unfolded with photos and videos to testify the relationship between artists and residents.

Emily Blasier has created portraits of people from Cortona and objects of affection attesting to life/ and afterlife. These are placed in the cases of the museum next to objects of worship, demonstrating different memories and deep bonds with similar values persist in the contemporary community of the city.

Molly Di Grazia presents serigraphs depicting maps of the area superimposed on maps of the arm and hand of the artist — interior and exterior territories in search of coincidence and belonging.

Other artists such as Horatio Lizardo Jr., Walker Jernigan, Jessica Daynes, Danielle Shaefer and Gwyneth Alldis worked on the meaning and importance of the collection as a set of knowledge and power that acts by means of the construction of a collective understanding visualized in the ordered accumulation (Michel Foucault).

Horatio Lizardo Jr. displays small terracotta fragments from natural forms (like stones) not attributable to a specific use of any object, covered with wax impressions of his thumbprint. The items refer to the fragmentary nature of the archaeological collection reconstructed in the museum and can be collected by visitors who will experience the sense of touch as the appropriation of an object and the possibility of being part of an ancient memory that persists in the present time.

Walker Jernigan worked on a series of performances that interacted with the collection and the construction of knowledge. His actions aim to interrupt and disturb the vision of the collection in the museum bringing the visitor to a new awareness of the archaeological object. The imagined actions will leave residue of testimonies – drawings, photographs, sounds, objects, odors – that will be experienced in the exhibition.

Jessica Daynes presented a sound installation placed in a pit inside the museum. The noise of the thunder, the call of nature and divination was a fundamental element for the Etruscans; it will be a reminder and an incentive to reconsider the collection not only as ordered set of fragments but as magic intuition.

Gwynneth Alldis has created a work with the materials from Cortona, a table resting on the ground next to the pottery finds from the tombs around the city built with the same material.

Danielle Shaefer interacted with a mosaic floor positioned in an upright position (transformed from a practical object to one of aesthetic contemplation) producing a new floor resting on the ground in continuity with the old one. The floor is constructed from fragments of recycled CDs starting from a central element, an intact CD that contains data on Etruscan culture and Cortona, which expand creating a cosmogony of fragments.

Valerio Giovannini exhibits a selection of matrices in copper ink, reflecting from oxidized copper and referring to the ancient Etruscan mirrors evoking physical presence and otherness.

All artists have dealt with the concept of alterity, both from the point of view of the Grand Tour and as the idea of learning as a fluid path of experience and information. The geography of the area, the current mapping of the territories and the analysis of archaeological and historical sources (such as the organization of the Etruscan Discipline) have become enablers of analysis and artistry on the part of these young explorers.

With the support of the U.S. Consulate General in Florence, Italy.



Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona (MAEC)
Piazza Signorelli 9, Cortona (AR) – ITALY

T. 0575 630415 – 637235

How to get there

Tickets & Reservations
General € 12
Reduced € 9 (group, families, etc.)

General €13
Reduced € 9

US Consulate, Florence

SACI logo

About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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