A Visitor’s Guide for Contemporary Art Installations

Italy is the home of numerous Renaissance artists and their world-famous artworks. Many museums and galleries have been devoted to Renaissance and classical art pieces. However, Italy also expands its art collection to the contemporary period with various installations and exhibits that highlight the aesthetic sensibilities of modern art. Many of the installations are set in venues intended for the spirit of contemporary times like open spaces and avant-garde buildings. In fact, Rome has contributed and paved the way for the contemporary movement in the establishment of the MAXXI and MACRO museums. While in Venice, the Art Biennale is held every two years to celebrate the best in contemporary art.

William Kentridge’s Triumphs and Laments

William Kentridge’s Triumphs and Laments
William Kentridge’s Triumphs and Laments

Along the banks of Rome’s Tiber River is a 500-meter long mural painted on the surrounding retaining wall. The monumental outdoor art project is the creation of a South African artist, William Kentridge. To enjoy the beauty of the artwork, visitors and tourists can choose to explore the paintings while walking along the water’s edge or by admiring them at street level. Walking along beside the mural is like walking back in time as the 80 images portrayed on the walls are the faces of prominent Italian individuals such as Roman emperors, writers, directors, soldiers, and many more. The title of the mural suggests the juxtaposed nature of Rome’s history with its failures and successes, alongside misery and splendor.

Christo’s Floating Piers at Lake Iseo

In 2016, the biggest crowds and expectations from the art community were captured by Christo’s Floating Piers installation at Lake Iseo. The lake is located in Lombardy, a region in northern Italy. The artwork was displayed in the lake for almost a month from June 18th to July 3rd, where it attracted half a million visitors. The art installation also earned publicity since it was the first piece of art made by the artist after the death of his fellow artist, collaborator, and wife. The Floating Piers, recognized internationally for its artistry, is made up of floating walkways that can be distinguished from the crystal blue water since they are covered in bright yellow nylon. Traversing the length of the sidewalk can lead visitors from the banks of the town of Sulzano to the smaller islands of San Paolo and Monte Isola.

Edoardo Tresoldi’s Basilica di Siponto

Edoardo Tresoldi’s Basilica di Siponto
Edoardo Tresoldi’s Basilica di Siponto

In the vast outdoor space located in an archaeological park of Siponto, Puglia, a southern region in Italy, stands the contemporary art installment of Edoardo Tresoldi. The mesh of interconnected wires was made to revive in the modern consciousness the form of the Basilica di Siponto, an early Christian-Romanesque church that was destroyed in the spot during a series of  13th-century earthquakes. The permanent installation has a hallowed, ghostly feel to it as the wires overlap and interconnect with one another to bring back to a certain kind of life the foregone arches, dome, columns, and structure of the old basilica. The sculpture can be explored by visitors on the inside. It is also made to light up at night, making the installation seem to float above the ruins, in its otherworldly majesty.