‘La più geniale tra le maschere (The Most Brilliant Amongst the Masks) is an exhibition curated by artist Gabriele De Santis, and Ilaria Gianni.
Artists and authors from different fields – Gundam Air, Cornelia Baltes, Elisabetta Benassi, Roberto Coda Zabetta, Tomaso De Luca (in collaboration with Vincenzo Giannetti), Gabriele De Santis, Sean Edwards, Anna Franceschini, Zazie Gnecchi Ruscone, Grossi Maglioni, Isabell Heimerdinger, Lauren Keeley, Emiliano Maggi, Jonathan Monk, Luigi Ontani, Pino Pasquali, Gianni Politi, Francis Upritchard, Alessandro Vizzini, and Bedwyr Williams – investigate the ‘Harlequin,’ one of the main characters of the Italian commedia dell’arte, a complex and symbolic figure who embodies a visionary metaphor.
His social attributes, conceived five centuries ago, are still recognisable today. The Harlequin’s multifaceted qualities: the wily and covetous comic servant (zanni); the faithful, patient, credulous, and amorous valet; the amoral yet good hearted spirit; even the hellish, obscure demon of the night, hence the origin of his name (Hölle König – King of the Underworld – then Helleking, and finally Harlequin); become an excuse to convey variegated interpretations of the idea of the ‘mask’, translated through disparate formal and performative approaches. The visitor enters a backstage, a masquerade that reveals the truth within comedy, the drama of mankind, the dark-side and vulnerability of the façade of an apparently stable social system.