The major new feature of Arte Fiera’s public programme has been Solo figura e sfondo, an exhibition dedicated to modern and contemporary art collections – both public and private - in the region of Emilia-Romagna. The exhibition was intended as the first of a series going under the umbrella title of COURTESY EMILIA-ROMAGNA, and will be a celebration of the “extended museum” that is the Emilia-Romagna region where extraordinary examples of individual excellence are nonetheless part of a common landscape and cultural fabric.

Solo figura e sfondo

All life is figure and ground”- says Samuel Beckett in Murphy. This is not so much a title as an indication of the directions the exhibition series will take as it looks at a central issue for both history of art and the theory of perception: how the figure and its background relate, not just in formal terms of their compliance with or deviance from the “law of contrasts”, but especially for the different emotional and sensory atmospheres they engender.

The central focus of the exhibition is therefore the subject, or figure, in a given place, or setting, as interpreted by literature, film, music and photography but especially through the lens of people like Pier Vittorio Tondelli, Gianni Celati, Luigi Ghirri and others, who view the Via Emilia, the ancient Roman road stretching across the region, as the focal element, in mythological terms giving rise to a single extended entity.

The exhibition Includes several generations of artists - acknowledged masters and less well known figures whose works are part of the collections of Emilia’s institutions and foundations. Diverse too are the art forms on display, which include important local traditional crafts like ceramics and mosaics. The exhibition is organized synchronically; the juxtaposition of works is often unconventional, creating free, thought-provoking associations. The result is an exhibition layout that plays an active role in investigating how the figure relates to its context.


Davide Ferri, Art Historian and Curator

Born in Forlì in 1974, now living in Rome, Davide Ferri is an independent curator. He is also a lecturer in Aesthetics at Rimini’s Fine Arts Academy (LABA), and The Ergonomics of Exhibitions at Bologna’s Fine Arts Academy.

Ferri has curated the Art Section of the theatre festival Ipercorpo since 2012. Since 2015, he has worked as a consultant for the San Domenico/Palazzo Romagnoli museums in Forlì, advising on the programming and staging of contemporary art exhibitions. From 2001 to 2006, he was artistic Artistic Director of the Contemporary Furniture Museum of Russi, near Ravenna.

Recent exhibitions and projects curated in galleries and contemporary art museums include: Paolo Icaro - Unending Incipit (with Saverio Verini), Pinacoteca Comunale, Città di Castello (2018); Material  Life, The Goma Gallery, Madrid (2017); Teoria ingenua degli insiemi (with Cecilia Canziani), Galleria P420, Bologna (2016); Afro. Pensieri nella mano, San Domenico Museums, Forlì (2015); Franco Guerzoni – Nessun luogo, da nessuna parte. Viaggi randagi con Luigi Ghirri, Milan Triennale (2014); La figurazione inevitabile. Una scena della pittura oggi, the Luigi Pecci Contemporary Art Museum, Prato (2013); Sentimiento Nuevo. Incontri sulla nuova critica e scrittura d'arte in Italia (with Antonio Grulli), MAMbo, Bologna (2011).