The curators and artists of Resurfaceenter the rooms and move between the classified collections of what was once the Luigi Pigorini Museum, with the aim of uncovering the “repressed” colonial lying there but present in general in Italian culture, even if not elaborated.
Among the many projects on display and those directly presented by the authors during the days of the exhibition, I was particularly impressed by Another Story, the photographic installation by Luca Capuano and Camilla Casadei Maldini, and also by Leone Contini’s Recollections.
Leone Contini – already known to the public in Rome for having taken part in the last Quadrennial Art Exhibition, in the section curated by Matteo Lucchetti, De Rerum Rurale (2016) – returns to work in the collections of the Colonial Museum now partially housed in the warehouses of the Museum of Cultures. Contini, an anthropologist and artist, stages a guided tour of one of these storage rooms, visually selecting the materials to be shown to visitors in deliberately dark spaces, using a flashlight. The artefacts, which the artist presents as if on a guided night tour, are mostly connected to living beings: the colonial collections of seeds, preserved in excellent condition and therefore still viable, are an opportunity to highlight the paradoxical assimilation of some of these plant species in the agri-food heritage “typical” of some Italian regions. There is also the skin of an African cheetah, placed next to a pair of elegant women’s shoes obtained by working with a similar type of raw material; or, again, the casts of the faces of the local populations collected by Livio Cipriani, the anthropologist sadly remembered for having signed the Manifesto of Race (1938).
Today, it would be difficult for these objects to be exhibited in the rooms of a museum or in a temporary exhibition: only a long and complex work of collective re-signification would, in fact, prevent such an action – exiting the storage room – from being read as implicitly equivalent to their cultural consecration within the institution of a museum.
Less known to the public in Rome are Luca Capuano and Camilla Casadei Maldini. Architects and designers by training, Capuano and Casadei Maldini purposefully reflect on some refined examples of stylistic modernism that characterise colonial products and buildings. Another Story, in fact, privileges the photographic medium to “frame” architectural details, sophisticated editorial collections, disused urban contexts and, at the same time, questions the status simply by using several visual devices. Photographs displayed behind opaque glass or perfectly folded maps, so they almost appear intact, represent a clear metaphor for the invisibility and inaccessibility of the historical heritage of Italian colonialism.
The choice of subjects, with few exceptions, mostly includes products of modernist elegance, situated between Asmara and Addis Ababa or, in any case, closely related to a colonial age which also involved, as is well known, brilliant champions of modernity. This is a fact that focuses the attention of historiography on the difficult heritage which cannot simply be left to its fate as consumption, on the one hand, or a new civic engagement, on the other, to combine with a scientific-disciplinary commitment with which to grasp the historical significance of these artefacts far beyond their formal value.
 Resurface. Festival di sguardi postcoloniali, Rome, November 22- December 1st, 2019, Museo delle Culture, curated by Viviana Gravano, Giulia Grechi, Salvo Lombardo.
 depicted on show also works by Roberta Baldaro, Elena Bellantoni, Giovanni Ferrara, Muna Mussie; for the activities that involved these and other artists please check on the following link: http://www.contemporaneamenteroma.it/organizers/resurface-festival-di-sguardi-postcoloniali/ (utlimo accesso 23 novembre 2019).
 Cfr. L. Contini, The Scattered Colonial Body il diario (2016-17), produced for the project Traces, in “Roots-Routes”, n. 30, May-August 2019, dedicated to I non detti del museo, curated by A.C. Cimoli, M.C. Chiaccheri, https://www.roots-routes.org/leone-contini/ (last access: 23 novembre 2019).
Resurface. Festival di sguardi post coloniali, curated by Salvo Lombardo (choreographer part of Chiasma company) Viviana Gravano (storica art historian) and Giulia Grechi (visual anthropologist), both belonging to Routes Agency_cura of contemporary arts, 22.11 – 1.01.2019
images: (cover 1) Resurface. Festival di sguardi post coloniali, invitation (2) Leone Contini, «Ricollezioni» at Resurface. Festival di sguardi post coloniali, PigoriniMuseum, Rome, 22.11 – 1.12.2019(3) Luca Capuano e Camilla Casadei Maldini, «Un’altra storia», photo installation at Resurface. Festival di sguardi post coloniali, Pigorini Museum, Rome, 22.11 – 1.12.2019