Savona is a seaport and city in the western part of the northern Italian region of Liguria. To be closed to the sea, it preserves in its soul this predisposition for an open mind to discover new ways of thinking and approaching our world. In this city, last November started the second edition of CONNEXXION. Festival Diffuso di Arte Contemporanea, an art festival curated by Livia Savorelli and promoted by the Arteam cultural association with the patronage of the Municipality of Savona, aims to bring new light to the most significant places of the city, reinterpreting its historical and artistic heritage and intertwining it with the visions of the artists of the present.

In this second edition, entitled be free. Between identity and memory, the Festival wants to stimulate a wide-ranging reflection on the concept of freedom, in a world increasingly driven by nationalism, authoritarian tendencies, wars and upheavals on a global level and by a marked push towards radicalism and extremism. We will be accompanied on this journey about freedom by a person much loved by the Italian people and by the people of Savona in particular, that is Sandro Pertini, to whom a particular tribute will be paid with the exhibition Dialoghi intorno alla libertà (Dialogues about freedom) installed in the rooms of the Sandro Pertini and Renata Cuneo’s Museum.

(Livia Savorelli)

The first part of the festival was installed in two museums. The first one is the Civic Archaeological Museum, where you can visit the Frammenti exhibit. Atti di conservazione per un futuro di libertà, curated by Livia Savorelli and Matteo Galbiati. In the different rooms of the museum, the two curators have created an installation similar to a graft so that the current works seem to naturally belong to the museum collections. The visitor must look for the work that blends in between the finds and the permanent collection.

Here we are welcomed by two works by Attilio Tono, who is the same artist chosen to conclude the exhibition itinerary with a monumental work entitled DS1 (Dissipative Structure 1), a sculptural form with a dual nature where artificial and natural (the plaster and the wood) are in perfect balance. Roberto Ghezzi's Naturographies and The Greenland Project are very interesting in the area of the buttresses: these are sheets that are immersed in water or placed underground, leaving it up to Nature to proceed with its work of creation. Following this visit to the show, you can find the work A futura memoria by Laura Pugno, where the artist, reflecting on climate change, created the cast of a snow block in an attempt to make eternal what, due to anthropic causes, is subject to ever greater vulnerability.

Then we have the work Radice by Ivano Troisi, where it is possible to observe what normally remains hidden but which gives life to the plant in a play of references between form and substance, and finally, in the last room on the ground floor, we find among the others four tondos of different sizes by Alberto Gianfreda from the Effimera series. The works, made up of ceramic fragments, are the constructive result of a destructive act of crushing ceramic vases and their subsequent fluid recomposition with chains that attempt to hold together a now-violated form.

At the Sandro Pertini and Renata Cuneo Museum, the exhibition Dialoghi intorno alla libertà curated by Livia Savorelli is on display, moving along two parallel tracks: on the one hand, an ever-current reflection on monumentality and the role of the monument as a bearer of memory; on the other, the life of Sandro Pertini, historic Italian president, in the place that houses his art collection. Armida Gandini presents Sotto mentite spoglie, a site-specific installation where the artist places some stand-ups, i.e., light paper, printed, engraved, and folded sculptures, in dialogue with the works of Renata Cuneo exhibited that you can find in the same place. These "stand-ups" represent figures of women who participated in the resistance, including some partisans from Savona (Paola Garelli, Ines Negri, Luigia Comotto, Franca Lanzoni, Teresa Pace, Clelia Corradini, etc.) who tragically lost their lives in the name of freedom or continued to live, often marginalised, denigrated, and forced to emigrate to other countries. Davide Dormino presents the bronze sculpture Per uno sguardo libero.

The work represents two fingers holding a small seed. The gesture is the same as when you want to point your eye at something far away, using your hand like a telescope. In this sense, the sculpture is aimed at the heart of Renata Cuneo's Joan of Arc, a symbol of freedom and courage. Rocco Dubbini is present in the exhibition with two site-specific installations, Chiosa and Ceci est le fleur, both conceived and created for CONNEXXION 2023. Ceci est le fleur is an installation composed of a Castello pipe, like those loved by Pertini, from which a flower is born. The work refers to the friendship between Pertini and Antonio Gramsci during their joint detention under the fascist regime. In an interview given to Enzo Biagi (an Italian journalist), President Pertini talks about the moments of intimacy that they had in common and recalls that the communist intellectual inside the prison had had the opportunity to grow flowers in a flowerbed.

One day, while they were looking at the flowers together, Gramsci looked at one of them that had dried up, uttering bitter words, while Pertini recovered a new bud among the leaves. Then the President recalls that the intellectual said, “Do you see what life is like? … We go from disappointment to hope; in a moment, everything changes, and the future, hope in life, is reborn." Gianni Moretti exhibits Cinquemilanovecentosedici minuti per Orlando (Five thousand nine hundred and sixteen minutes for Orlando), an installation made up of 32 brass plates with manual movable type printing. A work about the time Orlando Orlandi Posti spent in prison in 1944 before being killed in the Fosse Ardeatine. The extended and interminable time spent in prison, which Orlando recounted in the notes he wrote to his mother during his imprisonment and which he sent to her clandestinely, was hidden in the collars of the shirts he sent her to wash.

Finally, The Banality of Evil in 69 Gestures is a photo-video installation by Elena Bellantoni. Can a female body represent one of the most violent figures of patriarchy? This photographic series was born as a reflection on dictatorial proxemics. The actions produced by Elena Bellantoni are 69 in total, starting with the 13 photos taken by Hoffman, Hitler's official photographer. Reenacatment explores the boundaries within which the body becomes the territory of conflict and control through mimicry, which also draws inspiration from Charlie Chaplin's Big Dictator.