FENDI Presents an Exclusive Partnership and Exhibition in Rome

Lindsay Judge   |   12-05-2023

FENDI has partnered with Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro for a multi-year partnership that will celebrate art as an instrument combining respect for heritage, attention to widespread knowledge of artistic languages, and search for new forms of collaboration from the perspective of sustainability and innovation.


The partnership kicks off with an exhibition which was unveiled in Rome yesterday at the FENDI headquarters. Arnaldo Pomodoro. Il Grande Teatro delle Civiltà [Arnaldo Pomodoro. The Great Theatre of Civilizations is curated by Lorenzo Respi and Andrea Viliani].



Il Grande Teatro delle Civiltà explores the interconnection, in Pomodoro’s practice, of visual and scenic arts and highlights the relationship between the planning component of the work and its creation. The exhibition begins at the four external corners of the building where the four sculptures Forme del mito (1983) – Il potere (Agamennone), L’ambizione (Clitennestra), La macchina (Egisto), and La profezia (Cassandra) – are placed.



The sculptures are taken from the scenic machines that were created for the series of theatrical performances inspired by Aeschylus’ Orestes by the artist Emilio Isgrò, presented on the ruins of Gibellina’s main square which was later destroyed by the Belice earthquake. Inserting themselves like a backdrop between the Palazzo, the natural landscape and the surrounding urban community, the four Forme del mito re-draw and give new meaning to the building, transforming the so-called Colosseo Quadrato – one of the architectural symbols of Modernism and Italian Rationalism – into an open, reinterpretable and re-designable work, therefore not defined once and forever.



In the Palazzo delle Civiltà Italiana’s entrance hall appear two costume works created by the artist for two theatrical shows: Costume di Didone (for Dido, Queen of Carthage by Christopher Marlowe, staged in Gibellina in 1986), and Costume di Creonte (for Oedipus Rex by Igor Stravinsky performed in Siena in 1988). Produced with sculptural materials paired with ephemeral materials such as raffia and fabric, these costumes recall the iconography and dramaturgy of ancient Greece as well as the antique iconographies and traditional techniques of African and Asian works of art, reactivating the tale of the legendary stories of Dido and Oedipus.



The exhibition continues in two specular rooms and a connecting room, designed like two acts of a play with an intermezzo. Included among the various activities that the Foundation and FENDI are planning is the reinterpretation by Arnaldo Pomodoro of the iconic Peekaboo bag, created by Silvia Venturini Fendi in 2008. This falls within the global Canvas Peekaboo project that, starting in 2014, has involved artists, designers and iconic personalities in the creation of unique pieces representing special testimonies for the Maison.



With his creation, Pomodoro wanted to place the function of the use of the “object-bag” in discussion, transforming it into something mysterious and visionary, perhaps a medieval shield, perhaps a mythological animal covered in sharp spines, or even an exotic flower with long pistils.



Il Grande Teatro delle Civiltà is also a starting point for discovering Pomodoro’s other works located in Rome and around the world, an opportunity to deepen one’s knowledge of the artist’s experimentation and his relationship with the “eternal city”. The exhibition is accompanied by a monographic catalogue published by Skira – with an essay by the two curators, numerous critical and bio-bibliographic materials and extensive photographic documentation – which will be available in FENDI boutiques and directly in the exhibition space. It can be explored digitally via a dedicated mini website (http://arnaldopomodoro.fendi.com/) where users will also be able to sign up to visit the exhibition.