March 2020 marked the beginning of a period of confinement and the world came to a standstill. Since the Coronavirus epidemic has turned into a global pandemic, artists have found deeper meanings in their private studios and settings - no longer just production sites but true sanctuaries and safe spaces. At the same time, the desire to confront, on an artistic level, with friends scattered in every corner of the world, with people who found themselves making art from home, with more or less modest materials, emerged. Old works have been rethought, while other projects that have been paused for some time have been revised in a new light. Now more than ever, this shift towards the intimate and the personal reminds us that art is, and always will be, an essential practice in exceptional times.
Instead of getting lost in feelings of loneliness and loneliness that emerged with isolation, Abed Alkadiri, artist, curator and co-founder of Dongola Projects, launched the Cities Under Quarantine - The Mailbox Project. Inspired by a quote from the American artist John Baldessari, who wrote in his book Ingres and Other Parables: "it's difficult to put a painting in the mailbox", the project leverages the idea of tangibility and interactivity of the artist's book. . Thus was born an exhibition that emphasizes the possibility of creating works of art to be held in the hand and to be seen outside the walls of a gallery.
In April 2020, the artist's books designed by Reza Abedini were sent to 57 artists in 19 cities around the world, from Beirut (Lebanon) to Ramallah (Palestine). It was an invitation to rediscover and adopt a practice to which Dongola Projects has been very dedicated in recent years, in the belief of the importance, today more than ever, of the artist's book. On 04 September 2021, Cities Under Quarantine - The Mailbox Project sets off again, this time to Florence.
Villa Romana will open its doors to him and for four months - and in four chapters - will host the artist's books born from the project.