Beauty and Terror starts from Naples in the years around 1940, to analyze, through the eyes of artists and critical thoughts, the history and contemporary legacy of the interconnection between colonialism and fascism. Underlining a geographical and temporal concomitance between stories rarely told together, the project presents artistic research, works and installations that reveal links between the absolute physical and psychological violence of colonialism and that of fascism, and explore the philosophical, aesthetic and iconographic apparatus that underlies to both. This link has dramatically returned to the center of the international debate in recent years, particularly with the rise of populist ultranationalism in Europe and the Americas, and with the international impact of the Black Lives Matter movement which has focused on structural forms. of violence and exclusion.
Speech on Colonialism (1950) by the essayist and poet Aimé Césaire denounced the fact that National Socialism has applied in Europe a scale of absolute violence that until now had been reserved for the colonies, an analysis that delves into the political scientist and philosopher Hannah Arendt in her Origini of totalitarianism (1951). The Second World War in effect translates, in the context of European fascism, the methods developed in the slave plantations and colonies, as underlined by the contemporary political philosopher Achille Mbembe in his essay "Necropolitica" (2003), which argues that "in modern philosophical thought , in practice and in the European political imagination, the colony represents the place where sovereignty basically consists in the exercise of a power outside the law "and" where it is believed that the violence of the state of exception operates in the service of 'civilization'". The inhabitants of these territories are considered an integral part of the landscape and their humanity and sovereignty are not legally recognized, so as to allow the expropriation of land and resources with impunity. Other scholars of European imperialism, such as Franz Fanon and Sylvia Wynter, have insisted on the importance of not only the physical but also the psychological dimension of colonialism. Many parallels can be drawn today with "economic migrants" from previously colonized areas and with their experiences of detention and exploitation.