closed James Richards, Alms for the Birds

Curated by: Marianna Vecellio

The show

The Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art continues the program of commissions of works of art created in homage to the masterpieces of the Cerruti Collection launched in May 2019, on the occasion of the opening to the public of the villa that houses the collection of Francesco Federico in Rivoli Cerruti (1922 - 2015). On Monday 24 February, a new work by artist James Richards will be presented to the public which will join the tributes of Ed Atkins, Anna Boghiguian, Alex Cecchetti, Camille Henrot, Liu Ding, Nalini Malani, Giulio Paolini, Giuseppe Penone, Susan Philipsz, Seth Price , Elisa Sighicelli and Michael Rakowitz, set up in the previous chapters of the program. Other artists, including Maria Thereza Alves, Roberto Cuoghi, Jimmie Durham, Mario García Torres, Maria Loboda, Goshka Macuga, Wael Shawky and Adrián Villar Rojas, will present their creations in subsequent chapters, in an organic way and in dialogue between times and different places.

Interested in investigating issues such as those of identity, desire and obsession in relation to digital technologies and processes of appropriation, manipulation and juxtaposition of images and archival materials, James Richards (Cardiff, 1983) will present a new installation specially conceived for the historic rooms of the Castello di Rivoli.

James Richards' work Alms for the Birds (Alms for the Birds, 2020) is a two-part installation, one sound and one visual, which investigates the villa that houses the Cerruti Collection as a fantastic place, in search of perfection. A "dream house", but also a refuge similar to a place for the afterlife. The work will attempt to re-imagine the house starting from the Castello di Rivoli, resonating the room in the tower of Villa Cerruti, or master bedroom, and the architecture and history of the rooms of the apartment of King Vittorio Amedeo II, on the first floor of the Castello di Rivoli, involved in the artist's intervention. In particular, the Hall of the sleeping putti, also known as the King's Bed Room, where it is said Vittorio Amedeo II (1666 - 1732) was held prisoner by his son Carlo Emanuele III (1701 - 1773) when, after having abdicated in his favor, the old king changed his mind and tried to take back the crown. The two parts that make up this installation, the sound and the visual, overlap each other without being synchronized. The King's Bed Chamber is invaded by sound - a musical composition developed by combining soundtracks from historical films -, which gives the work "something elegiac," says artist James Richards. The room itself will be the object of the visual part of the installation, re-imagined from the inside, its architecture expanded and then contracted into a hallucinatory vision. Through this visual sequence, the artist thus involves in a fantastic reworking both the historical rooms of the Museum and the architecture of Villa Cerruti and the works of art that inhabit it, giving life to a sensory and emotional experience that unites through unexpected associations the two buildings, their collections and their stories.

“Alms for the Birds tells of a fantastic place”, says the curator Marianna Vecellio, “the title of the work is inspired by the Eastern funeral practice which provides that the bodies of the dead are left to decompose naturally and at the disposal of the birds, as alms. Alms for the Birds alludes to the uselessness of the body which is contrasted by a gothic and romantic atmosphere accentuated by images of ravens and ghostly shapes that slide on the monitor, giving the work the connotations of a montage of remains, echo of a spell from the past ".

Timetable and tickets


Piazzale Mafalda di Savoia, 2
10098 Rivoli


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