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Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
Conversation piece | part IX Show all photos
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Conversation piece | part IX :

The Library of the World

From 13 December to 21 April 2024

Accepted the Artsupp Card

Memmo Foundation

Memmo Foundation

Via della Fontanella di Borghese, 56 B, Rome

Open now from 11:00 to 18:00

Verified profile


The title of the ninth edition of Conversation piece, The Library of the World, refers to Umberto Eco and is taken from the 2022 documentary of the same name which tells the story of the legendary library of the deceased intellectual, a mythical place made up of over thirty thousand volumes to which Eco himself assigned the function - shared by libraries all over the world - as a container for the memory of humanity.

The exhibition, through a group of works arranged in a path that starts from the facade of Palazzo Ruspoli and continues in the courtyard and in the Stables, aims to restore a metaphor of Rome as an open-air library, a repository of the collective imagination and universal culture .


Although belonging to generations distant from each other and with different working methods, the invited artists find a common denominator in the use of the book as a "building material" for the work of art. We have a significant example of the book used in this unusual function in the famous project that Étienne-Louis Boullée, father of the so-called speaking architecture, conceived for the expansion of the Hall of the National Library of Paris (1785), where the books simulate the brick walls (opus latericium) on which the large basilica vault rests which metaphorically represents History. Probably, Boullée in turn looked at the School of Athens (ca. 1509-1511), Raphael's fresco in the Vatican Rooms, where under the Bramante vault all the most famous philosophers and mathematicians, authors of the books on which they are based, gather universal knowledge and culture. But it is in ancient Rome that a book, transformed and carved in stone, becomes, for the first time in the history of visual arts, a sculpture: Trajan's Column (2nd century AD). Belonging to the typology of cochlid columns which, together with the triumphal arches, were the most genuine of Roman artistic inventions, it represents a parchment book, engraved with war scenes and unrolled to form a spiral. An element that defines the image of Rome as an open-air library in which the books are made up of majestic ruins and extraordinary monuments that narrate its thousand-year history.


Conversation Piece is a cycle of exhibitions born from the desire of the Memmo Foundation to constantly monitor the contemporary art scene of the city and, in particular, the activity of foreign academies and cultural institutes, where new generations of artists from all over the world. Through these exhibitions and other initiatives, the Memmo Foundation wants to act as an amplifier of the work of these institutions.

The title of the cycle is inspired by Luchino Visconti's film, Family Group in an Interior (Conversation Piece, 1974), a paradigm of the comparison between generations and of the relationships of hate and love that always exist between the ancient and the modern. Conversation Piece also indicated a pictorial genre that was very widespread between the 17th and 18th centuries, characterized by groups of people in conversation with each other or caught in attitudes of family life. Over the course of the various editions, these exhibitions, in addition to representing an opportunity for comparison and dialogue with Rome, have become a fruitful moment of discussion and reflection between artists and curator, with the aim of bringing together different energies, knowledge and methods in a single exhibition context.

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