Curated by: Federico Fischetti
The Ducal Palace of Sassuolo welcomes in its spaces an unpublished project by the contemporary artist Mustafa Sabbagh, which reacts to the solicitations of ancient art and its relationship with our present. In the Courtyard of Honor and on the Noble Floor you can find three site-specific interventions conducted in close dialogue with the Este monument and its art collections. The rigorous mediation of the philological approach that in museums associates author names, dates, technical and historical-artistic notions to works, can and must coexist with the ability to exercise our free judgment, the habit of observing and to think. Here Sabbagh offers us his way, provoking us in our identity as diehard consumers, attracted by uncritical, easy and quick proposals, even when we visit an art museum.
In the Courtyard of Honor stands the Available Space: it is forbidden not to touch. In the form of the advertising billboards that we find along the streets, sometimes empty waiting to be rented, it is announced that everything is for sale, even the Palace and its works (such as the Triumph of Drunken Silenus, exhibited on the Noble Floor, of which we see a worn and wrinkled detail). To guarantee the quality of the product, we are reassured by its label: all that is left is to inform us about the price and do the math.
The theme announced by Spazio Available: forbidden not to touch continues in the Enchantment Room, inside the Stuccoed Apartment, where we find the installation Spazio Available: display in frame. An ancient painting, now in storage and not visible to the public (the seventeenth-century canvas with Cain and Abel, attributed to Ludovico Lana), is recognized as the subject of an old abandoned advertising campaign: we are in fact a target as receptive as it is quick to forget.