Selling Dreams – Photographs by Virginia Ryan

Selling Dreams Fotografie di Virginia Ryan

Selling Dreams

Photography by Virginia Ryan

curated by Manuela De Leonardis

Rome 2-23 July 2020

The artist will be present on the 2nd July from 7-10pm

Please note: as containment against the spread of  COVID-19, in order to respect social distancing regulations , entry into the gallery will be restricted to a set number at any time.
The wearing of a mask is obligatory.

Gallery Director Giovanna Pennacchi is pleased to present the one-woman exhibition  Selling Dreams by artist Virginia Ryan, curated by  Manuela De Leonardis.

Selling Dreams is a semantic mapping  of socio-urban reality in West Africa , through images of the vibrant publicity billboards set in the day-to-day city landscape, inviting the viewer  to critical reflection.
Contradicition is implicit in the very nature of the post colonial architecture of many  private and public buildings foto-documented by Virginia Ryan in 2011 and  2012.
“Today these buildings  might appear stressed and tired to me’’ observes the artist. “Not only for the wear-and-tear of passing time, but for the intense weathering brought on by a moist environment: rain, sun, sand, are agents of aggression creating damage and mould. But there is another way of looking, which expresses Hope, through paying attention to  the skins of these edifices in rapport with the glamorous billboards adorning them for a  maximum of six months before being taken down, to be endlessly substituted with new dreams’’.
In these large tableau, ambition and dreams are invested with happiness and faith : from soccer to performative religious ministry, from beauty products to the newest communication technology devices , from cars to political personalities, fashion and cinema, and of course, food.
Synthesising  most explicitly the extraordinary messages in the array of social display , appears the imposing figure of the Mother par excellence: Madame Maggi : there she is, larger than life, the smiling queen of soup cubes who invites the public to taste her broth , appealing to the city’s female populace with the motto  “Chaque Femme est une Etoile”(Every Woman Is A Star).

(Manuela De Leonardis)

Selected Selling Dreams (2011-2012) – photographic images printed on canvas with acrylic paint – have been viewed at Galerie Cècile Fakhoury (Abidjan, 2014), 1-54 African Art Fair Somerset House (London, 2014), Contemporaneo, FotoGrafia – International Festival of Rome , Doozo (Rome, 2015), Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary (Trevi, 2017), Janet Clayton Gallery ‘Head On International Photography Festival’ (Sydney, 2018).

Virginia Ryan, Australian multidisciplinary artist  with Italian citizenship, lives and works  in Italy and Australia. She is a graduate of the National Art School of Art and Design, Australia and post-graduate School of Art Therapy in Edinburgh,Scotland.
Her studio is found in Trevi,Umbria .
Ryan has lived and worked in Canberra, in Alexandria,Egypt (1982-1985), Curitiba in Brasil (1988-1990), Serbia (1990-1992), Scotland (1992-1995), Accra in Ghana (2001-2007) before reloacting to Abidjan e Grand Bassam in Ivory Coast until early 2016.  Collaborations have included with musicians and anthropologists
In 2004 she co-founded the ongoing Foundation for Contemporary Art (FCA) in Ghana, where she was the first director and in  2016 Make Art Not Walls Italia with asylum seekers in Umbria.
Her practise explores identity and memory, often employing  abandoned /found objects or cultural refuse. She has been invited tothe Biennals of Malindi, Dakar, and Venice and in  2019 the the  Museo Oscar Niemeyer in Curitiba for the Biennale Fronteiras Abertas. In Italy she has partecipated in the Bienals of Fiber Art and Artist Books, the  51 ° International Festival of two Worlds in Spoleto, the Whitworth in Manchester, Museo Pino Pascali in Polignano a Mare and Extramoenia_IntraArt in Puglia,  Dovecoat Studios, Scotland and Montoro12 Gallery, Rome. In 2017 the solo show Virginia Ryan Biografia Plurale at Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary was followed by the publication of the book Biografia Plurale. Virginia Ryan: Art, Africa e Elsewhere (Fabrizio Fabbri Editore) with  essays by I. Bargna, S. Feld, M. Coccia, M. De Leonardis e Osei Bonsu. In 2018 she was nominated Accademica Benemerita  by the Accademia Pietro Vannucci in Perugia. In late Spring 2020, after an extended art residence in Australia, she returned to Italy and continues her research within the local community at her place of residence,Trevi concentrating on the female position after  COVID-19, and other work-in-progress concerning cultural and relational aspects between West Africa and Italy.

From 2 -23 July 2020


Director: Giovanna Pennacchi
via Panisperna, 82-83 – 00184 Rome
Thursday-Friday-Saturday  7-10pm

Honorary Patron the Embassy of Ivory Coast in Italy.
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