Riccardo Giacconi’s new work looks at an abysmally familiar set of alternatives: the one between fascism and fascism. In the 1940s, the people of South Tyrol were given the option of either emigrating to neighboring Nazi Austria (and other Third Reich territories) or remaining in fascist Italy (and being forcibly integrated into mainstream Italian culture). Giacconi explores the resonances between the era of this so-called Option Agreement and the contemporary political climate in Europe today through an installation in the galleries of the Grazer Kunstverein and a performance in the streets of Graz during the opening days of the festival steirischer herbst ’19. Giacconi’s installation draws upon folk culture, political propaganda, and eyewitness accounts, using shadow plays, posters, film, and audio to question ideas of citizenship, nativism, and migration. Playing with fiction, abstraction, and the historical present, he creates a constellation between two points in time, examining the contemporary situation through the lens of a past event.
Co-commissioned and co-produced by Grazer Kunstverein and steirischer herbst ’19.
The Directorate-General for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Peripheries of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities supports the participation of Riccardo Giacconi at the steirischer herbst Festival ’19 in the context of the Italian Council 2019 Program.