Inspired by The Rainbow Show, which took place in San Francisco in 1975, MUDEC hosts an exhibition project composed of different stories related to the rainbow as a natural, cultural, spiritual and human phenomenon.
The exhibition opens with a site-specific installation conceived by the American artist Cory Arcangel (b.1978) especially for the iconic space of the Agora: a rainbow gradient carpet, generated by computer algorithm, transforms the optical phenomenon from a digital abstraction into a tangible object.
On entering the exhibition halls, a total experience is created by the work of Laura Grisi (1939-2017): through a ray of light refracted by 4 prisms, we seem to witness not only a physical phenomenon, but the creation of a miracle. An ancient miracle is also represented by Sinibaldo Scorza’s (1589-1631) Sacrifice of Noah after the Flood, in which the rainbow is a symbol of divine forgiveness and a promise of new life.
Another section of the exhibition, prepared in collaboration with Milan’s Natural History Museum, explores the way animals perceive colour, doubting the primacy of human vision. We also reflect over the colour as communication system that can be seen not only in the colourful plumage of birds, but also in the garish hues of the Australian Maratus spider, filmed by Maria Fernanda Cardoso (b.1963).
The purity of structure and chromatic order formally brings the works of the modernists closer to the installation of contemporary Polish artist Mirosław Bałka (b.1958) and the precious funerary fabric (Peru, Nasca culture, 1st century B.C.) made of interwoven multicolored threads.
The exhibition continues with a study of the different symbolic meanings of the rainbow through pieces from the MUDEC collections and loans that restore the complexity of the rainbow serpent mythology, spread from the ancient cultures of South America to Asia, from Africa to Australia.
The second room opens with environments created "by" and "with" color. Photographs by American Judy Chicago (b.1939) illustate her historical performance with colorful smoke; Lithuanian Alexandra Kasuba's (1923-2019) model shows the total environment installed for The Rainbow Show; Diana Thater's (b. 1962) video proposes a reflection, through spectrum colors, between eternal and fleeting time.
Finally, Flavio Favelli (b. 1967) offers a critical reflection on the rainbow theme. He arranges stamps from former Italian colonies in a rainbow pattern.
Rainbow is the first exhibition that, as part of a renewed MUDEC program, is being developed as an evolving cross-cultural event. Anticipated in November 2022 by the participatory artwork #OneLove by artist Norma Jeane in the Spazio delle Culture, it continues in the public space: in April 2023 Flavio Favelli's mural will be inaugurated in the Ansaldo courtyards. The Rainbow program includes events in collaboration with the Planetarium and the Museum of Natural History, and it will be enriched in May 2023 by Black Arts School Modality, a series of workshops, conceived with the collaboration of the American curator Romi Crawford, aimed at shaping knowledge of the Black Arts Movement.
Artists featured in the exhibition:
Josef Albers, Shūsaku Arakawa, Cory Arcangel, Mirosłav Bałka, Giacomo Balla, Maria-Fernanda Cardoso, Judy Chicago, Amalia Del Ponte, Flavio Favelli, Laura Grisi, Aleksandra Kasuba, Auguste e Louis Lumière, John Mawurndjul, Kathleen Petyarre, Sinibaldo Scorza, Frank Stella, Diana Thater.