Marinella Senatore. The School of Narrative Dance, Johannesburg An Exhibition and a Parade

From 10 October 2019 to 27 October 2019

Marinella Senatore. The School of Narrative Dance, Johannesburg

An Exhibition and a Parade


The Centre for the Less Good Idea, Johannesburg

Exhibition: October 10-27, 2019

Parade: October 26, 2019, 2 pm



Co-curated by Marcella Beccaria and Bronwyn Lace and co-organised by Castello di Rivoli Museo dArte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Turin, Italy, and The Centre for the Less Good Idea, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The project Marinella Senatore. The School of Narrative Dance, Johannesburg is the winner of the 4th edition of Italian Council (2018), a competition conceived by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Peripheries (DGAAP) – a division of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities – to promote Italian contemporary art in the world.

Through her participatory art practice, Marinella Senatore (Cava de’ Tirreni, Salerno, Italy, 1977) questions the bio-politics of different communities, circumventing the traditionally separated roles of artist and audience to create an exciting and contagious new artistic movement. By empowering the collective resources of the individuals engaged in her projects, Senatore constructs experiences based on an unconventional didactic model of learning and participation, offering a platform for collaboration and social encounters. Her approach strives to ethically contribute to a more democratic and collective understanding of creativity. Senatore works across multiple disciplines, including performance, installation, film, photography, drawing and collage.

Marinella Senatore. The School of Narrative Dance, Johannesburg at The Centre for the Less Good Idea is the first exhibition of Senatore’s work in a non-profit institution in South Africa. The exhibition presents a focused selection of major film works, new drawings and performative projects. The screened films include Nui Simu (That’s Us, 2010), the story of a community of over thirty retired miners from the Sicilian town of Enna, Italy, whose economy until the 1970s centred around sulphur mines, Rosas (2012), an opera for the screen in three acts, on loan from the collections of Castello di Rivoli, and the recent Palermo Procession (2018). The latter film documents the public performance comprised of parades, dances and music, which took place on the occasion of Manifesta 12 (June 2018) across the historical centre of Palermo, Sicily.

photo by Zivanai Matangi


The drawings include a group of approximately 80 new works on paper, specifically made by Senatore in reference to instances of public gatherings of feminist assemblies and non-violent protests across various cultures and communities. The exhibition continues with The School of Narrative Dance (2013 – ongoing). Presented in the form of a large dance mat, the installation is based on the idea of dance as a common language open to celebrate the vernacular, amateur and professionally trained gestures of participants. Made available to the public as a free, usable facility, the space welcomes and invites the collaboration of individuals as well as local associations.

In conjunction with the exhibition, on October 26, 2019, The Centre for the Less Good Idea will be the stage of The School of Narrative Dance, Johannesburg – The Parade, a guest performance to Season 6 (October 23 – 27, 2019). Featuring dance, music and singing, the performance will present several forms of cultural expressions and pacific resistance, according to a choreography developed in collaboration with the participants, which focuses on the empowering value of a number of local traditions.

The parade, together with the process of cultural research and exchange with local communities, will be the subject of a new film by the artist that will become part of the Permanent Collection of Castello di Rivoli thanks to Italian Council’s support. The film will be shot during the performance and its preparation, documenting the ways in which artistic creativity can evolve as a shared process across cultures and languages.

“Contagiously positive and radiant, Senatore’s practice constantly stimulates the formation of new communities, reinventing the possibilities of art as a powerful agent of cultural exchange and growth. This remarkable project stimulates creative ideas across people and continents, and we welcome its wonderful energy that nurtures the collaboration between The Centre for the Less Good Idea and Castello di Rivoli,” state curators Marcella Beccaria and Bronwyn Lace.

Founded by William Kentridge in November 2016, The Centre for the Less Good Idea derives its name in part from a Twana proverb: “If the good doctor can’t cure you, find the less good doctor”. The Centre aims to nurture artists in finding “the less good idea”, and creates and supports experimental, collaborative and cross-disciplinary arts projects.

Marinella Senatore. The School of Narrative Dance, Johannesburg is the invited guest project of Season 6.

Located in Italy, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea is a collecting institution that also works as a place for creativity, research, participatory education, and the development of knowledge primarily in the field of contemporary art. The mission of Castello di Rivoli is to promote the understanding of our times through art and culture, engaging local and international audiences.

Biography: Marinella Senatore (Cava de’ Tirreni, Salerno, Italy, 1977) lives and works in Rome and Paris. After receiving her Master of Arts Degree (MA) in music from the Conservatorio in Avellino in 1997, she went on to complete two Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees from the Fine Art School, Naples in 1998, and the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM), Spain, in 2006. Senatore attended Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, graduating in 2001 and she is currently completing her Doctorate at UCLM, Spain, where she was also a professor for seven years.

Senatore has received multiple awards and recent achievements include The Evelyn Award from the York Museum in York, UK, and the International Art Grant from The Foundation of Arts and Music in Dresden, Germany, both in 2017.

Senatore has been the focus of museum’s solo shows, from Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, 2013 up to Queens Museum in New York in 2017. She has been selected to participate in several major group shows: Manifesta 12, Palermo, 2018; Quadriennale, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 2016; 13th Biennale de Lyon, curated by Ralph Rugoff, 5th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, curated by Katerina Gregos, 2015; Liverpool Biennale of Contemporary Art, and 12th Bienal de Cuenca, 2014; 7th Göteborg International Biennale for Contemporary Art, and 6th Biennial of the Moving Image in Mechelen, 2013; 11th Havana Biennial in 2012. In 2011, Senatore was included in the 54th Venice Biennale, curated by Bice Curiger.

Realised with the support of


From 10 October 2019 to 27 October 2019