Renato Leotta. Sun

Renato Leotta. Sole / Sun

Curated by Marianna Vecellio

February 25 – August 30, 2020


The Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art presents the work Sole (Sun), 2019 by Renato Leotta (Turin, 1982). The exhibition, curated by Marianna Vecellio, is the first solo presentation of the Turin-born artist of Sicilian origin in a public museum.

Set up on the first floor of the Museum, Sole (Sun) is an environmental installation that explores the link between the industrial tradition of Piedmont, its social fabric and the region’s artistic language of the Baroque. The work consists in illuminating, with subtle humour, all that is Piedmontese in the building – in its historical, material and artistic details. Made up of automobile headlights scattered throughout the space to form an alternative lighting system for the museum and its exhibitions, the work metaphorically reflects the social change that has taken place in the area, which was linked to industry until the end of the 1990s, then shifting towards the production of “contemporary entertainment culture,” as the artist says.

Starting from the architectural and artistic details of the galleries of this former Savoy royal residence, Leotta’s work creates an imaginary path through the spaces of the Museum in which the glories of the eighteenth-century Savoy past expressed in the heraldic motifs, in the decorations and in the frescoes, are metaphorically illuminated by the lights of the automobiles (another Piemontese product). “The study of the historical decorations of the building” – says Marianna Vecellio, curator of the exhibition – “offers the starting point for a reflection on the Baroque, considered by the artist as a metaphor for an eclecticism of styles, coexistence of full and empty space and a tendency to represent an infinite dimension of space and time. As in a grotesque theatrical piece, Sole (Sun) invites the spectator to rethink the past with profound irony which, like a ghost, reappears amidst flashes of light and dark.”

An earlier version of the work was presented on the occasion of The Piedmont Pavilion, an exhibition born from an idea by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, and curated by Marianna Vecellio in conjunction with the 58th edition of the Venice Biennale in 2019.

Leotta’s works arise from a slow and prolonged observation of a place or a landscape. The forces of nature, the lunar cycles and the oceans also enter forcefully into the works of the artist who, ranging from traditional photographic language to video, from painting to the recovery of archival materials, investigates the relationship between sea, sky and earth in an attempt to create a possible dialogue between real and ideal worlds.

In his exploration of the borders and limits of the two-dimensionality of the image, his research also includes literature, to which the artist often refers in the titles of his works and in the texts that accompany his exhibitions.



Renato Leotta (Turin, 1982) lives and works between Acireale and Turin. In 2019 he was Italian Fellow in Visual Arts at the American Academy in Rome. In 2020 his works will be exhibited as part of the Maxxi Bulgari Prize group exhibition which will open in May at the MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome, while he recently presented the solo exhibition Lighea at the Fonti Gallery, Naples. In 2019 he held a solo exhibition at Magazzino Italian Art Foundation and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, New York; in 2018 Eine Sandsammlung at the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen and in 2016 Aventura at the Galeria Madragoa, Lisbon. The group exhibitions in which he has taken part include Garden of Earthly Delights at the Gropius Bau, Berlin, and The Piedmont Pavilion, Combo, Venice, 2019; Manifesta 12, Palermo and Italy Matriz do Tempo Real, MAC, San Paolo, 2018; Intuition, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, and Pompei@Madre, Archaeological Matter, Museo Madre, Naples, 2017; XVI National Quadrennial of Art in Rome, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome and TERRAE NUBILUS, NAK, Aachen, 2016. Leotta is co-founder of CRIPTA747 in Turin.


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