When you dance you make me happy

Highlights from the Luciano Benetton Collection, Gallerie delle Prigioni
Gallerie delle Prigioni

The exhibition When you dance you make me happy featuring selected artworks from the Luciano Benetton Collection.

The exhibition focuses on the human body: a vessel of existential struggle from which ingenuity and creativity flow. Dance is a metaphor that guides us on a journey beginning with introspection and leading to performative acts. The body moves, stops, resumes, and gains strength within a group, into a crescendo that passes from decadence to triumph.

In the cells of the former Habsburg prison, the show curated by Nicolas Vamvouklis brings together sculptures, paintings, prints and videos by international artists. The starting point of the exhibition is the tension between inner and outer worlds, public and private realms, interpreted through the idea of the body as a shell that is both a home and a prison.

The focus then broadens to the collective dimension and observes the performative roles the body plays in social gatherings of celebration, mourning or protest.

Soundsuits – the iconic series in which Nick Cave blends armor, ceremonial dress and couture fashion – becomes a symbol of autonomy and empowerment. Among the works on show are the cut-off Polaroids by Maripol (Eyes are the reflection of your soul, 2013), which capture the celebrity gaze, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s enigmatic portrait of fictitious figures in a timeless setting (Pass, 2011).


The research also explores narratives contained in the Imago Mundi project, such as Accra Shepp’s work Shit Is Fucked Up and Bullshit (2013), from the United States: Organix collection, which critically questions social movement participation in the digital age.

Finally, the exhibition considers the idea of traces: the physical but also immaterial remnants we leave behind us. The 27 pairs of high-heeled shoes in the installation Fela: Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen… (2002) by Barkley L. Hendricks reference the symbolic polygamy of the Afrobeat pioneer and activist Fela Kuti.

The music-filled documentary The Whole Gritty City by Richard Barber and Andre Lambertson follows the marching bands of New Orleans and ultimately reveals the strength of an overlooked segment of society.

From the notion that collecting is both a creative act and an expression of care, the show offers an interpretation of the experiences contained within the Luciano Benetton Collection. The artworks in the exhibition pulse with an energy that visitors are invited to embrace and respond to with their own movement.


Participating artists:

Hamed Al Moctar, Arman, Stuart Bird, Iskra Blagoeva, Ecke Bonk, Seni Camara, Bianca Casady, Nick Cave, Mohammed Charinda, Felix Deac, Birgit Dieker, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Roman Dziadkiewicz, Leo Gabin, Barkley L. Hendricks, Karoline Jeuffroy, Joseph Kosuth, Dapper Bruce Lafitte, Helmut Lang, Deborah Luster, Joseph Lyombo, Maripol, Atefeh Marjani, Angel Miov, Asli Narin, Ousmane Ndiaye Dago, Hermann Nitsch, Hélio Oiticica, Giangi Pezzotti, Anna Elionora Olsen Rosing, Haralampi G. Oroschakoff, Iona Rozeal Brown, Accra Shepp, Mario Toral, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Arturas Valiauga.