Royal Palace | Royal Museums of Turin
Many artists have drawn inspiration from international cinema history in order to deconstruct the codes of cinematic language, to question the strategies of construction and representation of identity, to re-negotiate the spectatorial experience and – in a game of references, associations and appropriations – to create something radically new.
Curated by Giovanna Fazzuoli and Giulia Magno within the framework of the Turin-based festival ‘Cinema a Palazzo Reale’, Re-enactments explores the intersections between cinema and the visual arts by bringing a selection of artists’ films into dialogue with the masterpieces of cinema history that – from Buñuel to Hitchcock, from Pasolini to Polański – inspired them.
The opening night brings together two different interpretations of the myth of Medea: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film Medea (1969) and the homonym experimental adaptation (2013) by Austrian multimedia artist Ursula Mayer.
Euripides’ tragedy contrasts two worlds which are no longer compatible with one another: the archaic hieratic world of Medea and the modern rational world of Jason. The clash between the two characters, who confront each other here as representatives of their opposing systems, raises the eternal question of peaceful coexistence between cultures in a globalized world. Ursula Mayer pays tribute to Pasolini by setting her interpretation of the myth through the caves of Cappadocia. If Pasolini decided to cast an international icon like Maria Callas as the female lead, in Mayer’s experimental work the roles of Medea and Jason – archetypal symbols of the binary opposition between masculine and feminine – are both played by queer feminist icon JD Samson (musician in the band MEN and Le Tigre). Operating somewhere between the mythical dimension and the contemporary world, JD Samson becomes a symbolic figure for the surmounting of cultural and national borders.
Left: Dante and Virgil meet Sapìa amongst the envious, engraving by Gustave Doré (1832-1883).
Right: A hand-painted still from Stan Brakhage’s The Dante Quartet (1967).