The Biennale Gherdëina, located in the unique setting of the UNESCO World Heritage Dolomites, is delighted to announce the appointment of Lorenzo Giusti as curator of its ninth edition, entitled The Parliament of Marmots. The Alpine festival—which has grown over the years to become one of the most eagerly awaited events on the European art scene—will take place in Ortisei Urtijëi St. Ulrich and the surrounding areas of Val Gardena Gherdëina Gröden, from May 31 to September 1, 2024.
The Parliament of Marmots will be part of a broader network of initiatives, which will also expand to the Bergamo area and the Orobie mountain range, under the project title “Thinking Like a Mountain”, over the two-year period 2024–25, along with other areas.
The title of the Biennale Gherdëina The Parliament of Marmots is borrowed from one of the best-known legends of the Dolomites, which tells the story of the “Fanes,” a meek and peaceful people whose kingdom extended beyond the seven mountains to the edge of the world. The secret of the Fanes’ prosperity lay in their alliance with the marmots that inhabited the plateau of the same name. When the alliance was broken because of a princess, ashamed of their pact with the animals, the Fanes met with misfortunes and conflicts that led to the decline of the kingdom.
Lorenzo Giusti is an Italian art historian and curator, a mountain enthusiast and lover of walking in natural spaces. Currently director of GAMeC in Bergamo, he has curated several solo and group exhibitions of both historical and contemporary authors, working with public and private institutions, including Art Dubai, the Venice Biennale, Artissima Turin, Vienna Curated by Festival, Palazzo Grassi-Punta della Dogana in Venice, OGR Turin, Shenzhen Animation Biennale, FRAC Corse, Triennale Milan, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and others. His particular interests lie in the relationship between the historical avant-gardes and contemporary languages, as well as the relationship between ecological thinking and the visual arts. He is the creator and co-editor of the digital platform Radio GAMeC, founded in 2020 in Bergamo during the pandemic.
More about the 2024 edition
Through various formats—including new productions for the public space, performances, solo and group exhibitions and workshops open to the public—The Parliament of Marmots will gather the contributions of artists from different areas of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, bringing together a multifaceted community in the wonderful natural setting of Val Gardena, called upon here to lay the creative foundations for a new strategic alliance between all species of the living world.
Thinking Like a Mountain is an expression coined by the American forester and environmental writer Aldo Leopold following an encounter with a pack of wolves. In A Sand County Almanac—a collection of reflections published posthumously in 1949—we read: “Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howling of the wolf.”
For Leopold, thinking like a mountain means being able to appreciate all the elements of the living and their profound relationships; an invitation to transcend the anthropocentric point of view and contemplate the ecosystem as an organism endowed with balance and harmony, and the wilderness as a treasure chest of regenerative mechanisms and processes to be safeguarded.
In the context of the Biennale Gherdëina and the other initiatives planned for the 2024–25 period, Leopold’s expression becomes a key to interpreting the project’s desire to promote an ethic of the Earth, stemming from responsible interaction with natural spaces and the shared exercise of a creativity that respects regenerative rhythms and validates differences between various species.
“When I was asked to curate the Biennale Gherdëina,” explains Lorenzo Giusti, “I felt it was meaningful to propose an alliance with the project I was carrying out in the context of the Orobie area around Bergamo. The transformations of ecological thought linked to the myth of wild nature will form the backdrop to a narrative that, together with the various European areas, will involve the entire Mediterranean basin—a space of recursive and multidirectional migrations of numerous species of the living world—linking it to the mountains in ideal terms.”
The project guidelines will be presented by Lorenzo Giusti, in Ortisei, on July 22, 2023, accompanied by a performance by Palestinian artist Mirna Bamieh.
At the same time, the association Zënza Sëida will organise a symposium aimed at exploring the relationship between the mountain landscape and contemporary art. Starting from the specific case of the Dolomites and their millenary history, the question will be asked as to what Alpine nature can offer the international art community and what the repercussions on the territory are from an environmental, cultural, social and economic point of view. The symposium will host speakers such as Sabine Gamper (curator), Giovanna Melandri (environmentalist and economist), Harald Pechlaner (economist), the EURAC Center for Advanced Studies, Herwig Prinoth (palaeontologist) and Ute Watzl (journalist and author), in a debate moderated by Traudi Messini. The symposium will be held in German and Italian with simultaneous translation.
Biennale Gherdëina was founded by Doris Ghetta in 2008 in the unique setting of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Dolomites. It commissions and produces contemporary works of art, which are exhibited during the festival in Ortisei and the surrounding area. Biennale Gherdëina fosters dialogue between innovation and the renowned tradition of wood sculpture, which formed the starting point of the event. Over the course of the various editions, the dialogue with artistic and geographical traditions has grown more and more. Biennale Gherdëina had the opportunity to work with curators such as Filipa Ramos and Lucia Pietroiusti, Adam Budak (trilogy), Luca Beatrice, Günther Oberhollenzer and produced or exhibited works by important international artists.