Riccardo Giacconi

Installation / Commissioned work


Grazer Kunstverein

Production specifics
Cocommissioned and coproduced by steirischer herbst ’19 and Grazer Kunstverein

Supported by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Peripheries of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities in the context of the Italian Council 2019 Program

In collaboration with Carteles La Linterna (Cali), Franco Citterio (Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla e Figli), Herlyng Ferla, Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Giulia Marzin, Verena Rastner (ar/ge kunst), Katja Renzler, Stadtarchiv Innsbruck, Ina Tartler (Vereinigte Bühnen Bozen), Tiroler Landesarchiv, and Carolina Valencia Caicedo

Riccardo Giacconi’s new work looks at a hopeless alternative: the one between fascism and fascism. In the 1940s the people of South Tyrol were given the option of either emigrating to neighboring Nazi Austria (and other Third Reich territories) or remaining in fascist Italy (and being forcibly integrated into mainstream Italian culture). Giacconi explores the resonances between the era of this so-called Option Agreement and the contemporary political climate in Europe today through an installation in the galleries of the Grazer Kunstverein and a performance in the streets of Graz during the opening days of the festival. Giacconi’s installation draws upon folk culture, political propaganda, and eyewitness accounts, using shadow plays, posters, film, and audio to question ideas of citizenship, nativism, and migration. His performance in public space will vaguely resemble the work of young street vendors of newspapers without a fixed newsstand who would cry out daily headlines. Using this format, Giacconi deconstructs “The Ten Commandments for Repatriants,” a set of practical tips taken from a historical leaflet for those who opted to relocate from Southern Tyrol to the Reich. Playing with fiction, abstraction, and the historical present, he thus creates a constellation between two points in time, examining the contemporary situation through the lens of a past event.