Marinella Senatore (b. 1977) works across performance, video, photography, installation, sculpture, drawing, and collage. Her multi-disciplinary practice is characterised by a strong participatory dimension and a constant dialogue between history, popular culture, and social structures. These explorations encourage social change while linking the artist’s autobiographical experiences to shared narratives.
Borrowing some elements from activism, feminism and political engagement, Senatore creates new ‘environments’ that set in motion a mechanism capable of generating energy from something or someone that already exists, including the viewer, through their voluntary and involuntary participation. For example, her pivotal work Rosas (2012) is a filmed opera in three screen acts produced through collaborations with local associations, schools, individuals and self-organized groups, professionals and amateurs, who contributed to every step of its production in the cities of Berlin, Derby, and Madrid. Then in the same year, Senatore founded The School of Narrative Dance, a nomadic school focused on non-hierarchical learning and emancipation. Established on the idea of storytelling as an experience that proposes alternative forms of learning, it delved into the creation of active citizenship through informal education. Cultivating dialogues through public spaces and actions, Senatore’s “narrative dance” suggested different possibilities of narration as it perceived and defined reality.
More recent projects include a monumental light installation for the Dior Cruise 2021 Collection that transformed Puglia into a multi-sensory fairground. Senatore’s text-based slogans appeared as part of the glowing installation and highlighted the Southern Italian town’s history, culture, and crafts. The artist had also illustrated the anastatic copy of the first printed edition of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, where she created five original subjects that gracefully illustrate Dante’s epic allegory, printed by hand through a photolithography technique.
An undisputed pioneer within the international artistic panorama, Senatore was recently selected to participate in the 34th São Paulo Art Biennial, scheduled to open in September. The result of Senatore’s immersion and collaboration with agents and collectives from Cidade Tiradentes will be presented in a solo exhibition. Curated by the team of Italian critic and curator Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, the biennial’s title Faz Escuro Mas Eu Canto (Though It’s Dark, I Still Sing) comes from a 1962 poem by the Brazilian poet Thiago de Mello published to send a message of hope amid a political turmoil.
Born in Cava de’ Tirreni, Italy, Senatore attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples (1994-1997), the Conservatory of Music (1997), and the National School of Cinema in Rome (1999-2001). She was awarded the prestigious MAXXI prize and was the recipient of the ‘Museum Calls Artist’ commission of the Association of Italian Contemporary Art Museums (AMACI). She won the Fellowship for Young Italian Artists at Castello di Rivoli, Turin in 2011, and in 2010, was awarded the New York Prize, the 21st Bellisario Award, the Gotham Prize and the Terna Prize. Her work has been exhibited at significant venues around the world, with performances and projects held in collaboration with Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (2020); ICC Madrid (2020); The Centre for the Less Good Idea, Johannesburg (2019); Magazzino Italian Art, New York (2019); the National Theatre Mannheim and Kunsthalle Mannheim (2018); ‘Activating Public Space,’ High Line, New York (2018); Art Night, London (2018); Manifesta, Palermo (2018); and Centre Pompidou (2017), amongst several others. Senatore currently lives and works between Rome and Paris.