Membranes and monsters. The new art rituals by Yuval Avital for the Reggio Parma Festival – Reggio Emilia

Yuval Avital, MembranesInstallation view, Foreign Bodies n.1, Cloisters of San Pietro Reggio Emilia, 2022 | Photo: © Andrea Mazzoni

Reggio Emilia – Return to the earth as a primal element, skin to skin. Penetrate into ancestral memories, to descend into a darkness full of doubts, fears, sometimes violence, and then go up again, purified, establishing a different contact with oneself and with others.
In the great epic of life translated into art by the artist Yuval Avital, the search for identity takes place which, in adulthood, proceeds backwards towards the origins.
The Bestiary of the earththe great art ritual that the Israeli multimedia artist, composer and guitarist conceived as the project of the year of Reggio Parma Festival – one of the most prestigious artistic associations in Italy, which since 2001, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, has been carrying out cultural promotion activities in the Parma and Reggio Emilia area – goes on inviting the public to new appointments scheduled until December.
The Bestiary of the Earththe great choral monograph, or meta-work in many stages as the artist himself defined it, which began last June 9, interwoven with dozens of unpublished works, including sculptures, scores, installations that assist the meeting (perfectly successful ) between theater and contemporary art, continues with two new appointments that invite the two cities, Reggio Emilia and Parma, to huddle in unison with Yuval’s song punctuated by multiple languages.
The exhibition Membranesin progress until November 13, concludes the first chapter of the project The Bestiary of the Earthan unconventional investigation focused on the sense of incompleteness felt by man, a feeling that becomes a driving force to search and discover the innermost folds of the ego, in a hybridization or contamination with the animal nested in each of us.

Yuval Avital, Membrane, Installation view, Cloisters of San Pietro, Reggio Emilia, 2022 | Photo: © Andrea Mazzoni

In Reggio Emilia, inside the Benedictine Cloisters of San Pietro, Yuval’s itinerary, curated by Marina Dacci, becomes an itinerary in seven stages in the many frescoed rooms of the historic building. On the ground floor there is a focus on painting and drawing, on the upper floor there is the project Foreign Bodies. The latter embraces a selection of photographic images of the three stages, developed from 2017 to today, in different European territories (Switzerland, Germany and now in Emilia exhibited here in preview) and a monumental multimedia installation in which moving images are accompanied from the sounds created by Yuval Avital in the long sleeve of the Cloisters.
With this determined, sometimes difficult nature, some dancers are called to measure themselves by seeking a deep contact between their body and the environment that surrounds them.

Yuval Avital, Membrane, Installation view Foreign Bodies n.3, Cloisters of San Pietro Reggio Emilia, 2022 | Photo: © Andrea Mazzoni

To enrich and simplify the reading of Foreign bodies in one room, the charcoal drawings sketched by Avital directly on the floor, reproducing the archetypal postures that involved the performers during the different sessions. A room is instead dedicated to listening to the dancers’ interviews on the lived experience.
On the ground floor, the environment of the painting and drawing section is confronted with the important decorations of the rooms, now moving away from them, now recalling them in a different key. The visitor’s journey is thus charged, from room to room, with the energy moved by the movement of color and sign, which marries the sound vibrations emitted by the Singing tubes.

Despite the different stylistic figures and the media used, the two floors of the Cloisters of San Pietro are ideally united by the development of common lines, which simulate a path that proceeds backwards towards the origins.

Yuval Avital, Membrane, Installation view Foreign Bodies n.3, Cloisters of San Pietro Reggio Emilia, 2022 | Photo: © Andrea Mazzoni

Avital transforms the theaters of Parma and Reggio into dreamlike spaces
Putting adulthood under the lens and developing topical themes of this phase of life, Membranes anticipates the three chapters of Monstrousan extraordinary multidisciplinary event that for three weekends, between November 18 and December 11will burst into the cities of Parma and Reggio Emilia, transforming the main theaters of the two cities – the Teatro Regio di Parma, the Teatro Due in Parma, and the Teatro Valli of Fondazione I Teatri Reggio Emilia – into dreamlike exhibition spaces.
The study of the symbolism of medieval bestiaries led Avital to create a collection of twenty bestial scenes. These unprecedented settings rework traditional iconography in a contemporary key, generating a living and relational laboratory that attempts to grasp the animal nature inherent in the human one. Actors, singers, performers, dancers, puppeteers will transform the spaces of theaters, even those usually not accessible to the public, into surprising live performances.

Membranes and the three chapters of Monstrous they are added to the interpretation on the equation of man and his animality in the here and now conducted by Avital for the Reggio Parma Festival and which has its roots in the tradition of bestiaries, the typical medieval treatises that have always been an iconographic source for artists , which collect descriptions of real and fantastic animals.

The Bestiary of the Earth by Yuval Avital | Photo: © Andrea Mazzoni

The current exhibitions at the Reggio Parma Festival
Next to Membranes, which opened its doors on October 1st, the exhibitions and installations already open in various locations in the city will continue throughout the autumn. Until November 27 at the Civic Museums of Reggio Emilia you can float in the huge wunderkammer of Exquisite anatomiesan artist exhibition that investigates the anatomical and poetic bodies in dialogue with the museum collections and, in particular, with the famous Spallanzani Collection.
Six more days, until 9 October, to let oneself be enveloped in the Casa del Suono in Parma, by the magnetic Song of the Zoophore, an unprecedented icon-sound installation by Yuval Avital which, using over 200 speakers, invites the public to get lost in a metaphysical womb. If until 30 October at Palazzo Marchi, in Parma, Persona multimedia exhibition created by Parma 360 in collaboration with Reggio Parma Festival, weaves site specific dialogues with the historical collections of the building, opening a reflection on the theme of the mask and our most intimate layers, until 16 October APE Parma Museum invites to decode Animal Lexicon. Prologue. This singular exhibition, curated by Cristiano Leone, brings together photography, performance, sound, video, installation, sculpture, painting, theater in a single vision, following a possible transformation of man into animal.
Finally, the permanent work performed by Simone Ferrarini, entitled Corpse Exquisa mural eighty meters long by ten high, definitively places Avital’s hybrid and fantastic beings at the Magazzino Farmacie Comunali Riunite in Reggio Emilia.

Il Canto dello Zooforo by Yuval Avital, Icon-sound installation, Parma, Casa del Suono, 10 June-9 October as part of the Reggio Parma Festival | Photo: © Samantha De Martin for

Read also
• Yuval Avital: I’ll tell you about my Bestiary of the Earth, a choral journey into the human fabric and its history
The Bestiary of the Earth by Yuval Avital: a hymn to the arts between Reggio Emilia and Parma on the edge of talent

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