Cinque Mostre 2019: Δx Displacement

February 15, 2019
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Δx Displacement

An annual exhibition of artwork and curatorial projects by the Rome Prize and Italian Fellows and invited artists.

Opening: February 20th, 6 pm
Curated by Ilaria Gianni

Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, Erin Besler, Carola Bonfili, Joannie Bottkol + Allison Emmerson + Zaneta Hong + Karyn Olivier, Michael Ray Charles, Invernomuto, Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong + Judy Chung, Renato Leotta, Michelle Lou + Marcel Sanchez Prieto + Adriana Cuéllar, Jessie Marino + Michael Leighton Beaman, Helen O’Leary + Joannie Bottkol, Gabriele Silli, Basil Twist + Kirstin Valdez Quade, Francesco Zorzi

Composed of collaborative projects, under the collective title Δx Displacement, Cinque Mostre 2019 features work by current Rome Prize Fellows, Italian Fellows, and invited artists installed in various sites throughout the McKim, Mead & White Building at the American Academy in Rome, and including a series of performances. The performances presented on the occasion of the opening will be repeated during a collateral event on March 7.

Bringing together works by visual artists, architects, designers, writers, archeologists, art historians and conservators, in a range of media and scales that respond to the various meanings of the term displacement, Δx focuses on conditions questioning the poetics of the ordinary, unsettling a sense of belonging, and disrupting conventional relationships.

The title of the exhibition, which sums up themes explored in different ways by all of the participating artists, takes its cue from the project conceived by Fellows Michelle Lou (composer) and Marcel Sanchez Prieto (architect), who ask “how do our spaces/environments reinforce a sense of place in the world, and how does displacement affect our sense of ourselves?”

A reference point is a recognizable element that grounds our sense of place both materially and immaterially. In order to describe any type of motion, we must indicate an initial position, one that is either shared with other individuals. A frame of reference can thus be geographical, architectural, historical, experience-based or even emotional, and a shift from this initial position, whether physically objective or subjective and personal, is defined as displacement not only by political, philosophical and psychological theories, but by mathematics. The equation Δx = xf ​− x0​ (where Δx refers to the displacement, xf​ to the value of the final position, and x0​ to the value of the initial position) is unequivocal: displacement is the difference in the position of two marks and is independent of the path taken when traveling between them. Following this logic, the American Academy in Rome is itself a dislocated space, and the Rome Prize Fellows are part of a displaced community, albeit one integrated into the surrounding city.

Δx broadly investigates the design and representation of stability, reflecting on the states of permanent upheaval whether social, political or emotional. The works in the exhibition, informed by numerous dialogues between overlapping fields of research, offer a dynamic exchange of opinions. Each intends to disrupt conventional images of natural or built environments of recollection, historical narratives, or emotional or physical perceptions, blurring the limits between reality and fiction, between a now and then, between a here and there.

Through the interplay of disparate media, shifting traditional models of image-making and story-telling, Δx mirrors the human relationship to life, history, vision, space, and nature, creating an experience where the impact of each element reverberates throughout the exhibition. Viewed together, the works provoke a lively discussion around ideas of dislocating and decentering, drawing on the audience’s participation to further enhance the reading of the terms, underlining how the act of displacement is, willing or otherwise, constantly affecting all physical, social and spiritual movements surrounding us.

Δx Displacement
Curated by Ilaria Gianni
American Academy in Rome
Via Angelo Masina, 5 Rome
On show until 31 March 2019

Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday, 4–7 pm
Free entry

The exhibition is made possible by the Adele Chatfield-Taylor and John Guare Fund for the Arts.

Special thanks to Cernit e ROSCO, production sponsors of the project “Macula” by Francesco Zorzi.


Maddalena Bonicelli, Rome Press Officer, Tel: +39 335 6857707,
Marques McClary, Director of Communications, Tel: +212.751.7200, ext 342,