Maps and Myths of the Mediterranean


curated by Valentina Bruschi

Museo Archeologico Regionale Antonino Salinas, Palermo

Opening: Friday June 30th 2017, at 6.00 pm
Open to the public
: July 1st – September 10th 2017


From July 1st to September 10th 2017, the Museo Archeologico Regionale Antonino Salinas of Palermo presents, Viaggio in Sicilia. Maps and Myths of the Mediterranean, Planeta’s project for Art and the Territory, curated by Valentina Bruschi, with new works by six artists: Marianna Christofides, Gabriella Ciancimino, Malak Helmy, Andrew Mania, Pietro Ruffo, Luca Trevisani.

The seventh edition of Viaggio in Sicilia, comprises this exhibition as a result of the impressions absorbed during the artist’s nomadic residency, which took place in September 2016 during grape harvest, and the artists’ reference to the Salinas Museum collection. Amongst the most important archaeological exhibition sites in Europe, the museum opens to contemporary art for the first time, enhancing its constant opening to different media which are increasingly orientated to the present, ​​in order to look at the art of the past with new eyes.

Six artists of the same generation, three Italians and three from other countries, traveled through Sicily seeing different places, people and stories in one of the Italian regions richest in myths and legends. Landscapes and symbols sparked their imaginations and the resulting works have been specifically designed for the museum spaces, from sculpture to drawing, from photography to video, always in dialogue with the collection of the Salinas Museum. A path of contemporary artworks will be aligned, parallel to the museum’s new collection display, around the two sixteenth-century cloisters and includes the ex-cells of the northern corridor of the Greater Cloister of the former Olivella Monumental Complex.

As the Director of the Museum, Francesca Spatafora states: “The project is the result of a collaboration between a public institution and a private company that has always been interested in the promotion of art and culture, which aims to stimulate visitors to the Museum to look at ancient works of art through the point of view of contemporary artists. This is a way to reduce the erroneous perception of a gap between the art of the past and that of the present and to foster in the visitors the idea of dialogue between artworks of different ages and types”.


How can two different themes, such as “maps” and “myths”, dialogue with each other? Myth in Sicily is a constant undercurrent, used since ancient times to explain the majestic natural phenomena, from the sea – that surrounds the three-pointed island, whose triangular shape has fed legends – to the perpetually active volcanoes, from Etna to Stromboli. Maps have an ancient tradition, perfected by Arab geographers. In a continuous line running from the majesty of the Greek temples, clearly visible and impressive to those who came from afar, to the Norman fortified churches, the castles of Frederick II, the geography of these places disseminated the Sicilian territory with symbolic meanings, places of protection and identification. In contemporary art, maps have become one of the many languages of artistic expression, starting in the sixties, from those created by Jasper Johns of the United States to the global ones conceived by Alighiero Boetti. For these artists, scale and precision are of no importance and the entire map becomes a work of art where the places may be recognizable although not represented with geographical accuracy.

Marianna Christofides (Nicosia, Cyprus, 1980) presents two films related to archaeology and mythology, questioning different historical points of view and she has created a site-specific text-work based on myth and its use in contemporary academic and scientific research. Gabriella Ciancimino (Palermo, 1978) elaborated a map during the trip, subsequently enriched with new elements that refer to some of the maps contained within the ancient volumes of the precious library of the Salinas Museum, one of the most important libraries in Sicily. Ciancimino also presents two sculptures that reference the shape of a boat, ancient symbol of journeys and migrations of men and plants. Malak Helmy (Alexandria, Egypt, 1982) presents a series of sculptures and a sound installation – with music and lyrics – especially created for the garden of the greater cloister, under whose porches and colonnades once members of the religious congregation walked whilst meditating in peace. Andrew Mania (Bristol, 1974), fascinated by the perfection of classical statuary, has reworked some images on paper and collage works, whilst Pietro Ruffo (Rome, 1978) has produced a map with paper cut-outs and a globe that references the linguistic richness of the Mediterranean represented in the archeological pieces exhibited in the museum’s Epigraphic Hall. Luca Trevisani (Verona, 1979) presents a new series of his, Notes for dried and living bodies, and a work based on the cast copy (kept in the museum), of the famous engravings of the Addaura caves dating back to about 12,000 years ago and that, for security reasons, are closed to the public. From the museum library, which contains about 25,000 antique books, a rare Atlas dating from the 17thcentury is exhibited in dialogue with the maps made by the artists.

A bilingual catalogue (Italian/English) has been published for the exhibition Viaggio in Sicilia. Maps and Myths of the Mediterranean with a large selection of images and texts by Francesca Spatafora, Valentina Bruschi, Gianluigi Ricuperati, the writer who participated in the final part of the trip, Vito Planeta and Flavia Frisone.

The trip was documented with a photographic réportage by Leonardo Scotti (Milan, 1988) on, with images and texts that illustrate details of the places visited.

In May 2017, Planeta’s project, Viaggio in Sicilia was awarded the third edition of the Premio Gavi – La buona Italia, for having effectively integrated art and culture with a welcoming activity and touristic development of the territory. The prize was supported by, amongst others, MiBACT, MIPAAF, Confindustria Federturismo, Civita, Federculture and Touring Club Italiano.

We wish to thank the Centro Servizi del Sistema Museale di Ateneo of the Università degli Studi – Palermo.





project: Planeta for Art and Territory

title: Viaggio in Sicilia. Maps and Myths of the Mediterranean

curated by: Valentina Bruschi

artists: Marianna Christofides, Gabriella Ciancimino, Malak Helmy, Andrew Mania, Pietro Ruffo, Luca Trevisani

photographer: Leonardo Scotti

graphic and exhibition design: Ignazio Mortellaro


Museo Archeologico Regionale Antonino Salinas

piazza Olivella – 90133 Palermo

  1. +39 091 6116807 |



opening: Friday June 30th2017, at 6.00 pm

open to the public: Saturday July 1st – Sunday September 10th 2017

opening times: from Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30 am – 6.30 pm; Sunday and holidays, 9.30 am -1.30 pm

entrance: free


hashtag social: #VIS7 #planetawinery #museosalinas #lestoriedituttinoi



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