The Via San Gennaro project was the winner of the fourth Italian Council competition (2018), an event set up by the Italian Ministry of Culture’s General Office for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Outskirts (DGAAP) to promote contemporary Italian art around the world, funding works by some of Italy’s leading artists in strategic collaboration with Italian and international museum institutions. The MAN helped provide support for Sonia Leimer in partnership with the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York – one of the best established innovative contemporary art incubators on a global level – where the project was presented for the first time from September 2019 to January 2020, curated by Kari Conte and Luigi Fassi.
Via San Gennaro is the outcome of an intensive artist residency lasting several months in New York. During her stay, Sonia Leimer researched Italian memories of Little Italy in Manhattan, the New York neighbourhood that symbolizes the history of Italian migration to the United States, especially from the southern and Mediterranean regions. It has been a crossroads of individual and collective destinies from the twentieth century onwards.
Comprising sculptures, videos and drawings, the exhibition provides recognition of a combination of traces, phenomena and urban sediments capable of telling the story of Little Italy’s transformations together with the relentless disappearance of Italian memories. The exhibition takes its title from the celebration of the Feast of San Gennaro which has taken place every September in Little Italy since 1924.
The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive catalogue published with ISCP and Mousse Publishing and featuring critical essays by Alessandra Cianchetta, Kari Conte and Luigi Fassi.