Il mondo magico (The magical world), presents the work of three Italian artists—Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Roberto Cuoghi, and Adelita Husni-Bey—whose practices suggest a new faith in the transformative power of the imagination, and an interest in magic. With references to magic, fancy, and fable, these artists see art as a tool for inhabiting the world in all its richness and multiplicity.

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from Ernesto de Martino’s book Il mondo magico. De Martino (1908-65), developed seminal theories about the anthropological function of magic, which he studied for decades, describing its rituals as devices through which individuals try to regain control in times of uncertainty and reassert their presence in the world. Il mondo magico, written during the Second World War and published in 1948, ushered in a series of reflections on a body of beliefs, rituals, and myths that would continue to hold the Neapolitan anthropologist’s attention in the decades that followed, from his “Southern” trilogy (Sud e Magia, Morte e pianto rituale, and La terra del rimorso) up to his last writings, posthumously collected in La fine del mondo.

Within the landscape of contemporary Italian art, Andreotta Calò, Cuoghi, and Husni-Bey construct parallel universes that teem with references to magic, fancy, and fable, creating complex personal cosmologies. They see themselves not just as producers of artworks, but as active interpreters and creators of the world, which they reinvent through magic and the imagination. For the invited artists, magic is not an escape into the depths of irrationality but rather a new way of experiencing reality. What these artists have in common is not a specific consistency of style so much as a desire to find alternative ways of discovering and describing the world, stepping away from a more sterile documentary approach and moving instead into the realm of the fanciful and imaginary. “Il mondo magico” therefore sees the artist not just as a fabricator of works and objects but above all as a guide to interpreting the world—an architect of personal cosmologies.

Like the rituals described by de Martino, the works of Andreotta Calò, Cuoghi, and Husni-Bey stage situations of crisis that are resolved through processes of aesthetic and ecstatic transfiguration. If one looks closely, these works offer up the image of a country—both real and fanciful—where ancient traditions coexist with new global languages and vernaculars, and where reality and imagination melt together into a new magical world.


Roberto Cuoghi ->
Giorgio Andreotta-Calò ->
Adelita Husny-Bey ->