Il sospetto del paradiso 
Opening 30 May 2024, from 6 pm to 9 pm

30 May 2024 – 25 August 2024

Il sospetto del paradiso (The Suspicion of Paradise) is the first exhibition dedicated by a museum to the poet Patrizia Cavalli (Todi, 1947 – Rome, 2022), a pivotal figure in Italian poetry in the second half of the 20th century, whose Roman house was an important meeting place for the capital’s cultural milieu.  

Through more than 200 photographs by Lorenzo Castore, the exhibition project showcases the house in Via del Biscione near Campo de’ Fiori, where Cavalli lived for almost 50 years. The photographs, both in color and black and white film, were taken within a week, two months after the poet’s death and shortly before the house was dismembered. These photographs document for the last time the uninhabited interiors in a sequence of shots that focus on objects, furniture, portraits, manuscripts, and works by artists, often friends, collected by Cavalli over time. Her domestic world is thus reconstructed through detailed pictures with textural quality. 


A selection of typescripts and manuscripts show Cavalli’s use of a sophisticated poetry technique and an everyday vocabulary based on classical metrical structures that allow her to condense—with epigrammatic wittiness, reflective attitude, and irony—the mysteries of existence, leading the reader face to face with the poetical apparition.  


The exhibition also presents the publishing projects in which Cavalli collaborated with visual artists or presented art-related writings. They are essays for exhibition catalogs, poems or prose dedicated to artists or used by them as evocations, limited editions that take shape by juxtaposing words and artworks. They are all publications resulting from encounters and friendships.


The back wall shows the poet’s process of annotating, composing, fine-tuning, and publishing her poems, which alternates between manuscript and typescript form, conveying the metrical accuracy, stylistic and musical research concerning also short and simple poems.


At last, in Gianni Barcelloni’s video from the series Il navigatore. Ritratti di scrittori, Patrizia Cavalli reads her poems while walking through her house, and together with the director, she reflects on life, boredom, love, death, happiness, and unhappiness. In the middle of the exhibition room, a display case randomly presents 105 paper clippings with shopping lists and annotated thoughts of the poet. 


PATRIZIA CAVALLI (Todi, 1947 – Rome, 2022) debuted in 1974 with her first collection Le mie poesie non cambieranno il mondo published by Einaudi. Her literary debut was facilitated by an encounter during her philosophy studies with Elsa Morante, who recognized her poetic vocation and introduced her to the artistic world of the time: she became friends with Giorgio Agamben, Ginevra Bompiani, Alfonso Berardinelli, Bice Brichetto, Carlo Cecchi and Angelica Ippolito, among others. Biancamaria Frabotta included her in the anthology Donne in poesia – Antologia della poesia femminile in Italia dal dopoguerra ad oggi (Savelli, 1974). Later, the poetry books Il Cielo (Einaudi, 1981) and L’io singolare proprio mio (Einaudi, 1992) came out, which were collected together with the earliest book in the volume Poesie. 1974-1992 (Einaudi, 1992). This was succeeded by the publications Sempre aperto teatro (Einaudi, 1999), La guardiana (Nottetempo, 2005), Pigre divinità e pigra sorte (Einaudi, 2006), La patria (Nottetempo, 2011), Al cuore fa bene far le scale (with Diana Tejera, Voland, 2012), Datura (Einaudi, 2013), Flighty matters (Quodlibet, 2017), Con passi Giapponesi (Einaudi, 2019) and Vita meravigliosa (Einaudi, 2020).