Autoritratto al lavoro

9 May 2024 – 25 August 2024

Autoritratto al lavoro (Self-portrait at work) is the first major anthological exhibition on Elisabetta Benassi (Rome, 1966) presented by an institution active in the city where she lives and works. The project presents over twenty years of her artistic output, juxtaposing works from the early 2000s with more recent pieces and three new productions made specifically for the show.


Moving freely across a wide range of languages, media and imagery—an approach that has always been a distinctive earmark of her research—Benassi wryly observes the cultural, critical and artistic legacy of modernity, with the aim of “entering history not to quote from it, but to bring it back to life in the present, creating a sort of intrusion”, suggesting an always paradoxical idea of time.

Convinced that exhibitions are more important than individual works to convey an idea in a complex way, the artist has chosen to reflect on the very notion of a retrospective, formulating a large installation: a mise-en-scène of her works, built through a system of architectures and settings arranged in space like theatrical wings. Each of these modular structures has been conceived to host one work—partially concealing it from the gaze of visitors—and at the same time to respond to its specific narrative and poetic intentions, thus offering a new device for experiencing the works, which have often taken form in response to specific sites, situations, and time frames.


Each of these structures, covered with modular plaster panels bearing traces of the materials that have shaped them, will appear as a sculptural body with brutalist features, resulting in a display that is an artistic intervention in its own right, conceived to rethink the conventional formats of retrospective exhibitions.



ELISABETTA BENASSI (Rome, 1966) lives and works in Rome. With references to the cultural, political and artistic tradition of the 20th century, to psychoanalysis and controversial themes of the contemporary world, the oeuvre of Elisabetta Benassi critically scans the conflictual space of our present. The recurring characteristic of her artistic output is the use of installation, video, and photography as devices with which to create forceful emotional impressions along with a different moral focus inside the viewer. In the background of her works there is always a question about the condition and identity of the present, their relationship with the historical past and an urge to reconsider it, observing it against the light. Her work has been shown in many Italian and international contexts and institutions, 
including the Venice Biennale. Solo exhibitions include: The Drowned World, Peter Freeman Inc., New York (2024); Empire, Museo Nazionale Romano – Crypta Balbi, Rome (2022); Lady and Gentlemen, Fondazione Adolfo Pini, Milan (2021); The Sovereign Individual, Galerie Jousse Entreprise, Paris (2018); It Starts with the Firing, Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia (2017); Letargo, Magazzino, Rome (2017); Smog à Los Angeles, CRAC Alsace, Altkirch (2013); Voglio fare subito una mostra, Fondazione Merz, Turin (2013); Site Specific #2, MAN – Museo d’Arte Provincia di Nuoro, Nuoro (2007); Tutti morimmo a stento, MACRO – Museo di Arte Contemporanea di Roma (2004); In moto, Galleria Massimo De Carlo, Milan (2001). Recent group shows include: E la mia Patria è dove l’erba trema, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome (2023); Fuori Tutto, MAXXI Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo, Rome (2023); Building and Dreaming, By Art Matters, Hangzhou (2022); Meia-noite parte 2, Anozero ’21–22 – Bienal de Arte Contemporânea de Coimbra, Coimbra (2022); Congoville. Contemporary artists tracing colonial tracks, Middelheim Museum, Antwerp (2022); Extra Flags, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato (2020); SUM Artists: Visual Diagrams & Systems-Based Explorations, Wellin Museum of Art, Clinton (2020).  



With the support of Fondazione In Between Art Film, Collezione Maramotti, Gessi Roccastrada and Magazzino.



Heartfelt thanks to: Honold Collection Stoccarda / Stuttgart, Tabati Abderrazzak 

Curator: Luca Lo Pinto
Curatorial Coordinator: Vasco Forconi
Production Coordinator: Lorena Stamo
Production Assistant: Livia Danese
Art Handlers: Nomade Arte, Fabio Pennacchia, Carlo Giannone, Stefano Silvia, Matteo Pompili
Conservation and Restoration: Natalia Gurgone
Design of Architectural Elements: Ilaria Benassi
Coordination of Structures Development and Artist Assistance: Enrico Montanari, Montanari Luigi s.r.l.
Plaster Moulder: Antonio Luchinelli
Structures: Articolarte S.R.L.