Visitors at one of the Rimini exhibitions in 2022 (Photo: Archivio Meeting)

Rimini Meeting: exhibitions 2023

From Burri to energy, from young people to labor, from the Azer Monastery to Péguy. Alessandra Vitez introduces us to this year's proposals. "In each there is a piece of life that leads to rediscovering the generative power of friendship".
Paola Ronconi

This is it. The time has come to have a look at this year’s Rimini Meeting and what it will offer, starting with the exhibitions. The common thread, the title of this year’s edition - Human Existence is an Inexhaustible Friendship – will run through the panels and videos discovering lives, topics, research and testimonies. "We will see that the person always desires friendship and that realizing that it is a gift that takes them out of loneliness and opens them to infinite needs that can be embraced," says Alessandra Vitez, head of exhibitions. In the past few months, "each proposal awakened something in us, provoked us to the point that we considered it decisive. Artistic journeys where beauty, full of attraction, takes us back to a "beyond" that lets itself be known; witnesses who by living the real intensely have encountered friends or have themselves become companions on many human paths; living friendships that challenge each other in facing work, scientific research, daily relationships to the point of setting out to look at - to learn - the most burning questions of young people. In each exhibition there is a piece of experience and life, inviting us to discover and rediscover the deep meaning and generative power of friendship."

Let’s start with art. Young Italians under 35 have drafted a Cultural Manifesto of Change, where they have selected 50 key-words, significant for today's world. Their reflections on these words have met as many protagonists of Italian art of more mature generations (Isgrò, Pistoletto, Cattelan, Paladino, Ceroli, Jodice, to name a few) who have created unpublished works that will be exhibited in Rimini in The Shape of Words. According to the exhibition's creator, singer-songwriter Giovanni Caccamo (the curator is Micol Forti, Vatican Museums), words are seeds that produce fruit and build bonds, alliances.
There will also be an exhibition on the work of Alberto Burri, the artist of "matter," of whom the poet Ungaretti said, "He is not only the greatest painter of today, but he is also the main cause of envy for me: he is the first poet of today." A large jute canvas, more than seven by nine meters, that Burri made as the theatrical backdrop for a play on a work by Ignazio Silone, L'avventura di un povero Cristiano, [The adventure of a poor Christian] will be exhibited in Rimini. Two videos will tell us about Burri's life and artistic production, accompanied by photos and one of the artist’s graphic series.

Alone I am not enough, is an exhibition that echoes the questions, expectations and desires of today's young people. Through realities such as Kayros (Fr. Claudio Burgio's home for young people), Portofranco (the study aid centre with many locations in Italy) and the professional school Piazza dei Mestieri, it will be possible to listen to young people, enter their lives and discover the difficulties and wonders of a world little understood by adults and that has a tiring, often dramatic and wounded relationship with reality to face. For this exhibition, Daniele Mencarelli has written three stories of young people starting from the words "freedom," "education," and "friendship."

The annual scientific event this year is dedicated to energy. What is it? What forms does it take? How does man, since the beginning of history, use it, transform it, accumulate it? What about the future? The exhibition space curated by Euresis and Camplus - D'essa natura infinite spetie - also includes an arena with daily meetings. The exhibition Cum tucte (curated by Fondazione Lombardia per l'Ambiente) will also address the topic of the environment, starting from the Canticle of the Creatures by St. Francis and focuses on the theme of sustainability (but not only), to look at creation as a sacred space, to be guarded and cared for.

Two exhibitions will help us enter the world of work. The Taste of the Everyday (curated by Cdo Agribusiness) speaks of work in fourth-century monasteries that, in the Europe of the waning Roman Empire, were the backbone of economic, cultural and social revival. Where do we find such generative power today? Through four sections, we will be taken on a journey, not only through time, in search of what can restore dignity to one of the central dimensions of the person. There will also be an exhibition entitled, A Task in the World. Those who work or seek work today, what do they ask? What do they bring to the table? A glimpse into the sphere of work, where one can find glimmers of excellence, but also great loneliness; where the deep need of the worker emerges, but where contractual conditions should not become everything: from the Cooperativa del Rione Sanità in Naples to Pizzaut, from Trenord to Danone, through a video journey.

The exhibition Resurgence. Living and Rethinking the City presents a journey that focuses on the privileged place for human relations. But for it to really have this function the individual person and their creativity must be put at the center. And here spaces and buildings can be rethought accordingly, in an attempt to regenerate communal living. Again, videos will show experiences of urban interventions, while the presence of the curators will allow a discussion with the viewer.

There will be no lack of great literature at the Meeting. On the 150th anniversary of his birth, an exhibition will be dedicated to Charles Péguy. "We must suffer the pain of seeing whole worlds, whole humanity live and prosper after Jesus. Without Jesus," he said, commenting on the "change of epoch" that the France of his time was experiencing, the expansion of de-Christianization in favor of a culture of progress that would gradually dismantle the experience of the people and the Catholic tradition. In the exhibition entitled The Great restlessness, visitors will discover the themes dear to Péguy through large installations in the form of notebooks (his Cahiers) where the questions and problems he posed will find harmony in today’s world.
The exhibition The Trials of History, the Leaven of Life will be dedicated to another well-known author. 40 years after the first publication of The Red Horse, the relevance of this text and its author, Eugenio Corti, is undeniable. The exhibition space will introduce the environment in which Corti was born and grew up, the genesis and contents of the book (also thanks to historical objects) with references to his experience in Russia. As well as readings of texts and songs by Alpine choirs.

The extraordinary story of a group of Trappist nuns who adhered to the proposal of the order's abbot-general to establish a cloistered convent in Syria - a land traversed by Peter and Paul where the monastic experience was born in the first centuries of the Christian era - is the subject of the exhibition Azer, God's Footprint. Videos, interviews, photos and texts will take us through various settings to discover a place of faith and friendship that then had to face a war with still disastrous consequences and last February's earthquake.

At the Meeting, we will learn about the life of José Gregorio Hernández Cisneros, a doctor, academic and religious man who was a luminous figure for the faith in rural Venezuela in the late 19th century (he was beatified in 2021). Tales and testimonies will tell us about The People's Doctor, a well-rounded man.

We will also be able to reach high altitudes in the exhibition, The Summit Companionship. This will help us understand the fatigue of walking that, following a guide, will lead us to wonder at an overwhelming beauty.
The figure of St. Thérèse of Lisieux will also feature at the Meeting through 30 large images that cover the life that blossomed in her thanks to her relationship with Jesus. The exhibition has received the patronage of UNESCO for the 150th anniversary of the Saint's birth.
Finally, Giovanni Guareschi will take us by the hand to tell us about the human adventure of his most famous characters, Don Camillo and Peppone.