With the “Palai Venture,” the Art Earth Stages Its Comeback

Klara Lidén. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.

The southern Italian hamlet of Lecce is sweltering in July, but the Apulian heat didn’t cease much more than a hundred artists, gallerists, curators, and artwork critics from packing the decadent Palazzo Tamborino Cezzi to the brim for the opening night time of Palai. Conceived by Parisian gallerists Daniele Balice and Nerina Ciaccia, the 1-of-a-type palazzo venture is the lovechild of a collaboration amid 10 European galleries (like the duo’s eponymous Balice Hertling and Ciaccia Levi galleries). The group exhibition, which operates as a result of the 15th of September in Balice’s and Ciaccia’s indigenous region of Puglia, was the resource of substantially enjoyment after a 12 months in isolation. The palace courtyard, lit by the heat glow of Klara Liden’s gas-canister-turned-chandelier,  buzzed with exhilaration as art entire world dignitaries mingled and toasted to the event’s coming accomplishment. In the days that followed, a solid of people assembled above late dinners, beach visits, and farmhouse events.


Luis Fratino. Courtesy Ciaccia Levi, Paris.

This convivial spirit is specifically what the Balice and Ciaccia hoped to cultivate with Palai, which came to everyday living all through dreary lockdown days in Paris this spring. With their sights established on resuscitating the joyful innovative spirit of Puglia, the duo assembled a cadre of international curators and neighborhood Leccesian artists to investigate new forms of site-distinct exhibition-making. The final result, a sprawling, multi-generational giving from above forty artists, has been mounted in the Palazzo Tamborino Cezzi. Positioned along dusty staircases, in crumbling doorways, and at the center of empty ballroom flooring, the is effective breathe new existence into the palace’s 16th-century architecture, which has fallen into disrepair in the intervening generations.


Xinyi Cheng. Courtesy Balice Hertling, Paris, Antenna Place, Shanghai, Terraterra Artwork Residency.

Palai is a celebration of reunion, expressed as a result of contrasts—contemporary parts, established towards torn wallpaper, corroded mild fixtures, and faded frescoes introduce the textures of every day life into a timeless space. Upon coming into the courtyard of the palazzo—or “palai,” in the regional Griko dialect— visitors are greeted by a site-certain sculpture of two gentlemen locked in an embrace, courtesy of the New York artist Louis Fratino. Physical contact is also a central aim for the Georgian artist Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili, whose abstract digital prints—made by inserting objects like acrylic nails on negative film— line the halls. At the foot of the grand staircase, collaborative display prints by the American artist Eric Heist and the late polyphonic genius BREYER P-ORRIDGE (he/r closing physique of get the job done) echo equivalent corporeal themes. The upstairs loggia is stuffed with modest tarot card-encouraged oil paintings by the French painter Julie Beaufils, which carry to head Salentine traditions of ritual and magic, adding new depth to the washed-out ochre hues of the palazzo’s frescoes.


Julie Beaufils. Courtesy Balice Hertling, Paris.

As Palai‘s opening weekend unfolded, visitors fell in appreciate with the artwork on show and the town of Lecce in equal measure. The village’s baroque architecture, crafted from nearby limestone, is the backdrop to a burgeoning regional art scene— a person that Palai’s organizers were being keen to highlight in the exhibition. Central to this hard work was P.I.A., a neighborhood investigate heart and academic method for artists and curators. Between Lecce’s several modern artwork spaces, Progetto—an global residency area that invitations intercontinental artists to interact with the region’s history—echoes the exhibition’s dedication to web-site-specific resourceful work. Palai will go on to host events and welcome people by mid-December. In the meantime, Balice Hertling and Ciaccia Levi are by now hard at operate on the second iteration of Palai, which will welcome site visitors subsequent summer time.



Amber Andrews. Courtesy Ciaccia Levi, Paris.


Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili. Courtesy LC Queisser.


Benjamine Hirte. Courtesy LAYR, Vienna, Rome.


Aviva Silverman. Courtesy Veda, Florence.

PALAI’S Taking part GALLERIES: Antenna Place, Shanghai Balice Hertling, Paris Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo Ciaccia Levi, Paris Sadie Coles HQ, London Bill Cournoyer / The Assembly, New York Layr, Vienna/Rome LC Queisser, Tbilisi Veda, Florence and ZERO…Milan.

PALAI’S Taking part ARTISTS: Theodora Allen, Alma Allen, Amber Andrews, March Avery, Alex Ayed, Julie Beaufils, Anna-Sophie Berger, Jonathan Binet, Camille Blatrix, Regina Bogat, Xinyi Cheng, Isabelle Cornaro, Morgan Courtois, Horacio Alcolea Crespo, Enzo Cucchi, Alfred D’Ursel, Simone Fattal, Louis Fratino, Owen Fu, Anya Gallaccio, Francesco Gennari, Breyer P-Orridge / Eric Heist, Benjamin Hirte, Yu Honglei, Yukie Ishikawa, Jutta Koether, Friedrich Kunath, Mimi Lauter, Klara Liden, Florian Maier-Aichen, Jonatah Manno, Beaux Mendes, Ketuta Alexi Meskhishvili, Monique Mouton, Chalisée Naamani, Kayode Ojo, Ser Serpas, Aviva Silverman, Martine Syms, Alexander Tovborg, Damon Zucconi.