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Temple art

Contemporary art in Agrigento's Valley of Temples

Temple art

Artworks of the past and present meet in Agrigento's Valley of Temples, the world famous archaeological site which is transformed into an open air museum for the "Contemporary Art for the Temple of Zeus" exhibition. Until October 3rd 2010, some fifty works by great Italian and international artists, such as Manzù, Botta, Messina Scialoja, Young and Shimamoto will be on display in the Temple of Concordia, the Temple of Zeus and the Porta Aurea. As part of an interesting experiment in the ability of ancient and contemporary art to co-exist, the Sicilian temples will, more than 2000 years since their construction, once again be inhabited by statues, from Francesco Messina's "Bianca" to Manzù's "Fuano".

Contemporary as they might be, many of the artworks have been inspired by classical canons of the human body. As they tour the exhibition inside the Valley of Temples, visitors are inevitably struck by the power of an artistic dialogue capable of spanning the centuries. Once again, the interiors of the temples (which for us have come to be naturally empty spaces) are now animated by statues and decorative works. Buildings normally closed to the general public, such as Villa Aurea, the Necropolis, and the cell of the Temple of Concordia, will also be open as part of the exhibition.

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The initiative has been promoted by UNESCO, the "Il Cigno" publishing house, and Rome's Macro Museum. The exhibition will culminate with an auction of the artworks at Christie's in Milan. The proceeds from the sale of the works will be used to finance the restoration of one of the eight Telamons of the Temple of Olympic Zeus. This impressive statue has been recomposed using the original fragments and is today positioned in front of the Temple of Zeus enabling visitors to see the Telamon in its original vertical position. An extraordinary artistic journey and an expression of solidarity from contemporary artists, amidst some of Sicily's greatest archaeological treasures.

Contemporary Art for the Temple of Zeus
Tempio della Concordia and Villa Aurea
Valley of Temples - Agrigento


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