Italy is on show at the Olympics and
Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro with two important exhibitions and
exclusive coverage of the games by state broadcaster RAI.
Sport represents a major opportunity for Italy to "demonstrate its excellence" and "a parallel challenge (to the country) to present itself as a Country system with its strengths and also with its appeal", said Culture Minister Dario Franceschin and Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the presentation of Rio 2016 at the foreign affairs ministry on Thursday. Further, the statue of Christ the Redeemer that dominates Rio will be lit up with the colours of the Italian flag on August 3, when Premier Matteo Renzi is due to inaugurate Casa Italia.
Art takes centre stage at the Museum of Modern Art in the coastal city until September 11 with work by 19 artists including Maurizio Cattelan, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Luigi Ontani, coming from the MAXXI museum of 21st century art and architecture in Rome. The exhibition 'Art on stage' curated by Anna Mattirolo, which has already shown in Buenos Aires, presents a range of media including arte povera, photography, video, drawings, paintings and architectural drawings to narrate the various languages of contemporary art. "MAXXI is a laboratory of contemporary art and the future and I believe it is important to take this Italy to Rio," said MAXXI Foundation president and ex culture minister Giovanna Melandri. "We are working to make MAXXI an instrument of cultural diplomacy. The appointment in Rio comes within in a difficult geopolitical context and it is a special opportunity to open up cultural frontiers," she added. Franceschini also said that all state-run museums in Italy would display an artwork linked to the theme of sport starting from the first Sunday in August and for the duration of the Games. Back in Rio, the exhibition 'The games in Greece and in Rome' curated by Eugenio La Rocca opens at the Museum of Fine Arts on July 26.
The show presents 54 works subdivided into Olympic disciplines, while a multimedia room presents 3D reconstructions of the Flavian Amphitheatre (Colosseum), Circus Maximus and Stadium of Domitian. The exhibition also evokes the Olympics and Paralympics in Rome in 1960. "It is an exhibition to remind people how the Olympics began. The prizes were very basic and poor. In the ancient games the crowns were made from wild celery. The athletics competitions have changed but a part remains and is well represented in the more recent Olympics: javelin throwing, boxing, wrestling. Other more dangerous competitions have changed," La Rocca said. Meanwhile, Italian state broadcaster RAI is to provide over 5,000 hours of broadcasting across all platforms "from the opening to the closing of the Games", director general Antonio Campo Dall'Orto said.
"We are faced with the double challenge tramnsmitting the importance of representing ourselves to our country and communicating the culture of the Country system. It is essential that the public service broadcaster speaks to those who are interested in Italy," Campo Dall'Orto continued. Gentiloni described sport as "an instrument of diplomacy" and as "an opportunity to send a message of friendship to Brazil that is going through a complicated period that we are sure it will overcome".
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