Ente di Decolonizzazione at the Berlin Biennial and at Madre Museum in Napoli

Ente di Decolonizzazione – Borgo Rizza – is the new project by DAAR – Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal – which explores the possibility of critical reuse and subversion of fascist colonial architecture through an art installation.

Starting from the decomposition and recomposition of the facade of the Entity of Colonization of the Sicilian Latifundiium (1940) in Borgo Rizza (Siracusa), the installation is composed of several modules-sittings that are the platform of an open discursive space where the public is invited to reconsider critically the social, political and economic effect of fascist and colonial heritage and at the same time is invited to image collectively new common uses. The installation is presented and activated in several venues in Napoli (2022), Berlin (2022), Bruxells (2023) and Albissola Marina (2023).

The first activation of the “Ente di Decolonizzazione – Borgo Rizza” took place in May 2022 at the Mostra d’Oltremare in Napoli, which first opened in 1940. Conceived as a colossal exhibition to display the territories and people overseas in areas colonized by the fascist regime, it closed only 40 days after its opening, when Italy entered the Second World War. It has since had many temporary uses, including hosting refugees from the Second World War and from earthquakes in the 80s; acting as a vaccination center; and providing a venue for public events.

Bellezza e Terrore: luoghi di colonialismo e fascismo
a cura di Kathryn Weir
24.06 — 26.09.2022

The second activation of “Ente di Decolonizzazione – Borgo Rizza” took place at the Akademie der Künste in the Hansa Quarter in Berlin built in 1957 for the International Building Exhibition (Interbau). On this occasion, we were interested in exploring how modernist architecture was deployed for the representation of a democratic Germany. Today, Interbau (1957) and the Karl-Marx-Allee are on the way to becoming UNESCO world heritage sites for their Post-war architectural and urban modernism. With the participation of the public visiting the biennial, members of local associations, and students from New York University Abu Dhabi we looked into what the rhetoric of modernity is hiding, and how it has been mobilized in different contexts. Modernist architectures, both in the former colonies and the colonizing countries, have been built as isolated sacred objects to be admired; therefore, for us, it is not enough just to reuse them, they need to be profaned, to be used against themselves, and open for new common uses different from those they were designed for.

12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art
The Akademie der Künste in Berlin
June 11- Sep 18, 2022

Ente di Decolonizzazione – Borgo Rizza
A project by DAAR – Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti –

Research: ​​Sandi Hilal, Emilio Distretti, Alessandro Petti
Project coordinator: Sara Pellegrini
Public program curator: Matteo Lucchetti
Design assistance and executive production: Orizzontale and Zapoi
Documentation: Pietro Onofri
Website design: NERO editions
Online platform editor: Michele Angiletta for NERO editions

Acknowledgements: Corrado Gugliotta, Salvatore La Rosa, Iole Lianza, Laura Mariano, Remo Minopoli, Nicolò Stabile, Kathryn Weir

Co-commissioned and co-produced by La Loge – Brussels and Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Madre Museum – Naples, Comune di Albissola Marina

Project supported by the Italian Council (10th Edition 2022) program to promote Italian contemporary art in the world by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity for the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Material: wood, plaster, plexiglass
Dimensions: 350x600x45 cm
Courtesy the artists