Rossella Biscotti

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Rossella Biscotti
Lavoro preparatorio per l'opera Dai tempo al tempo.JPG
Rossella Biscotti

(1978-12-11) 11 December 1978 (age 44)
Molfetta (BA), Italy
EducationAccademia di Belle Arti di Napoli (IT), Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten Amsterdam (NL), Advance Course in Visual Art Fondazione A. Ratti Como (IT)
Years active2003
Known forVisual arts
Notable workIl Processo (The Trial) 2010–2012, Le Teste in Oggetto (The Heads in Question) 2009, I dreamt that you changed into a cat… gatto… ha ha ha, 2013

Rossella Biscotti (born 1978) is an Italian visual artist best known for her installations, performances and video.

Early life and education[edit]

She graduated from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Naples in 2002, she attended the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam in 2010–2011. Back in 2000 she was selected for the Advanced Course in Visual Art at the Fondazione Antonio Ratti in Como. The visiting professor was Ilya Kabakov.[citation needed]


Rossella Biscotti focuses on social and political events which sometimes have happened in the distant past and become the starting point for the investigation of individual or collective identity and memory.

Her methodology is based on a meticulous preliminary research into archival materials such as found documents, audio recordings or newspapers documenting stories and events which have been forgotten by history. She uses archive materials to underline the loss of information, the ambiguity of reconstructions and their possible uses as well.[1] Biscotti is interested in the potentiality of new narrations when they start circulating again through her artworks.

With Le Teste in Oggetto (The Heads in Question, 2009)[2] the artist analyzes the relations between art and power raising questions about the status of contemporary artists and their degree of intellectual and conceptual autonomy. The sculpture consists of the heads of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Benito Mussolini, which were found by the artist in the storerooms of the Palazzo degli Uffici in the EUR district in Rome. The sculptures were created for the Esposizione universale (1942) which never took place because of Italy's involvement in World War II. Biscotti decided to appropriate them and exposed them to the public for the first time. Doing so, the artist radically reversed their original meaning: rather than celebratory monuments, they became the focus of reflection and discussion.

In her work Il Processo (The Trial, 2010–12)[3][4] she focuses on the April 7th trial (1983–84), against the members of Autonomia Operaia. The trial was held in the Aula Bunker in Rome, a high-security courthouse, which hosted the most important trials of the period known as Anni di Piombo (Years of Lead). She created an installation composed by concrete sculptures made from casts of the architectural features of the courtroom, taken before their demolition. The installation is accompanied by a six-hour audio edited recording of the April 7 trial.[5] Defendants in the court case included the philosophers Antonio Negri and Paolo Virno, and other intellectuals accused of being ideologically and morally responsible for Italian terrorism developed in the late 1970s. Il Processo won the MAXXI prize in 2010, promoted by MAXXI – Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo in Rome.[1]

The human condition and circumstances in detention are the focus of I dreamt that you changed into a cat...gatto...ha ha ha (2013).[6] Rossella Biscotti developed her research in the women's prison on Giudecca island at the Venetian lagoon. This prison is not like a traditional one where inmates are locked and unproductive; on the contrary, the prisoners spend their time working outside the prison. As all prison cells are open, Biscotti was given the opportunity to meet every prisoner by creating a dream workshop, called ‘oneiric laboratory’. Using the workshop as a platform to communicate with the prisoners, Biscotti analyzed the institution and the way the inmates figure in it. She processed her research in a sculpture made of compost, which was the result of work that has been done by inmates in the kitchen, cleaning, the growing of vegetables and consumption. The work was presented during the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.[7]


Her work has been exhibited widely throughout Italy and abroad, in major museums and galleries.

Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2015 Rossella Biscotti, The future can only be for ghosts, Museion, Bolzano (IT).[8]
  • 2014 Rossella Biscotti, 10 x 10, Mies van der Rohe Stipend, Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld (DE).[9]
  • 2014 Rossella Biscotti: The Undercover Man, Sculpture Center, Long Island City, New York (US).[10][11]
  • 2014 Rossella Biscotti: For the Mnemonist, S., Wiels, Brussels (BE).[12]
  • 2013 The Trial, e-flux, New York (US).[13]
  • 2013 The Side Room, Wiener Secession, Vienna (AT).[14]
  • 2012 Title One: The tasks of the Community, CAC, Vilnius (LT).[15]
  • 2012 L'Isola, De Vleeshal, Middelburg (NL).[16]
  • 2011 Il Processo (The Trial), RijksakademieOpen, Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (NL).[17]
  • 2010 168 sections of a human brain, Galleria Civica di Trento (IT).[18]
  • 2009 A short story about memory, pentothal and dreams, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (DE).[19]
  • 2009 After four rotations of A, B and C will make one revolution (with Kevin van Braak), Samsa, Berlin (DE).[20]
  • 2009 Le Teste in Oggetto, Nomas Foundation Rome (IT).[21]
  • 2008 The Undercover Man, Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam (NL).
  • 2008 You Have to Be Focused, Prometeo Gallery, Lucca (IT).[22]
  • 2008 New Crossroads (with Kevin van Braak), Galleria Studio la Citta’, Verona (IT).[23]
  • 2008 The Sun Shines in Kiev, Italian Academy at Columbia University, New York (US).[24][25]
  • 2005 L’Italia è una repubblica democratica fondata sul lavoro, Galerie Paolo Boselli, Brussels (BE).
  • 2002 Rossella Biscotti, Galleria T293, Naples (IT).


In 2013 she was recipient of the Mies van der Rohe Stipend. In 2010 she won the Premio Michelangelo[26] at Post Monument, XIV International Sculpture Biennale of Carrara (IT), and the Premio Italia Arte Contemporanea 2010.[27] In 2009 she won the Premio Fondazione Ettore Fico, Artissima Art Fair, Turin (IT), the 2nd Prize Prix de Rome, Amsterdam (NL) and the Emerging Talents Award,[28] Strozzina Foundation, Florence (IT). In 2008 she was recipient of 1st Prize Golden Cow at Gstaadfilm Festival, Gstaad (CH). In 2007 she was awarded with the 1st Prize The City of Geneva Grand Prize at the 12th Biennial of Moving Images, at the Centre pour l’image contemporaine, Geneva (CH). In 2006 she won the Premio NY[29] promoted by Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Italian Academy and the Columbia University in New York (US).


  1. ^ a b Casavecchia, Barbara (May 2011). "Rossella Biscotti". Frieze Magazine. No. 139.
  2. ^ "Heads in Question by Rossella Biscotti at the Nomas Foundation, Rome. » …..afterart news…." Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  3. ^ "Performa · Rossella Biscotti: The Trial". Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  4. ^ "ROSSELLA BISCOTTI :: For the Mnemonist, S. | DROME magazine". Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  5. ^ Homewood, David. "Exhuming the Archive: Interview with Rossella Biscotti". Un Magazine. 5 (2): 12.
  6. ^ "The Encyclopedic Palace | Frieze". Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  7. ^ Bellmann, Karin (October 30, 2013). "Rossella Biscotti". Art in America.
  8. ^ Museion (11 December 2014). "Rossella BiscottiThe future can only be for ghosts".
  9. ^ "Kunstmuseen Krefeld".
  10. ^ Johnson, Ken (March 27, 2014). "Social Analysis From the Edge: Rossella Biscotti and Others at Sculpture Center". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "Rossella Biscotti: The Undercover Man".
  12. ^ WIELS. "Rossella Biscotti: For the Mnemonist, S. – Exhibitions – WIELS".
  13. ^ "Rossella Biscotti, The Trial – Announcements – e-flux".
  14. ^ "Rossella Biscotti « secession".
  15. ^ "Rossella Biscotti. Title One: The tasks of the Community". Contemporary Art Center.
  16. ^ "Vleeshal".
  17. ^ "Rossella Biscotti (IT/NL) – Alumni". Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten.
  18. ^ "Civica 1989 2009 Celebration, Institution, Critique – Announcements – e-flux".
  19. ^ "KB – Rossella Biscotti".
  20. ^ "Rossella Biscotti & Kevin van Braak ‹ Events & Exhibitions ‹ AV Festival 2014: Extraction ‹ Programme ‹ AV Festival". AV Festival.
  21. ^ "Rossella Biscotti. Le teste in oggetto – Nomas Foundation".
  22. ^ "YOU HAVE TO BE FOCUSED – Exhibition – Prometeo Gallery – by Ida Pisani".
  23. ^ "Mostre 2007–2008" [Exhibitions 2007–2008]. (in Italian). Archived from the original on 9 October 2016.
  24. ^ "Annual Report 2006-2007". Italian Academy for Advanced Studies – Columbia University. 2 July 2014.
  25. ^ "rossella biscotti: the sun shines in kiev". Australian Experimental Art Foundation. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013.
  26. ^ "Il premio Michelangelo agli anarchici che non archiviano – Firenze –". Firenze – La Repubblica. 24 July 2010.
  27. ^ "Premio Italia Arte Contemporanea 2010". 6 January 2012.
  28. ^ "STROZZINA – Emerging Talents".
  29. ^ "Rossella Biscotti". Italian Academy for Advanced Studies – Columbia University. 3 September 2014.