VanitÓ delle vanitÓ
(Vanity of vanities)

international art costume exhibition
at the Badia Benedettina della SS.TrinitÓ, Cava de' Tirreni

project and set up by Luigi Benedetti

visual dramaturgy by Mara Cantoni

Marianne Glittenberg

Peter Pabst


... veritable philosophy of the costume, within a historical itinerary of great effectiveness.
(Il Mattino,
july 1995)

Andrea Schmidt-Futterer

"What kind of exhibit is a subterranean exhibit?" one could ask, playing at paradox. Shy and demanding, it seems to be hiding and keeping its treasures in the dark, only to reveal its unsettling beauty to those who put an effort into finding it. But to these - visitors without distraction, readers with an active gaze, individuals who make an effort in comprehension - it is ready to dispense amazement and pleasure, to say the least.
What kind of exhibit, one could also ask, is one that not only exhibits its object the way an exhibit normally would, but forces it into grimaces and strange itineraries, thus removing it from aesthetic convenience in order to become the messenger of other thoughts, of other feelings?
A show-exhibit. Not in a spectacular sense, as we have said before, and not even because of the emotional temperature running through it, or because of the impression we get of an event destined to dissolve itself, fascinating and non-repeatable in this world of replicants. There are other reasons.
The location, for example. One does not visit Longobard cemeteries that frequently, and even if one did, out of devotion, marriage invitations or touristic curiosity, it's not certain that you would find the place open for business and inhabited by silken ghosts. This combination is explosive. The rite of theatre is already a no-man's land, fluctuating between life and death, humanity and immortality, being here or elsewhere; a theatrical costume immersed in a catacomb resonates with thousands of presences-absences, seems to wander aimlessly in the search of both an origin and a destination, unable to live empty of a human fibre, unable to die because of its vocation to evocate that rite and even a stage character.
Thus, we fall into the heart of performance, or, if you like, into one of its mysteries through one of its elements. Of course, Luigi Benedetti, creator far more than curator of the exhibit, is a man of the theatre. He would never be content to just line up the costumes, or even to exhibit them under the best of lights. A wise choice: such an exhibit would do no justice to the costumes or their creators. A question of character: were he to curate only one seam, Benedetti would search for accomplices with which he could pursue that centre, that mystery, that palpitation. And I, I confess, am his accomplice. read on

(from the exhibit catalogue)

Lore Haas

JŘrgen Rose

... an evocative journey
in time and the history
of costume...
(la Repubblica,
august 1995)

Does visual dramaturgy exist, or is it just a branch of theatre direction?
On the occasion of this singularly located exhibit,
I delved into the relationship between space and object
within the direction of an installation, underlining the significance
that exhibit location and exhibited material bounce off each other
in a tacit, intense dialogue.

On the contrary, for a "glossy" use of costume... Ľ