Brumeggiare means throwing into the sea a mixture of leftovers and fish scraps in order to attract fish. It is an everyday activity which reminds us of a different kind of relationship with the sea from that of trade or tourism, two concepts which are inevitably linked with and projected onto the town of La Spezia. Fishermen, solitary or in groups, are constant presences in the places we live in (from the Italia quay in La Spezia to the rocks of Portovenere, Lerici or the Cinque Terre) and they know the importance of this mixture of bait. This simple activity, which favours a positive result, i.e. the catching of fish, by using waste products, becomes the metaphor for what we have tried to do in the new presentation of the civic collections. We have had at our disposal for Brumeggiare paintings, photos and historical documents which sometimes do not fit the standard definition of art work. The aim has been to place at the centre of a contemporary art exhibition not only art but also the context which generates and permeates it, where the works of art and objects on display become “bait” for stimulating emotions and thoughts, and for tracing constantly-changing poetic/affective geographies.

The evocation of an everyday image, an experience, an action connected to so-called “low” activities becomes an attempt to create a new dialogue between art and territorial history. Using simple gestures and images we have traced a path through the political, economic and environmental history of La Spezia and its province, and through the changes which the territory has undergone for a multitude of reasons.

Thus we have interpreted the desire to exhibit at the Contemporary Art Centre of La Spezia (CAMeC) a significant selection of the works from the modern and contemporary civic art collections, integrating the cultural and artistic resources of the town, which start with the archaeology in San Giorgio Castle, pass through the ancient, mediaeval and modern art on show in the A. Lia Museum, and are completed with the contemporary language of the CAMeC.

We plunged our hands into the La Spezia art heritage, trying to approach this exciting experience in a different way from the one traditionally used for contemporary art museums. The linguistic and representative possibilities of the collections were analysed to discover their significant points and the identity of a collection linked to the territory, so as to present a new view of history and of that territory.

Forcing the historiographical confines a little, the exhibition starts with the figure of Agostino Fossati, acknowledged to be one of the main “inventors” of the image which the people of La Spezia have of their town and gulf, thus offering a portrait of the town which ranges from the mid-19 th century to the present time, with continuous oscillation between trading activities, military life and tourism which is typical of our territory.

The works of Fossati, mainly coming from the civic collections, are exhibited with contemporary art works belonging to the Premio del Golfo (Gulf Award) collection, the Giorgio Cozzani Collection, the Ferruccio Battolini Collection and the Sergio Fregoso Multimedia Archive. Alongside these are objects from private collections, as well as sound clips and other material collected during the months of research. We have proposed a critical narration which traces the development of the landscape and history of the town by matching various types of material, in such a way that the art works of the collections become the tools for a complex analysis of present reality. The purpose is to construct a new identity for the CAMeC, as a fulcrum of cultural experimentations and as a laboratory of ideas for the present and future of our town, also as a starting point for the creation of concentric connections between the Museum and contemporary art trends and culture.  

The following artists are present in the exhibition: Carla Accardi, Ferdinando Acerbi, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Gino Bellani, Renato Birolli, Dino Caponi, Giuseppe Castellani, Riccardo Chicco, Giuseppe Ciavolino, Gian Carlo Crovetto, Oscar Di Prata, Giovanni Fioruzzi, Agostino Fossati, Sergio Fregoso, Vincenzo Frunzo, Renato Guttuso, Giovanni Korompay, Gordon Matta Clark, Francesco Menzio, Sante Monachesi, Carlo Montarsolo, Gualtiero Nativi, Navarrino Navarrini, Enrico Paulucci, Cesare Peverelli, Peter Phillips, Angelo Prini, Bruno Pulga, Gigi Quaglia, Paolino Rangoni, Ottone Rosai, Giuseppe Santomaso, Filippo Scroppo, Mario Sironi, Ettore Sottsass Jr, Cesare Stefani, Sergio Tedoldi, Nino Tirinnanzi, Giulio Turcato, Emilio Vedova, Renzo Vespignani, Rodolfo Zancolli, Bruno Zoni.

Information and credits:

A project by: Francesca Cattoi
With the collaboration of: Diego Ballani, Tristan Boniver, Lara Conte
Layout by: Tristan Boniver and Francesca Cattoi



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