Francesca Grilli
Sparks 2021
Curated by Paola Tognon, promoted by Contemporary Locus.

Contemporary Locus is pleased to be amongst the projects awarded the Italian Council 9th Edition 2020, an initiative of the DGAAP of the Ministry for Culture for the promotion of Italian art on the international stage.

Sparks 2021 is a performance preceded by a workshop and from which an installation, autonomous in its expressive, evocative and documenting capabilities, ensues.
The project is part of the artist’s practice of investigation of the concept of body and is deeply tied to the interlacing of different disciplines. Differing from earlier projects (performances, videos, sculptures and drawings) where the body is evidence of the resistance to life, to time and to the forces of decline, Sparks 2021 focuses on the overturning of the power relation between child and adult. 

Sparks 2021 pivots around the small but revolutionary action of consigning in the hands of children the reading of our future as a gesture of hope and rupture with the past. After a several days long workshop, a group of children chooses and accompanies adults inside a darkened space, where they can read their hands, one at a time and once only, thus activating an open revelatory and interpretative process, where they are themselves the makers of visions and reflections. 

The entire performance is based on 3 elements: the hands – in a time when contact is negated – our most exposed body parts, visible testimony of our body, point of contact between different generations; the savvy hand reading, utilised by the children as a game to express their imagination and desires; the cap-sculptures shaped as baseball caps with a reclining visor. A playful echo of elms, once worn they signal the beginning of the performance as they shield the children from the direct gaze of the adults. 

The project Sparks, as developed in its final version, includes and transforms physical distance into an element of strength. Touching between child and adult is absent but recalled by a small customised flashlight that the children use to move the adults within the space and to read their hands. According to Francesca Grilli’s reflection, Sparks 2021 therefore transforms light into an element of intangible transmission which augments childhood’s illuminating power – the sparks – and cloaks in magic the balance of a shared game. 

Finally, the installation of Sparks 2021 is a situated work made of the caps/elms scattered in the space by the children – on the floor, the walls and on the especially designed by the artist benches, which function as tools for the game and the pauses during the performance – and from an amplified sound track elaborated from the recordings of the imaginative predictions told by the children. 


Project partner: Corpoceleste

 Destination museum: GAMeC, Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery, Bergamo

Cultural partners: Associazione Teatro di Roma, Rassegna Buffalo, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome; Base-Milano, Milan; Gender Bender Festival, Bologna; Immaginare Orlando, Bergamo; Kaaitheater, Bruxelles; Kunst Merano / Merano Arte, Merano; Level Five Artistic Ecology, Bruxelles; MACTE - Museo di Arte Contemporanea di Termoli; MAXXI L’Aquila, L’Aquila; Netwerk Aalst, Aalst; RUPERT, Vilnius; Snaporazverein, Samaden; STUK Arts Center, Leuven.

Sparks 2021 wishes to thank for their support during its journey: Santarcangelo Festival (Santarcangelo, IT); Welcome to the village (Leeuwarden, NL); Saal Biennaal (Tallin, ET); workspacebrussels (Bruxelles, BE)


Francesca Grilli website

Italian Council