16 Sep                      19 Nov 2023

VILLA ROMANA LAUNCHES OPEN STUDIOS 2023 AND ‘a house is a house is a home’ 


16 - 17 September 2023

a house is a house is a home

16 September - 19 November 2023


Villa Romana is delighted to announce the reopening of Villa Romana as A House for Mending, Troubling, Repairing with the launch of Open Studios 2023 and a house is a house is a home exhibition. The house opens its doors to a wider public, on 16 September with an exhibition and public programming running until 19 November. During the opening weekend of 16 and 17 September, current Villa Romana Fellows Diana Ejaita, Jessica Ekomane, Samuel Baah Kortey, and Pınar Öğrenci, will open their studios to showcase a peek into their artistic process.

The house will speak across the ideas and works of these artists who have been living in the Villa since February this year, in dialogue with invited artists who carry on the spirits and transmit the echoes of the history of Villa Romana and its current transition: among them Emeka Ogboh, Shannon Bool, Aline Benecke, Archive Ensemble, Stephany Nwobodo, Radio Papesse, Ivana Franke, Álvaro Urbano, and Daniela Zambrano Almidón as well as Leone Contini – the last two who have established the garden team together with curator Marleen Boschen, agronomist Isabella Divetta and members of the Villa Romana team.

a house is a house is a home, opens giving centre stage to the work of the four fellows who have been inhabiting the casa since February 2023. They have been participating and balancing the process of transition and continuity of the institution over the last months. Their presence, artistic research, and active engagement have been fundamental to the reframing of the agenda of Villa Romana, and have paved the way to some of the most substantial reflections articulated in this show. As curator Mistura Allison notes, they have embodied and multiplied the echoes vibrating in the Villa and beyond it, channelling past and future agencies of this artists’ house while at the same time digging into their own research and practice.

While the artists are opening their studios over the vernissage weekend, a multiform and growing exhibition is also taking space in the rooms of the Villa, to support the reverberating of the echoes in a multidirectional way. And to plant seeds. As the house is lived, experienced, and animated by the artists and the team living in it - and by the many friends that are participating in its everyday -, in the same way the exhibition is conceived as a living organism: not something static and crystallised, for visitors to walk in and experience unaltered over the weeks, but a porous assemblage which is transforming, moving and growing according to the rhythms of the house and the needs and moods of its inhabitants. Because as A House for Mending, Troubling, Repairing the villa is not a space for contemplation but one for action and relationality, of transformation and habitation. In a house, tables are often turning, chairs are relocated, items get moving, lost and sometimes reappear. Moods are also shifting, as sun, shade, and light change the form of the house and its experience across days and seasons.

a house is a house is a home, and its walls are not static but at times they can talk and dance, crumble and dust, shelter and oppress. Across cultures home is a never definite concept, but an experience. An experience that, beyond the West, is mostly collective and does not exhaust itself within the individual or the nuclear and biological family borders. It represents instead a chain of interconnected and ever inclusive intimacies, framed around interdependency and conviviality.

Home is not just a building, a place, or a physical unit, but rather a temporary outcome of permanent processes of negotiation, through which social norms and power structures are pondered, and unequal opportunities and resources in the distribution of ordering work may arise. This is what we address. Villa Romana is not a villa, it is not a museum, but a house. It is not an arcadia but a real place, with its challenges and its cracks; a physical and mental space where to feel safe and at times unsettled, as in life. This is the fundamental and grounding deliberation at the core of the newly started phase of this institution in becoming. Villa Romana has in fact been transforming into A House for Mending, Troubling, Repairing, unfolding a new vision and programme for the historical artist residency and artists’ house founded nearly 120 years ago by Max Klinger.

A House for Mending, Troubling, Repairing stands for a space embracing dissent and open to collective reflection; a place where normativity and canons are challenged; a house where artistic experimentation goes hand in hand with social repair.

The participating artists are:
Diana Ejaita (Nigeria/Italy), Jessica Ekomane (Cameroon/France), Samuel Baah Kortey (Ghana), Pınar Öğrenci (Turkey), Emeka Ogboh (Nigeria), Shannon Bool (Germany), Archive Ensemble (Germany/Italy/Senegal), Aline Benecke (Germany), Stephany Nwobodo (Nigeria/Italy), Radio Papesse (Italy), Álvaro Urbano (Spain), Ivana Franke (Croatia), Erik Tollas (Hungary), Daniela Zambrano Almidón (Peru), Leone Contini (Italy).

Rosalyn D'Mello


Friday 15 September 2023

12:00 Press Conference at Villa Romana

 (RSVP needed:

Saturday 16 September 2023

11:30 Opening of This Too Shall Pass - Tutto Passa by Emeka Ogboh at the Piazzale degli Uffizi, with the artist and the curators.

16:00 Opening of a house is a house is a home exhibition

17:00  Welcome speech by Elena Agudio, Director, and Mistura Allison, Curator and Project Coordinator

17:15 Guided tour of the Open House and Open Studios

18:00 Performance by Diana Ejaita (in the Garden)

19:30 Florence na so so enjoyment (small chops + music) with Emeka Ogboh and Samuel Baah Kortey

22:00 DJ Set by Emeka Ogboh

Sunday 17 September 2023

14:00 Open Studios at Villa Romana

18:00 Performance of This Too Shall Pass - Tutto Passa by Emeka Ogboh with the choir Florence Gospel Choir School at Società Canottieri Firenze (by invite and with public participation)

a house is a house is a home: Garden Weekend

As the seasons shift and we move into the darker winter months, we invite you to the Villa Romana garden for a harvest gathering that celebrates collaborative cultivation. Join us to eat together, for workshops and performative presentations. The weekend is centred around artworks by Daniela Zambrano and Leone Contini as well as a collaborative seed garden, all of which have grown in the garden since spring, bringing together explorations of human-plant kinship and diasporic belonging.

As a new team at Villa Romana we are slowly learning from this garden and its inhabitants. We invite you to join us in doing so over the weekend of 7th and 8th of October.

Saturday 7 October 2023 (as part of Florence Art Week 2023)

10:00 - 13:00, 15:00 - 18:00 Guided tour of the archive with art historian Carlotta Castellani

13:00 - 15:00 Seed Bunch, seed exchange and seed vessel-making workshop

17:00 Orto Continuo presentation and performance by Leone Contini

Sunday 8 October 2023 (as part of Florence Art Week 2023)

13:00 Pachamanca / Cosmic Pot: Andean Community Food Action by Daniela Zambrano Almidón
Villa Romana is supported by: Bundesbeauftragte für Kultur und Medien (BKM), BAO Stiftung, Deutsche Bank Stiftung. This exhibition project has been made possible also with the support of the Fondazione CR Firenze, thanks to the collaboration of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut (KHI), and it is a partner of Florence Art Week.
Emeka Ogboh’s installation at the Piazzale degli Uffizi has the Patrocinio of the Municipality of Florence; the first iteration in Frankfurt was conceptualised by Euphoria. Leone Contini’s project is realised with the support of the Italian Council.