UNA is delighted to present Lighea, a group exhibition with artworks by Elisa Giardina Papa , Carla Grunauer and Andreia Santana. With a text by Marta Papini.

Artists: Elisa Giardina Papa, Carla Grunauer, Andreia Santana
September 23  – February 10,  2024
UNA Gallery, Piacenza


«Mermaids embody everything that hangs in the balance between two opposites: beautiful and ugly, male and female, seductive and monstrous. Through such an indefinite nature, they challenge, much like the works on display, our way of exploring and understanding the world.» ¹

Lighea is a perturbing novel by the Italian writer Tomasi di Lampedusa, set in Sicily at the beginning of the 20th century. The story revolves around a mermaid, who re-emerges from the abyss of mythology to connect the time of the story with a tradition rich in myths, magic spells, and hybrid characters that move between the animal, divine, and human world, permeated by desires and impulses.

Lighea becomes, for us, an ideal place where the tradition of the popular myths and beliefs, of half-pagan / half-religious rites and spells affirms itself as an integral part of artistic practices, characterized by the coexistence of the contemporaneity and the distant past, which is yet very much alive and present.
Elisa Giardina Papa, Carla Grunauer, and Andreia Santana are the invited artists to participate in the project: Starting from highly different backgrounds and birthplaces (Sicily, Argentina, Portugal), all three explore cultural, semantic, and intimate origins. They then give shape to creatures that seem to come from an ancient and fabulous bestiary, and that, like Lighea, embody deep, collective desires, or to new forms suspended between the organic and inorganic, in which the contemporaneity, the ancient past, and the pagan mythology overlap and merge.
The three artists reflect, each of them with a personal approach, on the return to the cradle of civilization, the history, the mystery of knowledge and creation, and their fragile production and transmission.

¹ excerpt from Marta Papini’s text for Lighea exhibition

Elisa Giardina Papa's work has been exhibited and screened at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (The Milk of Dreams), the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA’s Modern Mondays), the Whitney Museum (Sunrise/Sunset Commission), Seoul Mediacity Biennale 2018, XVI Quadriennale di Roma, Rhizome (Download Commission), Flaherty NYC, UnionDocs, ICA Milano, Gropius Bau Berlin, Gamec Bergamo, among others. She has given lectures at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women (Brown University), the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (McGill University), the Global Emergent Media Lab (Concordia University), and the Center for Digital Cultures (Leuphana University of Lüneburg), among others. Giardina Papa received an MFA from RISD, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in film, media, and gender studies at the University of California Berkeley. She lives and works in New York and Sant’Ignazio, Sicily.

Carla Grunauer graduated in Visual Arts at the National University of Tucumán, Argentina. She was selected to participate in the Artists Program at the Torcuato Di Tella University between 2017 and 2018, under the coordination of Carlos Huffmann. In 2015 she received a scholarship awarded by Amigo del Interior, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to develop production workshops with Javier Villa and Carlos Huffmann. In 2015 she received a scholarship for Systematic Study of Drawing workshop at the University Torcuato Di Tella, under the direction of Eduardo Stupía. In 2013 she received a scholarship from the National Endowment for the Arts to work clinic with Rafael Cippolini. Among her solo and group exhibitions in galleries and institutions: Crisis Galería (Lima); Vigil Gonzales Galería (Lima); Proyecto Nohacernada (México); Modern Art Museum of Buenos Aires; MUNT (Museum of the National University of Tucumán); Timoteo Navarro Provincial Museum of Fine Arts, Guillermina Caicoya Proyect (Madrid), Klemm Foundation, Espacio Cripta, Piedras Galería, Torcuato Di Tella University; Heraldo Conti Cultural Center; Genaro Perez Museum; Dumit House; National Fund for the Arts y Un Club. From 2010 to 2013 she co-directed the activities, workshops, and exhibitions at El Rancho, a contemporary art space in San Miguel de Tucumán. Her work is part of public and private collections.

Andreia Santana lives and works in New York. She holds a MFA in Studio Art from Hunter College - City University of New York with a Fulbright/Fundação Carmona e Costa Fellowship. Her work has been shown internationally in venues and institutions including Serralves Contemporary Art Museum (Porto); Secession (Vienna); CCB (Lisbon); MAAT (Lisbon); In Extenso (Clermont-Ferrand); CIAJG (Guimarães); Hangar (Lisbon); Generali Milano (Milan); MACE (Elvas); Galeria Filomena Soares (Lisbon); Galeria Municipal do Porto (Porto); UNA (Milan); Galerias Municipais de Lisboa-EGEAC (Lisbon); Chiado 8 (Lisbon); Culturgest (Lisbon), Thomas Erben Gallery and Hunter College Galleries (New York), among others. Santana has been awarded with several prizes and grants including Hopper Prize, NOVO BANCO Prize, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Visual Art Grant, Stanton Stewardship Award, Ducato Prize and Fundation Calouste Gulbenkian - Délégation en France and shortlisted for EDP Foundation Prize and Sovereign Art Prize. Among the private and public collections which acquired her work: Maat, Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon; Galeria Minicipais de Lisboa - EGEAC; António Cachola Collection, Elvas, PT; Figueiredo Ribeiro Collection - QuArtel, Abrantes PT; Torres Vedras Municipality Collection; MU.SA - Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Sintra PT; Torres Vedras Municipality Collection, PT; MU.SA Collection; PT.