At the Maxxi ‘Sensual Ballad’, sexual rebirth after cancer

The nightmare of illness, overcoming trauma, sensuality, and beauty, awareness and sexual rebirth are retraced in the four moments of ‘Sensual Ballad’, the video-exhibition, with the artistic collaboration of Beppe Vessicchio and Maria Letizia Compatangelo, to overcome a taboo that affects 6% of Italian women: sex after cancer. Created by SexandtheCancer in collaboration with the Alinari Foundation for Photography to clear the issue of sexual problems related to cancer therapies, ‘Sensual Ballad’ was presented during the 2nd scientific conference Sexandthecancer – What women don’t say! Maxxi Museum of Rome.

The video projected on the occasion of the conference is the transposition of an exhibition project that will be realized in the course of 2022, also usable by people with sensory disabilities, thanks to audio descriptions and subtitles and QR codes for photographs. “Having a mother who died of breast cancer – Beppe Vessicchio tells, explaining why he decided to join this initiative – I find myself a person who is active in this type of initiative. Art can be a vehicle for re-appropriating part of what is stolen from those who pass by that road “. The choices of the pieces of the video, explains the very popular conductor,” occurred in a synaesthetic way, that is, we sought in the musical language the elements that somehow approached the various realities that were represented in the paintings and the various passages “.

To break down a taboo it is necessary to trigger profound cultural, educational and social changes – said Amalia Vetromile, project manager SexandtheCancer, who oversaw the screenplay and direction of the video -. We are convinced that the language of art, supported by adequate scientific dissemination, can be a way to overcome the taboo of sexuality in the path of oncological treatments “.

A path in which photography freely dialogues with different languages ​​of art, poetry and music – comments Rita Scartoni, project manager of the Alinari Foundation for Photography -. Images, fragments of reality and invention, sometimes extrapolated from their original context, which, like in a collage, compose the four rooms or chapters of a ballad by assonance: ‘Assault – The beast, Dentro al trauma – L’Incubo, The different beauty – The beauty of the offended body The joyful sensuality – The revenge of Venus “.

The project refers to the initiatory journey of death and rebirth present in the myth of the Kore-Nymph and the Kore-Infera, Persephone, as a metaphor of the duality at the base of the human condition which is experienced with the powerful disease. From the extreme situation of fragmentation and disorientation evoked in the first room in which the joy of living and freedom, the Kore-Nymph, is attacked, to the hardest stage of the path of stripping and changing the skin of the second room, to the reconstruction of a new identity and the conscious rebirth to a new quality of life, of the last two rooms. A path made powerful by the evocative force of the photographs of important authors such as, among others, Francesco Paolo Michetti, Wilhelm Von Gloeden, Vincenzo Balocchi, Giuseppe Vannucci Zauli.

This the team that participated amicably in the making of the video: Rita Scartoni and Muriel Prandato (Alinari Foundation for Photography), Livia Geloso (psychotherapist and anthropologist), Benedetta Cestelli Guidi (photography historian), Vitaliana De Sanctis (radiotherapist oncologist), Silvana Suppa (architect and set designer), Amalia Vetromile ( production and screenplay), Marco Maciariello (video editing), the actresses Rosa Ferraiolo, Imma Piro, Jessica Resteghini, Shanna Rossi, the Masters Giulia Libertini (cello) and Michele Mucci (mandolin). Among the music, Requiem courtesy of Claudio Mandonico. The Pizzica Indiavolata is performed by the 100cellos courtesy of the Masters Enrico Melozzi and Giovanni Sollima. The realization in collaboration with Blindsight Project ODV, official partner for the elimination of sensory barriers.


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