Serena Schioppa
Curator in Residence

Afranio Metelli Centenary Project with Palazzo Collicola, Spoleto

Afranio Metelli, late 1970s, photo: Alberto Zanmatti

Serena Schioppa (Teramo, 1996) is an art historian and independent curator based in Rome. She joins the Mahler & LeWitt Studios Spring Session to research and develop an exhibition project celebrating Afranio Metelli’s (1924–2011) centenary. The exhibition will be hosted by the Palazzo Collicola in Spoleto, where in 2008 Giovanni Carandente organised the artist’s career retrospective. It will be curated by the current director Saverio Verini and Schioppa, opening November 2024.

Born in Pissignano, near Spoleto, Metelli was a leading figure in the art scene of Umbria where he lived and worked for most of his life. He spent influential periods of time working abroad in France (with a community of artists under Picasso at Vallauris, an experience which was deeply impactful) as well as in Mexico and the United States. Metelli’s fascination with and reinterpretation of the art of the past, as well as his ability to absorb current trends and make them his own, sat alongside his love of craft and popular culture, from his deep understanding of ceramic traditions to his love of boxing. He was endlessly inquisitive about the power of art to express the diversity of life’s experience. The result was a dynamic body of work which explored figuration (for example his extensive series of self-portraits) and abstraction, at times combining these modes, using a range of techniques, including drawing and collage, painting and sculpture. The centenary exhibition will take Metelli’s open-minded approach as a provocation to more homogenous ways of working today: seeing in his diverse investigations an urgency to understand art as an ongoing conversation, capable of responding to current feelings and ideas – unfolding arguments, occasionally finding accords – and so being constantly new and relevant.

Since 2018, Schioppa has collaborated with both public and private associations and institutions, in Italy and abroad, including La Biennale di Venezia (Venice); E-Flux (New York City); Amant (New York City); CASTROprojects (Rome); LOCALESprojects (Rome) and Palazzo Collicola (Spoleto). In 2022 she won the Biennale College residency program promoted by La Biennale di Venezia, which will lead to the publication of her first essay Collezionare Meraviglia. Adalgisa Lugli e la Wunderkammer surrealista. She founded and now curates the Arcolaio Art Prize in collaboration with the fabric company Arcolaio s.r.l. Since 2019 she has been working as an archivist for the Eduardo De Filippo Foundation. She studied Contemporary Art History at La Sapienza University of Rome, where she also earned a bachelor’s degree in Historical-Artistic Studies, and she is completing postgraduate studies at the Specialisation School in Historical-Artistic Heritage at the University of Bologna.