The exhibition showcases the image of Italy around the world in the multiplicity of its visual expressions: from cinema to art, literature, design, and both the élite and pop culture, as viewed through 200 works by great Italian and international artists and ‘things and events’ from the 19th century to nowadays, such as the writings of Rita Levi Montalcini that earned her a Nobel Prize.

The exhibition, being staged to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, will demonstrate the decisive influence of artistic creation on the practical organization of the country’s social life, above all in the past century and a half of history.
“The Wonderful land of Art” will thus offer significant historical examples, such as the portraits of approximately 200 Garibaldians from the Bergamo area who took part in the Expedition of the Thousand, or a series of caricatures of members of the Italian Parliament, sketched by Senator Tecchio on parliamentary letterhead in the late 19th century.
In these works, memory captured by art is reflected as the convergence of past and present in ethics and aesthetics, in related fields such as architecture and design as well as very different ones such as the local landscape, religion and politics. Each room will also showcase objects – votive offerings, sports trophies or books become icons of the Italian identity. Indeed, their presence will establish a comparison between the pure ideal of avant-garde art and the testimony of spontaneous, popular or industrial creativity.

The exhibition will also investigate the idea of country or nation and the cultural, social and aesthetic processes that have characterized its formation.

At GAMeC visitors will have the chance to explore the places and moments that were part of the origin and construction of the nation-state as a united entity – the flag, the language, the national anthem, borders, the map, the religious culture, monuments, and sports – also through works that mimic or define forms of political, aesthetic, geographical or identity-related representation. Through them, the exhibition moves beyond the limitation of the artistic object to engage directly with reality and its structures, with examples such as footballers’ jerseys, biking champion Gimondi’s pink jersey, the European Ski Cup and the uniform of Fausto Radici’s Valanga Azzurra, the alpine ski team.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by the curators and sociologists, art critics, journalists, political commentators and philosophers.
All of this will be supplemented by a documentary illustrating the cultural, social and artistic panorama evoked by the exhibition, using film clips, television shows, theatre, ads and news bulletins.

The exhibition contributes to the promotion of AIDD, the Italian Association Against the Spread of Drugs supported by Rotaty Club and Lions club, which through campaigns of information and awareness leads primary prevention to youth problems (drug addiction, alcoholism, bullying) at Primary and Secondary Schools.