BAM-Mediterranean Archipelago Biennial: an Interview with Beatrice Merz

by Mara Sartore
September 27, 2019
Mara Sartore
Merz Beatrice

On Thursday, 26 of September the second edition of the BAM-Mediterranean Archipelago Biennial, which will take place in Palermo from November 6th to December 8th 2019, was presented at the Foreign Press Room in Rome.
Titled “Übermauer”, the exhibition is organized Fondazione Merz, European Alternatives and BAM – Palermo.

On occasion, we interviewed Beatrice Merz to learn more about the initiative.

Mara Sartore : Today ÜberMauer, the second edition of the BAM-Mediterranean Archipelago Biennial, which will take place in Palermo from November 6th to December 8th 2019, was presented, this city seem to be increasingly more firmly rooted, what does this mean to you?

Beatrice Merz: “Palermo is something far beyond a city. In actual fact it is like a person: with a true and strong personality. It is a dynamiser of humanity, an accelerator of cultural process. Full of contrasts it is in many ways a paradox, set as it is in the midst of this great Mediterranean lake that has no north or south shores but only a single, endless and jagged coast, full of narratives and peoples.
In recent years it has been almost natural to breathe the air of these places, and bit by bit, I can really say now that I feel “at home”.

Mara Sartore: Can you tell us a little more about ÜberMauer?

Beatrice Merz: ÜberMauer through the walls of a plural city like Palermo, brings together, often dramatically, testimonies of the passage of humanity, offers the possibility of dynamizing poetic concepts and material towards continuous change and inclusion. The artists find themselves with a city that has been able to make reception and integration the centre of its administrative and cultural journey. ÜberMauer will be a widespread exhibition in the city of Palermo that brings together historical and unpublished works by artists such as Francesco Arena, Claire Fontaine, Claudia Di Gangi, Patrizio Di Massimo, Stefania Galegati, Shilpa Gupta, Alfredo Jaar, Emily Jacir, Zena el Khalil, Giuseppe Lana, Gili Lavy, Andrea Masu, Ignazio Mortellaro, Shirin Neshat, Damian Ortega, Michal Rovner Michele Tiberio and Driant Zeneli: all ‘invited’ to take on the project together.

Mara Sartore: In this case can art once again be an “instrument” of democracy and inclusion, beyond any limits, barriers, a viaticum of freedom?

Beatrice Merz: Among the various shores of the world, beyond the walls of indifference or short-sighted nationalism, art plays a conscious and, in some ways, still revolutionary role. It offers a change of perspective, reverses and subverts the perception of the experience and projects it forward. The protagonists of BAM’s image, the international artists who accepted the invitation for ÜberMauer have embraced the role of idea builders, the fishermen of relationships, ambassadors not of strange and distant countries but of the good practices of Palermo and its island that proudly finds its true nature as a port, laboratory and home. The same enthusiasm that sees the confrontation of several generations and backgrounds of artists and allowed an articulated and widespread exhibition between kalsa and càssaro, has for years led the presence of the Foundation in Palermo, where relations and projects seem to become more authentic and promising. “

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