Migration, freedom of movement, reception in the video installation by the two German artists Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani on show at MAXXI in Rome.
Over 50 years ago a virtually unknown marathon runner named Abebe Bikila left Ethiopia to participate in the Olympic marathon in Rome. On the 10th of September 1960 he ran 42 km barefoot in two hours and 15 minutes, setting a new world record under the Arch of Constantine and becoming an enduring sporting icon, a symbol of that Africa freed from colonialism. This magnificent feat is an important point of reference for the artists Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani and for their work Freedom of Movement which tackles the all too topical issue of mass migrations and the space destined to receive them.
Freedom of Movement is a revisiting of the 1960 Olympic marathon in Rome, when the first black African runner won the gold medal. The artwork consists of three simultaneous projections. On the first screen, an African runner inscribes once again episodes and architectural scenarios of the historical marathon into the streets of Rome. On the second, a choir of African refugee teenagers moves across the spaces of the Colosseo Quadrato at EUR and step on its roof to perform a song about their own identity and that of the country now hosting them. On the third screen, sequences of a contemporary night run are superimposed with footage of the 1960’s marathon and intertwined with archive material of the construction of the EUR and Foro Italico.
The narrative aims at linking the stories of the 1960’s marathon, the current migration crisis and the silent language of Rome’s controversial modernist architecture. Today’s migrants and refugees also run barefooted among the monuments of the city. They claim their right to“freedom of movement”, in sports and in the possibility to find space in another country, starting living again. The video highlights the role that sport and culture play in peace and integration processes and in civil progress.
11 March – 17 April 2017
Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani. Freedom of Movement
curated by Pippo Ciorra and Elena Motisi
MAXXI – Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo
via Guido Reni, 4/a Rome