Aesthetics and Emotions at MART

For their second Slow Art Day, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Rovereto and Trento (MART), Italy, organized both an online and an in-person event.

For the online session, which took place on April 1, the eight participants received three artworks by email the day before of the event so that they could look slowly on their own and then come and present their thoughts during the session.

For the in-person event, organizers presented the three artworks at the beginning of the session, then they left the 20 participants to look slowly for 45 minutes.

Participants were given some prompts to think about while looking:

  • Which elements strike you the most?
  • Which positive or/and negative emotions do you feel looking at this artwork?
  • Do you like this artwork asethetically?
  • Does it evoke you memories? If so, which ones?

They also asked participants to do the following:

  • Rate their emotional and aesthetic responses with a scale of of 0 to 5 points.
  • Assign a title for each work of art (we recommend other educators consider adding this fun element).
  • Think of a common thread connecting the three artworks.

Once their slow looking was done, the museum then divided the participants into small discussion groups of four people each.

Photos from the in-person session can be viewed below.

Gino Severini, Cannoni in azione, 1915 oil on canvas, 50 x 61,5 cm, Mart, Collezione VAF-Stiftung

Organizers collected the participants feedback and shared with us a few snippets (translated from Italian).

Admiring, observing and talking in a group about the individual and personal sensations that the works made on us was very beautiful, instructive and formative. Feeling how each participant had his own point of view and his impression and how the various impressions intertwined with each other was very welcome and was appreciated by all.

Renzo – Slow Art Day participant

I think we all had a great desire to live this moment, in which physical closeness, looks, voice, were finally used as “normal” means of communication and expression simply belonging to our human race. After these two years of restrictions [for Covid] I think we all felt happy to get to know and re-know each other in a close way and to make a group. Looking together, exchanging opinions and impressions, sharing the different possibilities of reading and interpreting the works was an enriching experience and, let me say, at least for me, even moving.”

Maddalena – Slow Art Day participant

We’d like to add that Denise Bernabè, Membership Coordinator at MART, and Piero Consolati, MART member for several years, have been organizing Slow Art monthly meetings in addition to the annual events. And, due to the pandemic, April 2 was the first time they ran an in-person slow looking session – and they did great!

We very much look forward to what they come up with for 2023.

– Jessica Jane, Phyl, Johanna, and Ashley

Experimental Slow Looking Session with MART in Italy

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Rovereto and Trento (MART), Italy, hosted its first experimental Slow Art Day session via Zoom.

The virtual session was attended by a select group of MART members who discussed 4 artworks from the museum’s permanent collection, including Osvaldo Licini’s Bilico (1933) and Fortunato Depero’s Chiesa di Lizzana (1923).

Osvaldo Licini, Bilico, 1933. Part of the Augusto and Francesca Giovanardi Collection: “La Magnifica Ossessione”, MART.
Fortunato Depero, Chiesa di Lizzana (Lizzana), 1923, MART, Fondo Depero. Photo: MART Photographic Archive and Media Library.

Five days before the session, Denise Bernabe, Membership Coordinator at MART, emailed participants images of the artworks along with a brief explanation of slow looking (without disclosing the artists or the titles of the works).

During the hour and a half session, Bernabe facilitated a relaxed discussion in which participants made personal and emotional remarks about the artworks based solely on their immediate slow-looking responses. All participants loved the experience and, as a direct result of this session, the MART is planning to continue integrating slow-looking with future events.

The event was instigated by local art enthusiast Piero Consolati, who has been a MART member for several years and frequently participates in museum events. The session was made possible through his interest in slow looking, which prompted him to approach the staff at MART about hosting an event.

Public engagement with both art and museums is something that Slow Art Day strongly promotes, and the MART event is a beautiful example of the important role art enthusiasts can play in initiating events and furthering the slow art movement throughout the community. At Slow Art Day HQ, we are very excited to hear about the MART’s slow-looking Zoom session, and are thankful to Consolati for reaching out to us with the details.

We look forward to hearing about future slow looking events hosted by MART hopefully also for Slow Art Day 2021.

– Johanna