Marinella Senatore (Cava de’ Tirreni, Italy, 1977) is a multidisciplinary artist, trained in music, fine arts and cinema. Her practice is characterised by a strong collective and participatory dimension; her work fuses together forms of resistance and local dialects with popular culture, dance, music, mass events and activism. Through various moments of encounter, Senatore reflects on the political nature of collective formations and their impact on the social history of places and communities.
Her works and interventions can be defined as fluid site-specific containers: site- specific because they are conceived considering the specific “environment” in which they are developed; fluid because they are based on a potentially infinite inclusion of the elements involved. Her approach is always based on the theme of the environment, within which the works become functional structures and create new environments through the use of various media (light and sound effects, etc.).
Senatore’s works and performances have been exhibited and commissioned by Italian and international institutions, including: Kunsthaus Zürich; MAXXI; Palais de Tokyo; Schirn Kunsthalle; Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago; High Line, NY; Berlinische Galerie; Kunsthalle Sankt Gallen; Faena Art Forum; Bozar, BXL; Petach Tikva Museum; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo; Serpentine Gallery; CCA Tel Aviv; Museo Madre; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; ICA, Richmond; BAK Utrecht; Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo; Palazzo Grassi; Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum; Moderna Museet.
The artist has also participated in the following contemporary art biennials: São Paulo Biennial; Venice Biennial; Lyon Biennial; Thessaloniki Biennial; Liverpool Biennial; Athens Biennial; Havana Biennial; Gothenburg Biennial; Cuenca Biennial; Bangkok Biennial and Manifesta 12.
In 2012, Marinella Senatore created The School of Narrative Dance (SOND), a nomadic, free and itinerant school that proposes an alternative educational system based on emancipation, inclusion and self-education. The school takes different forms, adapting to the space that hosts it and it has been active in Italy and abroad (including Berlin, Paris and New York). Over the years, SOND has received numerous commissions including from Manifesta 12, Castello di Rivoli in 2013; MAXXI in Rome in 2014; Venice Art Biennale in 2015; Centre Pompidou in Paris, Hayward Gallery in London, Queens Museum in New York, Kunsthaus in Zurich, Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture in 2017; Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice in 2018; and Magazzino Italian Art, New York in 2019. The Rosas project, launched the same year, represents the largest participatory project carried out in an urban context through the involvement of different institutions in three different countries: Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy.
Senatore places social connections at the foundations of her work and refines this approach by focusing her research on activation, exploring the capacity of art to initiate a process of individual emancipation. The artist declares: “Dignity, empowerment and emancipation: artists carve out a precise role for themselves, that of activator of a mechanism (which is the work) whose aim is to produce a transforming force from the encounter of the elements included in it, until it reaches the spectator”. In Italy, at a time marked by health emergencies and social distancing, the We Rise by Lifting Others project was born: a monumental installation created for the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence that takes the form of a traditional luminaria from the festive events of southern Italy, accompanied by evocative phrases on the theme of individual and collective empowerment. An essential part of the project was the creation of digital workshops to bring people together within a new context of sharing.
Senatore has received numerous awards including: Premio ACACIA 2021, Premio Cantica21 Italian Contemporary Art Everywhere, the Italian Council Prize (4 and 7 editions); the Evelyn Award at York Museum, UK; Art Grant – The Foundation of Arts and Music for Dresden, Germany, 2017; Premio MAXXI and AMACI (Association of Italian Contemporary Art Museums), 2014; Castello di Rivoli Fellowship, 2013; The American Academy in Rome Fellowship, Gotham Prize and 23° M. Bellisario Prize in 2012; The New York Prize and Terna Prize in 2010; The Dena Foundation Fellowship in 2009.
In addition to teaching at various universities, the artist regularly lectures at international institutions such as Goldsmiths, London; ICA-Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Foundation d’Entreprise Ricard, Paris; NYU, Berlin; Academy of Fine Art, Naples ERG, Brussels; University of Madrid; University of Granada; University of Turin; Beursschouwbug, Brussels; Academy of Fine Arts, Mechelen; NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti; IUAV, Venice; Hochschule für Gestaltung, Frankfurt am Main. From 2021, Senatore has been the only European artist teaching at The Alternative Art School (TAAS).