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Roman public squares at MOCA

A Roman public square, famed for its great art and architecture, has served many purposes since the early Middle Ages, but it has always brought people together and generated connections.

Once it was the square before a cathedral or the courtyard before civil offices, then it became a hub for urban development, commerce, recreation, fountains, monuments, statues - a showcase for art and a place of ideas and dialogue.

Twenty eloquent Roman public squares are showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, or MOCA Shanghai, a striking exhibition of large format photography and sculpture that captures the essence of the squares, both ancient and modern. Forty Italian photographers and other artists contributed works to "virtual squares" under a glass ceiling.

The halls are filled with live music composed by Alvin Curran, who creates musical installations with artists in other media.

The show runs through June 4.

The exhibition curated by Achille Bonito Oliva is a demonstration of the World Expo 2010 theme, "Better City, Better Life."

"The works represent an excellent unstoppable movement ... The squares are an encounter between past and present," he says.

"Since ancient times, Roman squares have always had the closest relationship with the general public. It is not only the 'void,' but also the link between building groups, void and solid. It shows the ideal practice of architectural functions," says art critic Victoria Lu.

It was with Michelangelo, but especially with Bernini, that the square assumed the modern characteristics as a place of relation between the urban structure and the architectural solution, the exhibition note observes.

The exhibition of the most eloquent Roman squares "re-proposes the idea of the square as the space of dialogue and dynamic fulcrum of relations."

Date: through June 4, 10am-5pm (closed on Mondays)

Venue: MOCA Shanghai, 321 Nanjing Rd W., next to People's Park

Tel: 6327-9900


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