Leone Contini

Leone Contini (b. Florence, 1976) studied philosophy and cultural anthropology at the University of Siena. His research finds its place at the intersection between creative practice and ethnography. Leone Contini focuses primarily on intercultural conflicts, power dynamics, migrations, and diasporas, and how all these phenomena influence the anthropological context and the botanical landscape in the places where he works. His practices include lecture/performances, events in public spaces, text and audio-visual narrations, and drawings. He has held events and exhibited at the Museo della Civiltà in Rome, the MUDEC in Milan, the MART in Rovereto, Cittadellarte in Biella, the Delfina Foundation in London, the Kunstverein in Amsterdam, and the Kunstraum in Munich, among others.

Foreign Farmers (2018)
Installation, event held in public space

The result of ten years of collecting seeds and stories has taken shape as an experimental garden where migrating varieties cohabit and are acclimated, set in the Botanical Garden in Palermo. Inspired by the fundamentally hybrid genealogy of Sicilian plants and vegetables, the artist has built a bower in the former colonial section of the Botanical Garden, which was once dedicated to acclimation experiments run on species brought from the colonies. The construction of a hybrid bower upends the historic significance of this space: acclimation is no longer imposed as part of a power-based relationship, but is a natural process. Here, the cucuzza (a snakelike summer squash essential to Sicilian home cooking) grows alongside its Bengali, Sri Lankan, Philippine, Turkish, and Chinese counterparts. A sort of cabinet of curiosities has been set up in the Gymnasium, the result of the fieldwork Contini has done on ‘foreign’ farming practices over recent years.