The new contemporary art prize – Lio Art Prize 2023

Lio Capital Art Prize

The new contemporary art prize

Under the artistic direction of Gaspare Luigi Marcone, the prize established by the European alternative investment platform will acquire each year a work of art exhibited in an Italian or International museum context

First winner:

Rä di Martino with the work L’eccezione, 2019


Monday 19 October 2020, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM

Palazzo Amman, via Arrigo Boito 8 – Milano

(admission by invitation)

Milan, 8 October 2020 – On Monday 19 October 2020 in the halls of Palazzo Amman (via Arrigo Boito 8, Milano – admission by invitation), the Milan headquarters of Lio Capital, Rä di Martino (Rome, 1975) will be the first artist to receive the Lio Capital Art Prize, the new annual contemporary art prize under the artistic direction of Gaspare Luigi Marcone, created by the European alternative investment platform to lend support to contemporary artists using experimental and innovative expressive languages.

Each edition of the Lio Capital Art Prize will see the acquisition of a work of art recently produced and exhibited within a museum or institutional context in Italy or abroad. The work will be chosen by a jury to which will be added each year the curator or director of the institution in which the prize-winning work was exhibited.

L’eccezione (The Exception, 2019, HD video, colour, 4’) by Rä Martino – shown through to 13 February 2020 in the exhibition of the same title at the Museo Novecento in Florence – has been chosen for the extraordinary power of its message and for its visionary quality combined with complete technical mastery. In retrospect, the video has also proved to be a perfect metaphor for the unique period we have experienced on an international level due to the pandemic and the consequent desire to return to normality and hope for the future.

The 2020 jury was composed of the artistic director Gaspare Luigi Marcone, Professor Maurizio Dallocchio, Chairman of Lio Capital, the collectors Monica and Federico Ghizzoni, the curator and lecturer at the University of Catania Raffaella Perna and the independent curator Alessandro Rabottini; the guest member of the jury is Sergio Risaliti, artistic director of the Museo Novecento in Florence which produced the video L’eccezione.

The work by Rä di Martino was chosen for the first edition of 2020 because its form and message reflect the philosophy of Lio Capital, the European platform for alternative investment characterised by extensive use of technology in every phase of the investment process and a focus on special situations and distressed investments.

The Lio Capital Art Prize was born out of passion for contemporary art and is the fruit of the combination of philanthropy, artistic sensibility and interest in alternative assets that distinguishes Lio Capital’s business.

The decision to reward artists expressing themselves through experimental means derives from the Lio Capital DNA, with the company modelling its corporate philosophy around support for innovative ideas: on the one hand young professionals operate in niche markets with great potential in the alternative investments sector, while on the other the Lio Capital Art Prize permits artists to continue developing their research.

Forward planning is one of the key aspects of a prize that represents the first step in a long-term project that from 2021 will develop in synergy with Italian and international operators within the ambit of the Milan Art Week.

The prize format is also intended to pay deserving tribute to the work of the institutions and museums producing new works and new exhibitions of contemporary art.

We would like to thank Ambra Berselli, Elena Bianco, Monica De Cardenas, Francesco Marini, Davide Mazzoleni, David Trad.

Description of the work

Rä di Martino, L’eccezione (The Exception), 2019, HD video, colour, 4’
Performer: Alessandro Pezzali
Courtesy the artist and Museo Novecento, Florence
Work produced by Museo Novecento – MUS.E, Florence, curated by Sergio Risaliti

Exhibition: 25 October 2019 – 13 February 2020, Museo Novecento, Florence

L’eccezione presents a statue abandoned in a forest, missing both legs and an arm, immobilised and lost. When awoken, he begins to perform small dance-like movements. Despite becoming aware of his condition as a mutilated statue, perhaps unchanged for centuries, he wants to let himself go to the music he hears. This nostalgic and romantic melody is a reworking of the love theme from Flashdance, which calls out to us, allowing distant memories to re-emerge. The statue does his best to keep the rhythm, trying to move muscles and bones he doesn’t have in a movement that appears as both an incredible effort and an exercise designed to contain a long-dormant charge of energy.
Rä di Martino’s video appears to have incorporated this long history of relationships between the human being and his double, placing it within a narrative coloured by a veiled compassion for the maimed statue. If the Italian Renaissance was born out of the fragmentary statues of Ancient Rome that emerged from the ruins of the temples, the new artistic renaissance imagined by Rä di Martino is born out of a cyborg that, abandoned in the forest, seemed to want to dance one last time before sleeping, perhaps forever, while awaiting a new resurrection. (Sergio Risaliti)