Pasolini's Rome- Borgate not postcards

"Una Roma che non era Roma" - Pigneto, as described by Pasolini

ROME-Pier Paolo Pasolini treated the Eternal City extensively in poetry, prose and cinematography- Rome had a profound impact on both the man and his art. In an interview Pasolini once confessed: ‘I owe Rome a lot.’ After Barcelona and Paris, Rome now hosts the internationally-acclaimed exhibition “Pasolini Roma.”

 In fact, his relationship to Rome was one of give-and-take. Like Lisbon and Pessoa and Dublin and Joyce, Rome now owes Pasolini as much as he owed Rome. Which tourist would visit the Pigneto if not for Italy’s poète maudit?

 It was, however, not the postcard Rome that marked Pasolini. His is the Rome of the borgate, council house projects in the outskirts.

 “Pasolini Roma” spans the 25 years Pasolini spent in the city. The exhibition consists of six chronological episodes and an epilogue. Each episode captures a key-moment in Pasolini’s life. Together, they show his trajectory through the city.

 Pasolini arrived in Rome as a poor internal migrant – though a rather odd one since he came from the North of Italy. As he once revealed in an interview, his trajectory – from the periphery to leafy EUR – merely reflected his increasing economic status.

 Though Pasolini later shot his movies abroad, he never moved out of Rome. Even when he was a famous movie director, he never left “Mamma Roma.”

 Central to each episode stands an object which symbolises the artist’s life at that moment in time. There are no explanatory texts: rather than explain this exhibition shows.

 “Pasolini Roma" displays a great number of unpublished materials, including diary excerpts, photographs and paintings.

 The exhibition’s themes cover Pasolini’s childhood, religion, art, friendships and sexuality. The diary excerpts on his homosexuality are particularly well-chosen.

 Black-and-white photographs show detached apartment buildings that stand lost in the Roman country. Precisely images like these – the early borgate of Pietralata and Tiburtina – Pasolini immortalised in his early movies. They show a city that is expanding, a modern Rome in the making.

 Besides being a professional author and movie director, Pasolini was also an amateur painter. The exhibition displays some of his drawings and paintings as well as a collection of modernist paintings he evoked in a poem.

 Large colour projections at eye-height show Pasolini’s neighbourhoods today. An image of Rome’s high street with its franchise stores and shoppers seems to confirm Pasolini’s warning about the impact of consumerism on the city and its inhabitants.

 The projection of the beach of Ostia during a rage contrasts sharply with the other projections, all taken at daytime, and foretells Pasolini’s final hour.

 The exhibition itself is a stone’s throw from Piazza della Repubblica, the place where Pasolini picked up the ragazzo di vita who would kill him. What is really great about visiting “Pasolini Roma” in Rome is that, afterwards, one can explore the places Pasolini lived and worked in and find out what remains of his “Città di Dio.”

 “Pasolini Roma”

 April 15 – June 20

 Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Via Nazionale 194, Rome

 Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 – 20:00