Luis Alberto Rodriguez,
with Afra Zamara

Studies in the costume archive of the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi



Ex Battistero della Manna d’Oro, Piazza Duomo, Spoleto
29 June – 15 September


Presented by Mahler & LeWitt Studios and Fondazione Carla Fendi in collaboration with Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi. Curated by Guy Robertson.

Free entry
29.06, 10.00–19.00 (tour 12.30)
Opening hours: 29.06–14.07 Monday to Sunday 11.00–19.00 (closing time may vary
according to Festival events) 15.07–15.09 Friday to Sunday 11.00–19.00 (12.08–18.08 open Monday to Sunday)

Event: 29.06, 11.00: Giardino Campello, Luis Alberto Rodriguez, Afra Zamara, Guy Robertson in conversation with Andrea Penna (RAI)

Mahler & LeWitt Studios and Carla Fendi Foundation are pleased to present a new project with award-winning Dominican-American photographer Luis Alberto Rodriguez, in collaboration with Italian set designer Afra Zamara.

Rodriguez and Zamara developed Legàmi whilst artists-in-residence at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto 2023-24, as part of the three-year residency program supported by Carla Fendi Foundation through the Carla Fendi Award 2021.

Invited to respond to the recently established costume archive of the illustrious Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi, Rodriguez and Zamara selected costumes from historic operas and ballets, combining them in unexpected and elaborate ways, to emphasise and assess the way dress defines identity. Capturing the flare and detail of the original costumes whilst placing them in new situations referencing fashion, Rodriguez, who trained as a dancer and performed worldwide before turning to photography, presents his subjects as other-worldly entities with costumes as body-surrogates. Each models’ movements – burdened or empowered – aligns their capacity for expression with the performativity of dress.

The exhibition takes place in the Ex Chiesa di Santa Maria della Manna d’Oro, a 17th century baptistery on the Piazza Duomo used by Carla Fendi Foundation for projects in the Fsetival, of which it is the main partner. Dramatically lit, the installation is conceived to create a dialogue between the work of Rodriguez and Zamara, the church’s oil paintings, and the high relief figurative compositions on the baptismal font.

The synergy created between Mahler & LeWitt Studios, Carla Fendi Foundation and Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi, aims to highlight the artistic talent of Rodriguez and Zamara, increasingly sought-after protagonists in the world of art, fashion and design, enhancing at the same time the great endeavour carried out by the Festival in recent years for the recovery, conservation and cataloguing of a corpus of approximately 3800 costumes. The archive illustrates the history of performance at Spoleto’s festivals from the early 1960s to the 2000s, whilst charting shifting attitudes to culture and fashion. The costumes were often created by the most prestigious Italian and foreign costume designers of the time and represent a heritage of great cultural value which completes the memory of some of the most remarkable historic events of Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi.

As Maria Teresa Venturini Fendi, President of the Carla Fendi Foundation, states “… the works of Luis Alberto Rodriguez in the exhibition curated by Guy Robertson are animated totems, supernatural, mythical, archaic and contemporary cult entities to which one feels inextricably linked.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with a contribution from curator Guy Robertson and a conversation between Luis Alberto Rodriguez and Sara Sozzani Maino.

Luis Alberto Rodriguez Dominican-American artist Luis Alberto Rodriguez was born in New York and trained as a dancer at The Juilliard School, performing worldwide for fifteen years before turning to photography. Now, he continues to study the human form’s movement, often using his subject’s body sculpturally in poetic compositions. He has published two books with award winning Marseille based publisher Loose Joints: O (2023) is a study of nudes caught by the camera between states of collapse and ecstatic control, whilst People of the Mud (2020) looks at cultural heritage in Wexford, Ireland, and was the result of a residency at Cow House Studios in collaboration with FUTURES and Photo Ireland. Recent commissions include photographing the New York City Ballet’s 75th anniversary campaign, a feature for Beauty Papers, and covers for Vogue and Vogue France. He is president of the Photography Jury for the 38th edition of the Hyères Festival of Fashion, where he was awarded the Prix de Public in 2017. Rodriguez’s work has been recognised by the British Journal of Photographs and Red Hook Labs New Artists awards. He is based in Paris and is represented by Second Name Agency.

Afra Zamara Born in Italy and growing up in Nigeria, Zamara’s childhood was rooted in innovative design forefronting ecological principles. Nominated in the 2021 NEW WAVE creatives listed by the BFC, Zamara earned a degree from the London College of Communications, specialising in photography. In time she found herself drawn to the creative energy and collaboration involved within set design. Zamara is celebrated for her interest in the deconstruction and re-purposing of materials; incorporating the concepts of sustainability into her practice. Additionally, Zarnara is well-known for collaborating with and spotlighting emerging artists through the curation of her sets. Her editorial clients include AnOther, POP, Dazed, Double, and Arena Homme. She is based in London and is represented by Second Name Agency.

Carla Fendi Foundation The Carla Fendi Foundation promotes and creates artistic events, restorations, scientific and social projects. Since forming in 2007, the Foundation has collaborated with Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi becoming its Main Partner in 2012. Among its projects in Spoleto, the Foundation organises the annual Premio Carla Fendi, which was awarded to Carol LeWitt and Marina Mahler in 2021 for their services to culture in Spoleto. The funds from the prize are supporting a series of residencies and artistic projects at the Mahler & LeWitt Studios.

The Mahler & LeWitt Studios offers a program of residencies and special projects based around the former studios of Anna Mahler and Sol LeWitt in Spoleto, Italy. The Torre Bonomo, a medieval tower once used as a residency and exhibition space by the gallerist Marilena Bonomo, is also central to the programme. The program is curated by Guy Robertson.

The Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi was founded by the opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti in 1958 and was one of the first multi-disciplinary arts festivals of its type. It quickly garnered international recognition for developing and promoting avant-garde art. It takes place in June and July each year and makes use of the numerous exhibition and performances venues boasted by the town of Spoleto – including the Teatro Romano, two opera houses, and several churches. The director of the festival is Monique Veaute.