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Poesia e Magia / Poetry & Magic – Celebrating Anita Seppilli


Exhibition at ICI London (39 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8NX), 7-30 November, Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, FREE. Curated by Katia Pizzi and Ben Thomas.

Anita Schwarzkopf Seppilli (Fiume 1902- Perugia 1991), was an Italian anthropologist whose major publications included, above all, Poesia e magia (1962 with further editions in 1971 and 1982), but also Sacralità dell’acqua e sacriliegio dei ponti (1977) and Alla ricerca del senso perduto (1986). Her initial scholarly interests were literary, but her work became increasingly concerned with anthropological, ethnological and psychological themes while she was living in Brazil from 1939 to 1947. Seppilli argued in Poesia e magia that poetry evolved out of magic, and that traces of ancient rituals and magical beliefs could be discovered in epic poems like Homer’s Iliad. She believed that the classical culture of Italy should not be treated as an idol, but that it could be deepened and enriched by pursuing connections across cultures, borders and disciplines.

This exhibition, and the series of events connected with it, celebrate Anita Seppilli’s extraordinary originality by exploring the magical and mytho-poetic topics of her classic study Poesia e magia in the context of contemporary London. Among the works included in the exhibition are paintings by Stephen Chambers RA interpretation of William Blake (Two Black Angels, Scissors and Harvest), Marcelle Hanselaar’s series of etchings Rebel Women of the Apocrypha, Ana Maria Pacheco’s series of large drypoints Dark Event and An Ancient Dark Night Descended on My Soul, and faithful reproductions of William Blake’s relief etchings by Michael Phillips. Also on display is a surrealist-inspired photography and poetry piece, The Sacrilege of Bridges, created by Junko Theresa Mikuriya and Ben Thomas especially for this show.


7 November 2023, 6 pm. Poetry & Magic – Celebrating Anita Seppilli. Private view of the exhibition. Martina Mazzotta will be in conversation with the artists Stephen Chambers, Marcelle Hanselaar,  Junko Theresa Mikuriya and Ana Maria Pacheco. BOOK HERE

22 November 2023, 6 pm. Michael Phillips – Blake and Italy. Michael Phillips, master printmaker and leading expert on William Blake, will explore the influence of Italian art on Blake’s work. BOOK HERE

28 November 2023, 6 pm. Roundtable discussion about Poetry & Magic, featuring Professor John Tresch (Warburg Institute), author Iain Sinclair, and professional witch Dr Kate Tomas. BOOK HERE

During the course of the exhibition, Ana Maria Pacheco’s extraordinary new sculptural piece Remember will be on display at Studio 3 Gallery, Jarman Building, University of Kent, in Canterbury. Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, until 15 December, FREE.

Image Credits: Ana Maria Pacheco, An Ancient Dark Night Descended on My Soul I, 2010-12, drypoint.

  • Organizzato da: ICI London