Help us develop our program and catalyze critical ocean literacy by donating below

Skip to navigation Skip to main content


Surrounded by Waters

Curating in small states: a micro-territorial perspective in the Mediterranean


Ocean Space
Admission fee
Free of charge


TBA21–Academy invites “A Natural Oasis?” (Curators of Mediterranea19 - “School of Waters”) to its Ocean Space for a roundtable exchange and discussion, introducing their current exhibitions and sharing their aims, ideas and experiences in relation to specific local contexts.

In both initiatives, the ideas of the Mediterranean and its waters - understood as methods and political realities - are investigated as complex narratives and critical spaces for artistic inquiry and cultural research.

“A Natural Oasis?” (2013- ongoing) is a nomadic free school born from the contexts of the BJCEM, the Biennale des Jeunes Créateurs de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, dedicated to the development of new curatorial research paths in the field of contemporary visual and performing arts, starting from the geopolitical peculiarities of the artistic scenes of the Southern European and Mediterranean territories which are often considered remote, marginal, small, insular or liminal. The purpose of this project is to build a transnational cultural platform able to critically question the fictional procedures that empowered the idea of continental Europe in its geopolitical and cultural immunity via the exclusion and/or the vampirization of its “provinces” and its “externalities”. The fellows of the third edition of “A Natural Oasis?” (2018-2021) and the founding curators of the program came to curate Mediterranea 19 – “School of Waters”, currently held in the small state of the Republic of San Marino.

Like TBA21–Academy, “A Natural Oasis?” is concerned with raising awareness and highlighting the fragility of the seas and oceans through art in all its forms of expression and media, and through ongoing conversations.

If an exhibition can be thought of as a “school”, what temporal dimensions and perspectives must also be considered? What does this model require from curatorial work, artistic practice and mediating work? How can a Biennale act as a collective tool to defamiliarise stereotypes that manipulate our geographical imaginations, especially those linked to the Eurocentric interpretation of the Mediterranean area? Can artistic research offer a possibility to reshape the understanding of static identities and sense of belonging in the Mediterranean, starting not from the land, but from its waters?.

The various methods and possibilities of learning and experimenting will be explored and questioned, and space will be given to the exploration of utopias and rarely implemented or forgotten ideas. Water is both a means and an instrument, but also a metaphor for connection, communication, softening and reforming - water can be understood as a sentient entity that is both accessible and resistant to cognitive taming.

The roundtable will be moderated by Markus Reymann (Director of TBA21–Academy), with the participation of Rita Canarezza (Coordinatrice scientifica Galleria Nazionale della Repubblica di San Marino), Barbara Casavecchia (Leader of The Current III “Mediterraneans: 'Thus waves come in pairs' (after Etel Adnan)”, Chus Martínez (Curator of Ocean Space), Alessandro Castiglioni (Founder of “A Natural Oasis?” and Senior curator of Mediterranea 19 - “School of Waters”), Simone Frangi (Founder of “A Natural Oasis?” and Senior curator di Mediterranea 19 - “School of Waters”), Giulia Gregnanin (Fellow “A Natural Oasis?” 2018/2020 and Curatorial Board Mediterranea 19 - “School of Waters”), Corinne Mazzoli (artist of Mediterranea 19 - “School of Waters”). TBA21–Academy’ Ocean Fellows Calypso 36°21 (Justine Daquin & Zoé Le Voyer), Ella Navot, Nadia Christidi and mentor Cécile Hummel will also be present in the audience.

Foto: Marianne Fahmy, What things may come (still), 2019. HD film, 13 minutes. Photo: Mostafa Abdel Aty. Courtesy the artist.

Alessandro Castiglioni

Alessandro Castiglioni is the Senior Curator and Deputy Director of Museo MA*GA, Gallarate, and Secretary of the Premio Nazionale Arti Visive Città di Gallarate. He is Lecturer of Art and Design History at Istituto Marangoni, Milano. He worked as a curator for many institutions, such as: the Italian Cultural Institute in London, MCA, Valletta, and the National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik. In 2019 he was co-curator of the San Marino Pavilion at the 58th Biennale di Venezia. Since 2014 he has co-directed “A Natural Oasis?” A Transnational Research Programme alongside Simone Frangi. In 2021 he became the Senior Curator of MEDITERRANEA19 - “School of Waters”.

Simone Frangi

Simone Frangi is a researcher and writer working at the intersection of critical thinking, curatorial research, and education. He holds a French-Italian Ph.D. in Aesthetics and Theory of Art, and he currently serves as Professor of Theory of Contemporary Art at Fine Arts and Design Academy in Grenoble (FR), where he founded and coordinates the Research Unit Hospitalité artistique et activisme visuel pour une Europe diasporique et post-occidentale. He co-directs Live Works - Free School of Performance at Centrale Fies (Trento, IT) and runs “A Natural Oasis?” A Transnational Research Programme with Alessandro Castiglioni. In 2021 he became Senior Curator of MEDITERRANEA19 - “School of Waters”.

Giulia Gregnanin

Giulia Gregnanin is a Sanmarinese writer and curator based in Glasgow, where she is currently curating Understate Projects Ltd, a non-profit organisation dedicated to feminist studies, supported by Glasgow International and Creative Scotland. She is the co-founder and co-curator of Il Colorificio, Milan. In 2020 she was selected for the BAGLIORE residency for Italian writers. She served as editor at Flash Art. She currently writes freelance for several magazines.

Corinne Mazzoli

Corinne Mazzoli artistic practice has made use of videos, photos, installations and performances and has been inspired by the latest trends in fashion and lifestyle, analysed with an ironic and critical eye. In particular Mazzoli explores identity constructs and gender stereotypes in relation to online representation. Recent exhibitions include "Non-conventional tutorials" in 2021, MA*GA Museum, Gallarate, curated by Alessandro Castiglioni; "A Visual Threesome", C/O Careof, Milan, curated by Giada Pellicari and Marta Bianchi; "School of Waters" Mediterranea Biennale curated by A Natural Oasis? in the Republic of San Marino; she is also a participant in the "Future School" project curated by Hae Won Shin for the Korean Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennial.


Rita Canarezza is an artist, cultural operator, curator and researcher. She is currently in charge of the project coordination of the San Marino National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, as Cultural Operator of the Cultural Institutes of the Republic of San Marino (Secretariat of State for Public Education and Culture - Department of Culture and Tourism) since 1992. Some of the projects: Provoc'arte Provo Carte Provocar te 1991; Sanmarinosarajevo 2000 - 2006; Closing the border 2001; Small States on uncertain stereotypes, 2002 - 2005; Little Constellation 2002 - 2015; Subjective Maps Desappearances 2014; Listen to the Sirens 2012 - 2015; A Natural Oasis? 2014 - 2020. Since 1993 he has been in charge of the participation of the Republic of San Marino in the BJCEM network - Biennial of Young Artists of Europe and the Mediterranean, and has been responsible for the project coordination of MEDITERRANEA19 "School of waters".


Participation is free but a reservation is required at the following link.

From August 6 all visitors must present a valid Covid-19 Green Certification (Green Pass) to access Ocean Space.

In accordance with the current rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Ocean Space's capacity has been reduced to ensure a safe experience.

Inside Ocean Space wearing a mask is mandatory (covering both the nose and mouth correctly) hands must be sanitized with the disinfectant at the entrance. At the entrance, visitors’ temperatures will be taken.