About the Exhibition
The exhibition Fellini: Circus of Light brings some clues to Fellini’s universe. Conceived as an introduction to Fellini’s films, the exhibition is divided into two segments. Situated in ADM Gallery 2 are approximately 50 pieces from the Fellini Foundation for the Cinema collection documenting Fellini’s work. Among the exhibits are still images from his original films, daily life in film studios, along with posters, objects, and original drawings by Fellini. The selections work like pentimenti, fading frescos, surrounded by sounds, light and music as indexes for his creative process. The space in which they are presented is conceived as a labyrinth, alternating in light and shadow, with images suggesting a symbiosis between the grotesque and the sublime, the sacred and the profane.
Created in the ADM Gallery 1 is an immersive environment dedicated to Fellini’s characters. The frozen characters are wandering the sky above the circus arena, looking for the maestro.
This exhibition is the collective result of a number of creative artists from School of Art, Design and Media, NTU: Puppeteers, sound designers, visual effects supervisors, graphic artists, product designers, webmasters, filmmakers and fashion designers, working together to introduce the complexity of the filmic works of one of the major artists of the 20th century.
The curator from the Fellini Foundation for the Cinema was responsible for the selection and framing of the original materials, and the curator from the School of Art, Design and Media, NTU, was responsible for conceptualising and overall design of the exhibition.
Heitor Capuzzo & Stéphane Marti
Professor Vibeke Sorenson
School of Art, Design Media
Nanyang Technological University
During a 1983 interview, Federico Fellini expressed to Stéphane Marti his vision as one that strove to preserve the cinematic image as an enduring form of expression in his work. The proliferation of television as a mainstream form of entertainment, coupled with changing tastes of a quickly developing contemporary society have changed the way visual images were being consumed. But to Fellini, cinema was not merely just a ritual or a pastime, but a rigorous practice that sought to overcome generational arguments around the restraints on creativity.
The exhibition Fellini: Circus of Light can be said to be such an endeavour. It is also a testament to the Italian maestro’s diverse body of work that had transformed the way images are being perceived as well as discussed in 20th century film discourse.
The showcase of more than 50 photographs, movie posters and original drawings from the collection of the Fellini Foundation for Cinema, document Fellini’s vast oeuvre, drawn from more than three decades of his filmography. This includes his classics such asLa Strada (1954), 8½ (Otto e Mezzo, 1963), Juliet of the Spirits(1965), Fellini Satyricon (1969), The Clowns (I Clowns, 1971),Amarcord (1973), Fellini’s Casanova (1976), Intervista (1987), among others. The School of Art, Design and Media is proud to partner with the Fellini Foundation for the Cinema to present this exhibition, with their valuable collection that has helped illuminate the lesser known processes of Fellini’s filmmaking.
Another critical component of the exhibition shows how the universe of Fellini -primarily seen on film – is being translated into other modes of representation that deepen the understanding of his works. In the exhibition, artists from the School of Art, Design and Media, from across disciplines of fashion, graphic, product, sound and visual effects design, as well as film, animation, and puppetry, have come together to uncover the complexity of the filmic works of one of the most compelling and enduring auteurs of the 20thcentury.
Created within the exhibition are immersive spaces that draw viewers into Fellini’s world. A carnivalesque room that explores Fellini’s fascination with the circus, reveals vignettes of his important films in a three-dimensional spatial environment. The aural dimensions of Fellini’s work are accentuated through sound design that highlights the mood, melody and indeed, mayhem in his films. Fellini’s characters are brought alive through life-sized models, designed by faculty members specialising in fashion and puppetry. These creative efforts and initiatives complement the collection of the Fellini Foundation for Cinema, and extend the experience of the world of Fellini.
The School of Art, Design and Media is grateful for the support of the Embassy of Switzerland, the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute, and would like to thank all the collaborators and artists involved, for helping to realise this exhibition.
Cav. Stéphane Marti
The Fellini Foundation for the Cinema
Established in 2001 in Sion (Switzerland), the Fellini Foundation for Cinema (FFC) owns the largest collection of memorabilia in the world, related to Federico Fellini and numerous other directors. These 15,000 documents, that include drawings, photographs, scripts, letters, posters, artefacts, costumes, production documents and press releases, were presented by the Foundation in more than seventy exhibitions and events around the world: to name a few, Paris (Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume/Louvre); Festival de Cannes, Rome (MACRO, Teatro dei Dioscuri); Venice (Palazzo Benzon and Mostra del cinema); Milan (Gallery Cartiere Vannucci); Madrid and Barcelona (la Caixa Centres); Warsaw (Mazowiecki Instytut Kultury); Krakow (Galeria Solvay); Moscow (House of Photography); New York (Center548); Toronto (TIFF); Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo (Instituto Moreira Salles); Ludwig Museum Koblenz; Eye Museum Amsterdam; Switzerland (Musée de l’Elysée); and Sion, where the Foundation is based and has its cultural centre.
The FFC has developed its activities in many directions: conservation of the cinema patrimony; organisation of events and international exhibitions; support for an educative programme (L’Atelier du regard); archiving for academic research; and digital technology for culture. The exhibitions took on a new importance since the establishment of the cultural centre of the Foundation, La Maison du Diable Cinéma & Culture Visuelle (MDD)[i] in 2011 in Sion. Here, exhibitions were presented in world premieres with the most important partners such as the Cinémathèque Française. Over the past five years, exhibitions such as Otto e mezzo; Let us interrogate the Fantastic Films; International Film Shootings – Paris, Berlin, Hollywood, 1910-1939; Audrey Hepburn: Itinerary of a Star;Fellini, an artist of the 20th century; Stephanie Cornfield: Nomadic Mirrors; and Panorama of the Mountain films, made the MDD, situated as it is in the heart of the Swiss Alps, an international location for cinema. The FFC produced 25 publications including two books and monographs by the prestigious publisher Gallimard in Paris. The FFC established partnerships with other arts: Maurice Béjart produced a world premiere ballet named Ciao Federico for the first international exhibition of the FFC, Fellini Maestro del cinema(Palais de Beaulieu Lausanne) in 2003. The FFC also produced several short films as well as video documentaries, such as Dialogue literature/painting by artists Michel Butor and Luc Joly.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Arts is an industrial art in the sense that it is produced in an era when economy and technology became interdependent. The close alliance between cinema and economy is evidenced by the unwavering support of firms and businesses for the Fellini Foundation for Cinema. For instance, in 2011, Center548 in New York welcomed the exhibition Persol Magnificent Obsessions as a tribute to Fellini and Terry Gilliam with the support of the Luxottica Group. The Fellini Foundation for Cinema established a cultural network in Switzerland and around the world with different partners who share its cultural vision. With the institutional support of the City of Sion, the Bourgeoisie de Sion, the Canton of Valais, the Swiss Lottery, and private partners, the FFC has taken up the role of a cultural ambassador for the economy. The exhibition, Fellini’s Otto e mezzoat the Palais Benzon in Venice, organised with the High Patronage of the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano (August-September 2012), was supported by the Department of Economy of Valais. The Foundation also produces interactive magazines for iPad especially designed for its exhibitions: the visitors receive free access to archives, photos, sounds and music from its own collection, including interviews with Federico Fellini, Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale and Sandra Milo.
Over the next several years, we intend to forge strong links in this worldwide network, especially with centres of creative know-how in order to benefit from cinema’s heritage and expertise. On behalf of the Fellini Foundation, I express our gratitude and I am proud to launch such a strong cultural partnership with the NTU, all made possible thanks to the name and the spirit of Fellini the Maestro. In this way all our activities become open to future generations in a fruitful dialogue of cultures. This Fellini adventure is now your adventure too.
[i] The cultural centre of the Fellini Foundation, La Maison du Diable Cinéma & Culture Visuelle, owes its name to an ancestral and romantic legend related to this patrimonial residence, Domus Supersaxo, built at the beginning of the 16th century to receive the ambassadors of the nearby countries. Nicolas Rouiller is the director and the curator of the centre.
Thomas Kupfer, His Excellency
This catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition,Fellini: Circus of Light, jointly organised by Nanyang Technological University (NTU), School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) and the Fellini Foundation for the Cinema.
Initiated under a cooperation agreement signed between the NTU School of Art, Design and Media and the Fellini Foundation for the Cinema in August 2015, the exhibition opens a series of cultural activities and exchanges revolving around the renowned Italian film director.
This first cultural collaboration, involving the joint efforts of NTU, Singapore, and the Embassies of Italy and Switzerland in Singapore, gives an overview of Fellini’s work accessible for the first time to students and cinema-lovers in Singapore and to a further extent, to Southeast Asia.
But you may wonder: how is Switzerland involved with the iconic Italian film director Federico Fellini. The Fellini Foundation for the Cinema was established in 2011 in Sion, Switzerland, after it had acquired, with the support of the State of Valais and the City of Sion and Loterie Romande/Valais, Swiss film producer Gérard Morin’s huge private archive on Fellini. Gérard Morin had worked from 1971 to 1977 as Fellini’s assistant, and his admiration for the Italian maestro prompted him to collect every possible object related to Fellini.
Today, the collection has been completed with a great number of new acquisitions and comprises some 15,000 items such as original documents, letters, film scripts, photographs, drawings, posters, films, costumes and props on Fellini. To date, this collection represents the world’s first private archive on Fellini.
I’m very proud of the collaboration of the Singapore institution and the Swiss foundation as it also reflects the excellent bilateral relations between both our countries. Over 5,000 Swiss citizens live and work in Singapore; more than 400 Swiss companies established their headquarters here; and many Swiss students come to study in the City-State. All these show Switzerland’s important interest in Singapore.
Furthermore, with this collaboration, I see a great potential to develop further the cultural relationship between our two countries. Switzerland has a thriving arts scene reflecting its multilingual and multicultural identity in the heart of Europe. The Embassy of Switzerland helps to promote Swiss culture in Singapore and to foster cultural cooperation between organisations and artists of both countries by organising activities throughout the year, often in partnership with local institutions, Presence Switzerland, the Swiss Arts Council PRO HELVETIA or private sponsors. The presence of Swiss culture in Singapore has been growing recently and its increase is very promising.
On a personal note, I’m particularly delighted to support this exhibition, as I have always been a great admirer of Fellini. Even more important, my Italian spouse Fiorella’s home is very close to Fellini’s home-town, Rimini.
With this first exhibition in Asia on the art of Fellini, the Italian director’s legacy will now be open to new generations at the other end of the world.
I look forward to the exhibition and wish it a great success.
Paolo Crudele, His Excellency
After the very successful month-long retrospective of Federico Fellini’s films in 2010 at Singapore’s National Museum, this year the City-State is hosting a special exhibition, Fellini: Circus of Light, a demonstration of the maestro’s cinematography and his relationship with circus arts, a leit-motif that appears in several of his films.
Thanks to the joint cooperation between the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), School of Art, Design & Media, the Federico Fellini Foundation for the Cinema in Sion, the Embassies of Italy and Switzerland as well as the Italian Cultural Institute in Singapore, this exhibit will be Southeast Asia’s first ever tribute to Fellini’s love and fascination for the circus arts and will showcase the profound influence that the “circus life” had on Fellini’s moviemaking.
When we bring up the subject of Federico Fellini, we are talking about one of the world’s most iconic film directors. Volumes have already been written about the beloved author of Amarcord, La dolce vita and 8½. We cannot overestimate the legacy and the impact of this great Italian filmmaker – as well as his influence on Italian and international cinema – had on past and will have on future generations of film students and young filmmakers all over the world. This on-going interest in Italian cinema is mirrored in Italy by a new and deep interest in Southeast Asian films which have been consistently invited to participate in Italian film festivals. Italian universities – such as the University of Turin and the University of Bologna DAMS – are now offering degrees in Asian Film Studies. It is a great satisfaction to witness how the School of Art, Design and Media of NTU is considering the launch of a Federico Fellini’s Digital Archive and it is now hosting this unique multimedia show that will provide NTU’s students and the Singaporean public at large a chance to look into one of Fellini’s major sources of inspiration. With the Fellini’s Digital Archive and this exhibition as well as the upcoming launch of a Ph.D course in Federico Fellini’s filmography, the Nanyang Technology University is at the forefront of Italian film studies in Singapore and in Southeast Asia.
It is noteworthy that the positive cooperation of all institutional parties involved, representing Singapore, Italy and Switzerland has created the perfect synergy resulting in this original exhibition as a testimony that the art of cinema remains one of the most effective ways to connect people across the globe and to provide a better understanding of cultural diversity.
The Nanyang Technological University and the Fellini Foundation for the Cinema would like to thank the following for their invaluable support in realising this exhibition:
- Embassy of Switzerland in Singapore
- Embassy of Italy in Singapore
- Italian Cultural Institute in Singapore
- NTU Libraries
- All ADM faculty members and students who helped support the show.
- Heitor Capuzzo
- Stéphane Marti
- Michelle Ho
- Federico Grandesso
Commissioner & Partnership Coordination
- Federico Grandesso
Dome Design & Animation
- Benjamin Seide
- Benjamin Low
- Ben Shedd
- Nagaraju Thummanapalli
- Jeth Heng Guan Seng
- Jayseellan S/O Eisvran
- Joel Lee Da Wei
- Benedict Lo Tsz Wang
- Goh Wei Wen Timothy
- Ross Williams
Exhibition & Lighting Design
- Jeffrey Hong
- Kathrin Albers
- Galina Mihaleva
Concept and Design
- Heitor Capuzzo
- Tan Suan Kai
AV & IT Teams
- Tan Wee Liang
- Abdul Shukor Bin Muhamad
- Arifin Bin Ami
- Kumar Chockanathan
Exhibition Branding & Design
- Roy Wang
- Mark Ong
- Tamelia Lim
- Chrystal Lim
- Leong Jinjie
- Ong Xiuhui
- Muhammad Mustajab bin Muhamad
Gallery Sitters Management
- Tan Kwang Boon
Web Design & Online Archive
- Hedren Sum
- Bella Ratmelia