Maria D. Rapicavoli: Surface Tension

A photograph of tempered glass which has chattered but is still holding together.

Maria D. Rapicavoli, Held in Tension, 2021. C-type print, 60 x 45 inches. Courtesy of the artist.


November 6, 2021–March 13, 2022


Artist List

Maria D. Rapicavoli

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New York-based artist Maria D. Rapicavoli has been drawing on her native Sicily as a place of departure and arrival to frame her understanding of rootedness and migration as well as notions of domesticity and feminist politics.

Her recent video-installation The Other: A Familiar Story is a reflection on a female relative who, a century ago, was forced into marriage and brought to the United States against her will to lead a life of hardship as a factory worker in Lawrence, Massachusetts. This tale of oppression, misogyny, and economic inequality, which resonates with contemporary experiences of migrant women, anchors the artist’s first career survey.

Showcasing her larger practice as a photographer, media and installation artist, and sculptor, Surface Tension contextualizes Rapicavoi’s recent video with past works that explore a constellation of topics such as military control of Sicilian airspace, layers of colonial relations that undergird Mediterranean crossings to and from Europe and Africa, and gender and sexual politics of domestic spaces during a pandemic. The exhibition presents a multifaceted view of an artist who is interested in both larger global politics, and intimate, domestic spaces and the inner psyches of individuals under duress.

Artist Bios

Maria D. Rapicavoli (born 1976, Catania, Italy) was a fellow in the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2011–12, and holds an MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London (2005), and a BA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Catania (2001). She has exhibited in several group shows, including at Socrates Sculpture Park, New York; Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Museo di Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy; Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce, Genoa; Palazzo Reale, Milan; Guest Projects, London; Museo d’Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia, Palermo, Italy; Strozzina, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain; and the Italian Cultural Institute, London and New York. She is the recipient of many awards and grants, including the Italian Council grant, 6th edition (2019); nctm e l’arte (2013); DE.MO/Movin’UP (2011); and the Renaissance Prize Award at the Italian Cultural Institute, London (2008).

Image Gallery


Maria D. Rapicavoli: Surface Tension is organized by Liz Park, former Curator of Exhibitions at UB Art Galleries. Support for this exhibition is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Q-International grant of the Fondazione La Quadriennale di Roma.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts logo.
Logo reads "Q-International la quadriennale di roma".
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