Maria D. Rapicavoli

"The Other: A Familiar Story"

8 May–8 August 2021

Soft openingFriday, 8 May 2021, 11 am-7 pm
VenueWestfälischer Kunstverein, Rothenburg 30, 48143 Münster, Germany
Opening HoursTuesday-Sunday 11 am-7 pm
Admission4 € / concessions 2 € / members free

The Westfälischer Kunstverein is presenting the first solo exhibition by Sicilian artist Maria Domenica Rapicavoli (*1976 in Catania, lives and works in New York) in Germany. At the heart of the exhibition is a new comprehensive video work, which, together with an associated sculptural installation, is shown throughout the entire exhibition space. 

Based on a true story, the narrative revolves around a woman from Sicily who was forced to follow her husband to Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA and abandon her erstwhile life in her homeland. Rapicavoli links these personal memories with the supra-individual history of migration in a patriarchal society and the construction of women as “The Other” in reference to Simone de Beauvoir's opus The Second Sex (Le Deuxiéme Sexe, 1949). 

Rapicavoli’s intention in her sequence of images is to render palpable the fact that the degradation in the case of domestic violence is perpetuated in one’s own home. She succeeds in this by using the quotidian furnishings from the kitchen, living room and bedroom, but making them appear like artificial props. The familiar becomes “uncanny”, haunting, weird and eerie, and has thus a disturbing effect. This is a key to the complexity of the visual language in the video: we see real spaces, geographies that actually exist, ones we may even recognise and be able to situate. 

This “story” of migration, oppression, misogyny and economic inequality still feels far too familiar to us today, a century later. The video's reference to the catastrophic Spanish flu outbreak after the First World War even allows us to draw parallels to our current pandemic, in the wake of which we all too clearly see history repeating itself. The artist's approach of generalising an individual fate and rendering it palpable (instead of merely intellectually comprehensible), and thus recognising its cause as something eminently structural, can be a beginning for a further sensitisation and call to arms for us now to tell those stories that can ultimately challenge the dominant narrative, the absolute.



Public Programme

Guided tours

through the exhibition with curator Kristina Scepanski

Tuesday, 1 June at 6 pm  and
Friday, 2 July at 5 pm 

We kindly ask to arrange an appointment via



Lecture | online | live stream

(in English)

Tuesday, 4 May 2021 at 6 pm

Maria D. Rapicavoli speaks about her artistic practice as part of the lecture series Münster Lectures 
of the University of Fine Arts, Münster

Zoom event: link
Meeting-ID 643 3086 1073 // Code 884112



The project is supported by Kunststiftung NRW, the Italian Council, Direzione Generale Creatività Contemporanea as well as the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, New York.

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