Menabrea Art Prize was founded in 2011 by Untitled Association and Birra Menabrea.

There are two men on a train. One says to the other: “What is that parcel you put on the luggage rack?” The other: “Oh that, it’s a MacGuffin.” Then the first one: “What’s a MacGuffin?”. The other: “It’s a device to catch the lions on the Adirondack Mountains.” The first one: “But there are no lions on the Adirondack.” So, the other end: “So this isn’t a MacGuffin?”

Tarantino’s briefcases, Mulholland Drive’s blue box, Magritte’s and Giacometti’s magic objects, Monna Lisa’s smile. The MacGuffin, a term coined by Alfred Hitchcock and a device he often used in his filmography, is an object that acts as a “driving force and the pretext for an intrigue,” something that seems to have crucial importance and around which emphasis and action are created, but whose meaning is wrapped in mystery and is not fully understood by the observer.

Thus, a bottle captured in a scene becomes part of a narrative plot, fixed forever among the brushstrokes of iconic work, imprinted in the memory of the protagonists and the public who is a visual, economic and actual consumer. It’s a central object for the scene but incomprehensible and disturbing in the eyes of the observer.

With a direct or indirect reference to well-known works, iconographic or imaginary cinematic memory, the theme proposed by CURA. for the Menabrea Prize 2017-2018 investigates the relationship between a single element, context, and spectator.


Madame Bovary Gloves, 2017, digital drawing

The glove, multifaceted as an actor who has played different roles, for better or for worse, becomes a symbol far beyond that of a simple garment. In social rituals, gestures and objects are connected, bearing specific and sometimes ambiguous indications and meanings. At the heart of the intrigues in the Renaissance courts in the 19th century, the glove was a symbol of seduction and eroticism, as with Madame Bovary playing with her gloves as a way to draw attention to her hands. The use and gesture around this object as narration, as a metaphor of the exchange and communication between humans. Intimacy, contact, challenge or respect, and kindness. But the glove is also in the form and shape of the hand. A skin, a membrane that shows or hides.

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