Paganini Rockstar


Palazzo Ducale, Genova


Palazzo Ducale, Fondazione per la cultura

Exhibitions, Interaction design, Video installations
About This Project

What makes a performer a rockstar? What’s the secret of his success?
Palazzo Ducale dedicates a major exhibition to Niccolò Paganini that aims to tell the story of this musician who so profoundly revolutionized classical music, doing so through a notably hypertextual contemporary narration that highlights all of Paganini’s modernity.

The visitor to the exhibition is accompanied, as it were, backstage at the theatre on an itinerary – divided into various thematic sections – that winds its way through a fascinating stage set, taking in large backdrops, iconic objects such as il Cannone, Paganini’s red notebook, his ledger of accounts, letters and autograph cards. The artist is truly brought on stage, as the story of the birth and construction of a myth is told from behind the scenes.

The narrative unfolds thematically in a series of rooms that highlight some of the peculiarities of the figure of Paganini and at the same time suggest points of connection with our present-day world – talent, virtuosity, celebrity, sold-out concerts across the whole of Europe, the household name. These are all features that reveal the extraordinary modernity of Paganini, who can be regarded as a veritable rock star even before the word existed and as a precursor of styles, movements and modes of expression that are typically modern. In this sense, the musician that can best be compared to Paganini is Jimi Hendrix – with his relationship to his instrument, his non-conformity, and the extreme nature of his performances.

The history of the violin is divided into before and after Paganini; likewise there was also a before and an after Hendrix in the history of the guitar. At different times and driven by the same exceptional energy, both changed the history of music.

Curated by Roberto Grisley, Raffaele Mellace and Ivano Fossati.
Project by NEO – Narrative Environments Operas.