Repulsive Reverie


“The ambition to write a history of “actual” disgust — its far-reaching constant, as well as variable, forms, its fluctuations in intensity and shifting objects, its de- and resensitizings, its natural and cultural models — meets with almost insurmountable difficulties. [..]”

— Winfried Menninghaus, “Disgust: The Theory and History of a Strong Sensation”


“[..] there are works of art that arouse disgust in a way that induces one willingly to dwell in the emotion itself, such that one would prefer to remain in the thrall of disgust rather than remove oneself.”



The group show “Repulsive Reverie” featuring the artists Julia Colavita, Manuel Cornelius, Nadia D’Alessio and Zu Kalinowska, investigates the notion of beauty in a wide way, addressing a complex analysis on the topic of disgust. Disgust often leads to feelings of strong unpleasantness or discomfort, reasons why, in our everyday life, we do our best to avoid it. Therefore, disgust and repulsive sensations are usually neglected, differently if compared to the craving for beauty. Disgust is an emotion deeply rooted to the body and the sensorial experience we can’t ignore. If it is intrinsically linked to perceiving through the sense of taste, it implies a bond to carnality, where the two dichotomy and interrelated concepts inseparably live together. Beauty has actually to be completed with something else. Disgust is therefore not a limit, but a condition for its existence and the creation of an equilibrium. Whenever it is said that beauty is everywhere, it is actually the presence of both beauty and disgust that guide in the appreciation and comprehension of a multifaceted reality. 

Contemporary art can be one of the deputed fields to explore those realms of the aesthetics that are definitely tools to understand and shape ourselves, society and history. Disgust and beauty involve a mental and sentimental component, that thus become cultural, and evolves across centuries. Objects are the perfect protagonist to that kind of exhibition investigation path and discourse around beauty and disgust. Often decontextualized, losing their former functions, objects turn into fetish. Things to be venerated in their processes of aging, decaying and death, transformation with the exposure to chemical products, bizarre awareness spread from the attention due to their isolation and different use.

“Repulsive Reverie” aims to provide with a little original insight on the theme of disgust, presenting the voices of artists whose researches, practices and poetics are differently tied to it. Using various mediums and approaches, the artists generate a whole dialogue, conducting the onlooker into starting a more intense thought on this unheeded subject.

Caterina Fondelli


Repulsive Reverie
1 Jun, 24
6 Jul, 24
Julia Colavita Manuel Cornelius Nadia D’Alessio Zu Kalinowska
Caterina Fondelli
Karl Heine Straße 110, Leipzig, Germany
Emilia Trog