Pietro Ruffo: Places and Power

a globe showing migration patterns

Pietro Ruffo, Migration Globe IV (2017), ink and cut-outs on paper.

Cornell in Rome Spring 2018 Lecture Series

Pietro Ruffo was born in Rome in 1978 and still resides there. In 2009 he won the Premio Cairo Award (Italy) and in 2010 he was awarded the New York Prize, bestowed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His artist residencies have included working at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York City (2010), the Nirox Foundation in Johannesburg (2012), and the Fountainhead Residency in Miami (2013). During his research fellowships, Ruffo's aim was to investigate ideological structures of thought that have influenced politicians in different parts of the world. Concentrating on contemporary philosophers' theories relating to freedom, Ruffo considered the idea of true freedom and the role that individual liberty might play within this. Ruffo's practice reflects his intense social and moral concerns, as well as his stance on specific ethical issues. He works with media including drawing, watercolor, and sculpture.


Places and Power is a conversation in which the artist Pietro Ruffo speaks about three major themes: self-defense, freedom, and the phenomenon of migration. These main themes remain a challenge to our contemporary society. Whether for reasons of climate, political tensions, or the search for better economic or religious conditions, they reflect an increasingly interconnected humanity, which overcomes geographical and cultural boundaries.

Ruffo focuses on history and politics to show the students how through art and symbols they can face issues of our times, even using only a pencil and a sheet of paper.

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