At The Edge of Chaos | Exhibition

At The Edge of Chaos

18-28 June 2020


An online exhibition curated by the Arts Management Master Course of IED – Istituto Europeo di Design di Firenze in collaboration with Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and Manifattura Tabacchi.

At The Edge of Chaos on instagram

This exhibition tries to examine the complex systems, considering some of their different manifestations: the collision between the human and natural world, sometimes resulting in irrevocable damage to the environment; the inter-societal interactions between humans both in reality and in the virtual, and the personal interaction between an individual and their own psyche.


Curatorial Journey


Complex Systems

Partners and Institutions


“Complex systems are situated in between order and disorder, or at the edge of chaos”
Andrea Ferrara

“We concentrate on something, while all the rest becomes very irrelevant to us. And that just leads to us forgetting, or not seeing how in an ecosystem everything is related. That’s a big problem we have, as human beings. […] Art can help us see this multiplicity of scales and phenomena, use a multi-lens to show that we co-exist and share the space with more-than-human beings.”
Tomás Saraceno


We live in a world of complex systems of our own creation; our cities, communication, science, society, which give us the illusion of order. Yet, as the current situation shows, our complex systems are not as effective as we like to think; at the end we are always living at the edge of chaos grasping onto the strings of order. Whether it is a pandemic crushing our economy and shaming our health systems, the sea claiming the land we have so carefully colonised, or our own neuroses undermining our lives and happiness, the chaos of the world seems to be in constant battle with our very human obsession with ordered systems. Perhaps it is exactly at this point, at the edge of chaos, that real potential is revealed, that breakthroughs occur, innovation succeeds, ways of thinking are changed and new life can grow.

Furthermore, once we look outside of our constructed systems, we realise that our perception of complex systems, both on our planet and in the universe, is in many ways limited by our very human perspective. There are many immaterial, intangible, unimaginable layers of existence that we disregard or cannot perceive. Many of these systems we try to decodify and simplify in an attempt of control, but in reality we are just a part of a bigger picture that governs through its own nature, without our interference.

This exhibition tries to examine the complex systems, considering some of their different manifestations: the collision between the human and natural world, sometimes resulting in irrevocable damage to the environment; the inter-societal interactions between humans both in reality and in the virtual, and the personal interaction between an individual and their own psyche.

At the Edge of Chaos is a special online art exhibition presented by the Arts Management Master Course of IED Firenze, in collaboration with Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and Manifattura Tabacchi, curated from artworks produced by students of Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze, California State University, Fondazione Studio Marangoni and LABA, inspired by the theme of ‘Complex Systems’ and Tomás Saraceno’s exhibition Aria, at Palazzo Strozzi. To visually represent the complexity of connections during a time of chaos, the artworks will be visually linked by a disintegrating net. Additionally, reflecting on the complex system of the curatorial process in a virtual world, the curatorial journey itself will be included in the exhibition as a parallel to the complex system interpretations of the artists.

In order to show the interconnection between the virtual and the real space, which both play a key role particularly at a time like this, without excluding each other, the online exhibition will be accompanied by a program live activity on the exhibition’s social media and artists performances in the city of Florence from 18 – 28th June, 2020.

Curatorial Journey

As the whole art world was trying to adjust with the restrictions implemented with the spread of Covid-19 in March 2020, the students of the Arts Management Master Course of IED Firenze after just a few weeks of normal lectures, also had to develop a new perspective on the shape of their course, their exhibition and their futures. The difficulties and tribulations of online lectures, technical challenges, as well as being in different geographical locations, from Florence to Zagreb, from Brussels to Barcelona, were overcome by professors and young professionals alike. Translating what had once been meant to be a physical exhibition held in Manifattura Tabacchi to a primarily virtual online exhibition on their website, was a fascinating and challenging adjustment for everyone, from questions of online display for the curatorial team and artists, to how to attract and engage the audience through social networks by the communication and media teams. The input and collaboration of the professors and partners was invaluable in reinventing the traditional format of an exhibition into one that both provided an artistic experience online and in real life.

There were moments where the process of the exhibition making strayed to the edge of chaos, as each stage of the process was revealed as a small complex system within a large whole. However, with the revelation of the curatorial process itself being a complex system, new invigoration was found and the process itself became part of the exhibition. The constant adjustment and reinterpretation brought out unrealized strengths in every participant, revealing new possibilities for the project. To visualize the concept of complex systems at the edge of chaos the graphic team worked with inspirations from Tomás Saraceno’s exhibition Aria at Palazzo Strozzi to create a graphic that connected the theme and the artists thematically in an organic form. Centred around the passionate work of the artists who questioned the complex systems of their own lives in these unusual times, the complexity of modern society, as well as the conflicting coexistence of humans and nature, a program of activity in the virtual and physical location of Florence was developed to showcase a new reflection on these unusual circumstances and the potential future of exhibition making.


Anna Rebecca Fdz-Checa García

Anna was born in Barcelona, although she was raised between Barcelona, Spain and California, USA.
She received a Bachelor Degree in Interior Design from the University of Barcelona. During her years as a student she was eager to learn more about design approaches so she undertook various internships in architectural studios in Los Angeles, California. There she was exposed to new ways of designing and approaching the art world, which inspired her to want to pursue a career where art and culture meet. This is why she decided to study the Arts and Management Master at IED, to pursue a career that nurtures her passion.

Arnagul Zhakudayeva

Arnagul (Arna) is from Kazakhstan and she has a profound background in Human Resources Management within the oil and gas industry. The last 6 years she spent living and working in UAE, Dubai, in a multicultural environment. Arna is fond of yoga, painting and following her interests so she decided to change her career path and move to Italy, Florence, to study Art Management Master course with IED.

Erica Gatti

Erica was born and raised in Modena.
She studied “European Languages and Cultures” at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. During these years she also had experiences abroad both in London and Graz. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she worked for over a year in an event management agency, where she eventually decided to start the Arts Management course to combine her strong passion for art and culture with event management.
She is cheerful and passionate.

Gabriela V. Marton Szalay

As a Hungarian born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in Mexico City, she brings her European-Latin heritage into cultural planning, organization and management, passions she decided to pursue and expand – together with a profound love and background in theatre and dance – by relocating to Italy to study the Arts Management Master program at IED, after working for more than 12 years in the fields of design, marketing and corporate communication, and receiving her bachelor in Graphic Design – Visual Arts from Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, plus some other studies in Human Development and Teaching Methods.

Giusy Todaro

Giusy is 23 years old, lives in Parma but Apulian blood flows through her. She studied photography and art in Bologna, later worked as a press editor, visual merchandiser and as an assistant in a photographic-printing laboratory. She is passionate and positive, and she likes to read, cook and red wine. At the moment she is attending the master in Art Management at IED Florence, because she wants to learn how to work with art: her greatest passion.

Hélène Ziegler

Hélène was born in 1997 in Brussels, a city where she has lived all her life. She loves to travel around the world and keeps a very keen interest, when visiting cities, to also explore the cultural heritage, museums and architecture. This is why after finishing her Bachelor Degree in Business Administration, she decided to follow her passion in art and started a new adventure at IED in Florence.
She has no work experience but after finishing her studies she wishes to find a job in the art related world.

Juli von Glasow

After receiving her bachelor in History of Art and Art World Practice from the University of Glasgow in partnership with Christie’s Education, Juli sought to explore the art world by gaining different experiences working in auction houses, museums and contemporary art galleries. With this Master in Arts Management she hopes to find innovative approaches to bringing art and culture to different communities, while working with creative and inspiring people.

Tu Junfu

Junfu was born and raised in Hubei province, China. He graduated from Incizione (print painting) of Accademia delle Belle Arti di Firenze and is currently studying Arts management courses at the IED, Florence. He lived in Florence for several years and is very interested in Italian culture. He hopes to build a bridge between China and Italy through art.

Melissa Marie Toscanini Segale

Melissa was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts at ”Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo”. Currently, she is studying a master’s course in Arts Management at IED Florence, as she is keen on acquiring more knowledge in regards to the art sector. She is interested in the management of cultural events and institutions, as well as, the curatorial field. After her studies, Melissa aspires to pursue a career in the art world.

Monica Hirano

Monica is from Brazil and has been splitting the last 5 years between Egypt, India, Malaysia and now Italy. She is an art producer, costume designer and a carnival enthusiast. Among the latest projects she produced are Something Else, the OFF Cairo Biennale (on visual arts), Gender Bender (grant show on gender in Bangalore, India) and BLOCO SEREIANOS (a carnival street parade in São Paulo). At the moment she is a master student at IED, in Arts Management.

Nannette Garcia Navas

Nannette was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at the “Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico”. As a conceptual artist she has worked between the art and fashion industry with local cultural institutions as well as contemporary museums, galleries and alongside designers as photographer, stylist and illustrator. Currently she is obtaining a masters in Arts Management from the IED. In future she aspires to corroborate with local and international multidisciplinary art projects bringing art back to marginalized communities.

Nathalie M. Barés Neuman

Nathalie Marie was born in 1994 and is from Panamá. With a marketing background, she started to gather knowledge on management, learn new skills and gain experience in administration by working for more than five years at her family’s business. Now with energy and passion, she is connecting her experience within the art industry, aiming to develop cultural and educational projects with the collaboration of artists, brands and professionals from around the world.

Tianqi Yi

Tianqi was born in Changchun, a city in northeastern China. She graduated from the Florence Academy of Fine Arts, so she has spent many years in Florence. She was drawn to the strong art atmosphere in Italy and wanted to learn more about how museums and galleries operate. So she decided to continue her master’s course at IED. She enjoys finding inspiration for her artistry in the details of her life, and also enjoys cooking.

Tjaša Ninić

Tjaša was born in Zagreb, Croatia. She studied Theatre and Film Production at the Academy of Dramatic Arts, University of Zagreb. After her graduation, she worked on various cultural and art projects, as well as working for the international fashion house, MCM – Songjuu Group in Milan, Italy. Due to her strong passion for arts and culture, and great wish to learn more about the field, she decided to start a Master in Arts Management at IED. In the future, she would love to work with different art profiles and expand her experience and connections.


Complex Systems was a project conceived by Palazzo Strozzi to engage students of art academies in Florence (Italian and international) in response to the Tomás Saraceno exhibition, Aria (Palazzo Strozzi, 22 February-1 November 2020). The educational project took its cue from an encounter with Saraceno’s work and is open to the different declinations of contemporary artistic output, offering students a field for analysis and research.

Over a period of four months the curation team from the Arts Management Master Course of IED Firenze and the artists were meant to explore the theme proposed in a cycle of events (lectures, talks with artists and scientists, tours of the exhibition, working tables) and to stimulate the production of new works of art. This would then result in an exhibition during the period of 18th – 28th June to be held in the spaces of Manifattura Tabacchi.

Due to the onset of the Covid-19 crisis early on in the project, new online alternatives were found for the students to engage with their fields, resulting in an exhibition hosted on the website of Manifattura Tabacchi and in some live performances in Florence during the same period.

The project was realised in collaboration with the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze (Prof. Marco Raffaele), California State University (Prof. Marsha Steinberg), the Fondazione Studio Marangoni (Prof. Lucia Minunno), LABA Libera Accademia di Belle Arti (Prof. Matteo Innocenti), IED- Istituto Europeo di Design di Firenze (Prof. Daria Filardo) and Manifattura Tabacchi.

Special thanks to Leone Contini and Andrea Ferrara who have helped to expand the debate on the theme with their talks by addressing it from an artistic and scientific perspective.

Partners and Institutions


Active since 1966, when the first school was opened in Milan, Istituto Europeo di Design has been expanding and operating in the disciplines of design, fashion, visual arts, management and communication, in different cities both in Italy and abroad. IED Firenze offers every year the Arts Management Master course, in which the first semester final project is the development and organisation of a professional art exhibition. The students of the Master Course in Arts Management in IED Firenze are the curators, organizers and producers of At the edge of chaos. They were responsible for creating the statement of this exhibition, as well as choosing the artworks in collaboration with Palazzo Strozzi. The design, exhibition virtual layout, visual identity, and communication were also created by IED students.

Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi

Masterpiece of Renaissance architecture in Florence and dynamic cultural centre of international importance, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi is a focal point of Italy’s cultural scene: a platform that promotes a new idea of contemporaneity in Florence, to produce and experience art through a rich programme of exhibitions and cultural activities. Always experimenting with new opportunities and forms of public involvement, research in the field of education is central, through a rich public programme and an articulated offer of educational projects. The educational department of Palazzo Strozzi is responsible for the guidelines and has worked to build, together with the curatorial team, the shape of At The Edge of Chaos.

Manifattura Tabacchi

Manifattura Tabacchi is an ex-industrial complex built in the 1930s, west of central Florence. Decommissioned since 2001, it is now involved in an ambitious urban regeneration project, which envisages creating a new district for the city animated by a centre for contemporary art and culture complementary to the historic centre, open to the territory and connected with the world. The interdisciplinary project dedicated to art, currently divided into Artist Residences, independent spaces, festivals and workshops, is the ideal framework for the collaboration with Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi. Manifattura Tabacchi hosts the exhibition At The Edge of Chaos in its digital spaces.

Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze

The Fine Arts Academy in Florence is one of the most prestigious and oldest schools of arts. Its history intertwined with “la Compagnia di San Luca” (1339), also known as the “Organization of the Painters”, considered as the first nucleus from which the modern Academy originated (1784). The School was attended by some of the greatest figures in the history of art and it is now a place where cultures from all around the world can meet and share their interests. For this project the students of Decorazione and Pittura have developed artworks individually and collaborating in groups coordinated by Professor Marco Raffaele.

California State University International Programs - Firenze

The California State University (CSU), with 23 campuses throughout the state, is the largest university system in the U.S. CSU offers study abroad opportunities in numerous countries on different continents. The guiding principle is that students should be immersed in the academic and cultural life of their host countries. The CSU IP in Florence was founded in 1966 and the students participate in the Florence program for one year.

The CSU IP in Florence offers a rich curriculum with courses in Art History, Classics, Literature, Social Sciences, Italian Language, Cultural Studies and Architecture. The CSU art students’ study at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze and also work in the studios on campus under the guidance of Professor Marsha Steinberg, the CSU Art Coordinator. This spring 2020, due to the sanitary situation, the studio art students developed their artworks back in California working online with professor Steinberg.

Fondazione Studio Marangoni

Fondazione Studio Marangoni is a centre dedicated to contemporary photography in Florence. FSM was founded in 1989 by the photographer Martino Marangoni with the aim of promoting art and the teaching of photography in Italy. The Triennial Course of “Photography and New Media” allows young photographers to confront each other at the highest levels both in the commercial and artistic fields, thanks to a deep work in the structuring and experimentation of the visual language. The third year students of the Triennial Course developed their individual artistic projects for this exhibition coordinated by Professor Lucia Minunno.

LABA - Libera Accademia di Belle Arti

Active since 2001, the Libera Accademia di Belle Arti is a school of art and painting, photography, fashion, graphic and design, which revolves around the key word of “experimentation”. It is located in Florence but aims at going beyond its borders, focusing on innovation and on the relationship with the workplace. The young artists enrolled in Visual Arts and Painting have developed their works as part of the performance techniques for visual arts course with the coordination of Professor Matteo Innocenti.