Rachela is a multimedia artist of Italian-German descent, currently living in Italy, but born and raised in Germany. Her education includes studying philosophy, dance, and music in Germany and Fine Arts in Italy. She graduated with a master’s degree in visual arts from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna. Rachela worked for museums and additionally, for Joseph Kosuth and Sol LeWitt.
Her portfolio spans photography, installations, video, painting, digital techniques, and drawing. In these mediums, Rachela delves into aesthetic imaginaries that open up possibilities of reflection and transformation.
The diverse studies concerning architecture and intangible spaces were deepened during residencies in the West Bank at the A.M. Qattan Foundation and Decolonizing Architecture. In the West Bank, Rachela co-founded Bait al Karama, “House of Dignity”, the first women’s center in the old city of Nablus combining a culinary social enterprise with cultural activities. In Italy, she co-founded the international platform project for aesthetics in social practice Social Soups of which she was the author, curator, and producer. Social Soups 2.0 is the second edition that heads toward design and architecture around food and its production. One of Rachela’s public artworks was awarded during the Sea Art Festival/Busan Biennale in South Korea, in 2013. Her work has been shown at the Thailand Biennale 2021, in Italy (e.g. during the Venice Biennale 2015) and abroad (Japan; UK; US; India; Germany; Netherlands; and Monaco).
Next to Social Soups 2.0, Rachela works
on her major project Beyond Pharmakon about disease, healing, and the social body.



lives and works in Perinaldo, Italy

selected group exhibitions

  • 2021-22 Thailand Biennale, Korat, Thailand, curated by Panya Vijinthanasar
  • 2018 17 Days (vol.11) at the Atrium Gallery–Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, US, curated by Adriane Little
    • The Bret Llewellyn Art Gallery, Alfred State College, US, curated by Adriane Little
    • Desert Edge Global Film Festival in Rajasthan, India
    • NoPlace, 4th edition in Santo Stefano di Magra, La Spezia, Italy
  • 2017 Mirabilium Archiva, Palinsesti in San Vito al Tagliamento, Italy
    • Labirintica, Belo189, Gorizia, Italy
  • 2015 Arteam Cup 2015, Officina delle Zattere Venice, Italy
    • Social Soups at Mercato del Carmine, Genoa, Italy
    • Biennale Italy – China, Mastio della Cittadella, Turin, Italy
    • Galleria Spazio Testoni, Bologna, Italy
    • Journey into Fragility, Riva Tunnel, Monaco curated by Cristina Merla
  • 2013 With Songdo: Remembrance-Marks-People, Sea Art Festival/Busan Biennale, Busan, South Korea
  • 2009 The Book of Migration collaboration project by Decolonizing Architecture, International Biennale Istanbul, Turkey, curated by Sandi Hilal, Alessandro Petti, Eyal Weizman
  • 2007 KIWA, Kyoto Municipal Museum, Kyoto, Japan
  • 1996 Star Projects No. 4, Vrieshuis America/Van Abbe Museum Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Netherlands curated by Jan van der Ploeg

two person exhibitions

  • 2015 Nowhere with Maria Rebecca Ballestra, Isola della Certosa, during the 56. Venice Biennale, Italy
  • 2014 Sapere – Sapore, (with Maria Rebecca Ballestra) Museo Civico Palazzo Borea d’Olmo, Sanremo, Italy
  • 1999–2004 personal exhibitions in private space in Frankfurt/M, Germany

awards & grants

  • 2013 second prize History in an Onggi, Sea Art Festival/Busan Biennale, South Korea (with Maria Rebecca Ballestra)
  • 2011 STEP Beyond Travel Grant by the European Cultural Foundation
  • 2010 Residenzaitalia Award by AIR, Italy (with Beatrice Catanzaro)


  • 2014 Caravan Brazil, Transnational Dialogues, Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2011 DEFAULT Masterclass in Residence: On Art, Cities and Regeneration, Ramdom, Lecce, Italy
    • A.M. Qattan Foundation – Ramallah, West Bank, Israel/Occupied Territories
  • 2010 A.M. Qattan Foundation – Ramallah, West Bank, Israel/Occupied Territories
  • 2009 Decolonizing Architecture, Beith Sahour, West Bank, Israel/Occupied Territories

curatorial projects

2020 Social Soups 2.0 for design and architecture

2014 -19 co-founding (with Maria Rebecca Ballestra) Social Soups and Social Soups residency

2009-11 co-founding Bait al Karama, Nablus, West Bank, Israel (with Beatrice Catanzaro, Fatima Khadumi and Cristiana Bottigella)


  • 2020 Partition #3 for the collection Italy 35×35 of the Copelouza Family Museum
  • 2019 Logo and packaging design for the Italian company fractalis
  • 2015 Sound composition Step 5: China for Maria Rebecca Ballestra, Biennale Italy-China, Mastio della Cittadella, Turin, Italy
    • Sound composition From Step 1 to Nowhere for Maria Rebecca Ballestra, Isola Certosa, Venice, Italy
  • 2003 installation, 3i–industries, Frankfurt/M, Germany
  • 1998 site specific, architects Frick&Reichert, Frankfurt/M, Germany


  • 2004-07 Accademia di Belle Arti of Bologna, Italy, MA in visual arts, class of Luca Caccioni
  • 1991-94 Accademia di Belle Arti of Bologna, Italy visual arts, class of Concetto Pozzati
  • 1990-91 study of philosophy at the J.W. von Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main, Germany (philosophy)
  • 1981-91 study of violoncello and music theory at the Jugendmusikschule in Frankfurt/Main, Germany
  • 1976-90 dance and performance at the W. Luley School in Frankfurt/Main, Germany


  • 2020 design of the Smart BoTree Garden for Khlong Toei in Bangkok, Thailand for Capolavori
  • 2016 –17 developer for the annual Festival for the Earth – sustainable Visions in Art and Science by Maria Rebecca Ballestra coproduced by Ca’Foscari University Venice
  • 2005 worked for SolLeWitt on the “New Wall Drawings” at Galleria G7 in Bologna, Italy
  • 1999 worked for Joseph Kosuth on the installation „Fremde und Gäste: Goethes Italienische Reise” at Schirn/Kunsthalle, Germany
  • 1999- 02 management assistant at the museum Kunsthalle Schirn, Frankfurt/M
  • 1993-94 studio assistant, Pinuccia Bernardoni, Bologna, Italy


  • Thailand Biennale Korat 21, Nature Reigns Supreme In The World, 20-21, (Amarin, Thailand, 2021)
  • Copelouza Family Museum, Italy 35×35 Art Project, 14-15, (Kostopoulos, Greece, 2021)
  • Peter de Kuster’s The Heroines Journey, “The Heroines Journey of Rachela Abbate,” September,2018 https://theheroinejourney2016.wordpress.com/2018/09/11/the-heroines-journey-of-rachela-abbate/ (accessed September 11, 2018)
  • Giorgia Gastaldon, Labrys (Ferrari Editore Genoa, Italy, 2018)
  • Giada Centazzo, “Rachela Abbate” in Mirabilium Archiva, 18-19 (Palinsesti, San Vito al Tagliamento, Italy 2017) http://www.palinsesti.org/2017/mostre/mirabilium-archiva/rachela-abbate/
  • Joachim Arndt, “#Brazil” in Journey into Fragility, ed. M.R. Ballestra,111-119, (Allemandi, Turin, Italy, April 2015)
  • Tiziana Danzo, “Two artists from Liguria conquer the Sea Art Festival Busan Biennale,” Il Foglio Italiano, no.145 (2014): 68-72
  • Busan Biennale, “History in an Onggi,” in Sea Art Festival 2013 (Busan, 2013)
  • Lisa Witte, “Star Projects No. 4,” HTV De Ijsberg, no. 13, Jan./Feb. (1997)

publications as author

  • A One-Way Journey to Otherness and Stage 11 South America, Brazil, Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro – From Megalopolis to Solidarity, in Journey into Fragility: An artist’s exploration of the Earth’s at Risk Environments Kindle edition) by Maria Rebecca Ballestra and Alessandra Fava (Monaco MBRArt, November 7, 2016)
  • Aesthetic of Autonomy in Digital Education, selected for: The Culture of Digital Education, Innovation in Art, Design, Science and Technologies Practices, Lanfranco Aceti, Wendy Coones (Leonardo Electronic Almanac – The MIT Press, 2016)
  • #Nowhere in Journey into Fragility, ed. M.R. Ballestra,111-119, (Allemandi, Turin, Italy, April 2015


  • 2018 round table discussion: Participatory Art: Social Soups as Vehicle for Social Transformation at TransCultural Exchange’s 2018 International Conference on Opportunities in the Arts: Exploring New Horizons at Université Laval in Quebec, Canada
  • 2017 Il cibo da prodotto di consumo a strumento creativo at the festival Educazione, Scuola e Consumo, Fortezza Vecchia, Livorno, Italy