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Two simple letters. An E and an X.
EX, the letters used by Elena Xausa to sign her pictures.
But also:
EX - a Latin preposition: (motion related to a place) from; (time) from, since, as of; (cause) because, out of, as a result of.
And this is the simple, dual suggestion that has generated this project.

EX stems from the need to celebrate Elena Xausa's art and her incredible hunger for life and beauty, on the other, allowing visitors to be infected by her graceful and determined way of living.

You will be welcomed by an unprecedented selection of her immense archive of sketches and drafts - on show to the public for the first time - and an extensive overview of some of her most famous designs, created for some of the world's most prestigious brands and publications.

But that's not all.
Images that work have that special something: they are able to take you somewhere else. And we found ourselves realising that Elena Xausa's creative energy and inspiration are not over, but that her incredible journey continues.
This is why the EX - Illustri x Elena Xausa project also offers space to the tribute that a hundred creatives have dedicated to Elena, with a hundred new works created especially for the occasion. 

So, what you are about to visit is more than just an exhibition: it is a workshop, a creative and inspirational site open to all and in which everyone can participate. A place of wonder, where new ideas are born. Where the purest energies can be cultivated.

Francesco Poroli
Curator and Chairman of Associazione Illustri


Elena Xausa (1984 - 2022) was an internationally acclaimed Italian illustrator and artist.

She graduated in product design from the IUAV University of Venice in 2007 and began working with Cibic Workshop, a Vicenza-based research centre founded by architect Aldo Cibic. In 2008, she won the artistic residency at the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation in Venice. She was subsequently awarded two more residencies: one by the International School of Graphics in Venice and another by Gas Jeans. To enrich her experience as an illustrator and creative artist, she lived in Berlin, Milan and New York.

She worked with publications such as Le Monde, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Die Zeit, Esquire, Icon Design, Icon, AD, Flair, Vice Magazine, Vanity Fair, Il Sole 24 Ore, GQ, Rivista Studio, Ottagono, La Parisienne and Wallpaper*. She also produced illustrations for major companies such as Apple, Airbnb, Yoox, BBC and Kenzo.

Over the years, Elena Xausa simultaneously pursued a personal artistic research that led her to explore the infinite possibilities of drawing and to develop her work also in the third dimension, with the creation of site-specific installations, design objects and clothing.


The exhibition renews the consolidated collaboration with Associazione Illustri which, in recent years, has brought the most prestigious names in contemporary illustration to Gallerie d'Italia - Vicenza as part of the biennial Illustri Festival.

Lending continuity to the dialogue and confirming Palazzo Leoni Montanari as a place for the promotion of this art form, a series of annual appointments that propose exhibition itineraries together with activities such as workshops and meetings, begins with EX - Illustri per Elena Xausa.

Gallerie d’Italia offers itself to the city as a space to house collections and exhibitions, as well as moments for meeting and sharing, and for creativity.



Try, attempt, research
The artist's most intimate place: the blank sheet of paper that becomes the stage of the creative spark. An unprecedented journey in the sketchbooks of Elena Xausa.


Do again, do from scratch
Because Elena Xausa's creative energy and inspiration do not end, instead they continue their journey, passing the baton to a hundred protagonists of Italian creativity who have created a hundred new tributes.


Exhibiting, international exposition
The most important collaborations, the most prestigious publications: a colourful, contemporary and pop sign that starts from Marostica and spreads to the whole world.


Moving away from the main theme, wandering with no real destination: the deepest sense of creativity. This space is conceived for those who want to try digressing: make yourself comfortable.


EX - Illustri x Elena Xausa”, is the exhibition at the heart of a creative workshop that will involve lovers of illustration in the Bank's Vicenza museum venue over a period of five months. The initiative is promoted and curated by Intesa Sanpaolo and Associazione Illustri, which together have been organizing the biennial international event “Illustri Festival” since 2015, when the Bank started to host the “Illustrissimo section at Palazzo Leoni Montanari, with famous names such as Pablo Lobato, Noma Bar, Malika Favre and Christoph Niemann. With the exhibition dedicated to Elena Xausa, the Vicenza museum kicks off an annual appointment dedicated to international contemporary illustration.

The protagonist of the “EX - Illustri x Elena Xausa” exhibition project, with the patronage of the Municipality of Vicenza, Elena Xausa (1984-2022), an internationally acclaimed Italian illustrator and artist who recently passed away. The title EX originates from the way she signed her works, but also from the etymological meaning of the word:  EX with the meaning of “motion to a place”, as a starting point and as a cause. This project is conceived not only as a tribute to the artist and her career, but also as a moving construction site, drawing inspiration from Xausa's energy to engage a broad creative community.

Elena Xausa lived in Venice, Berlin, Milan and New York, working for international newspapers and magazines such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Le Monde, Les Echos, Monocle, Vogue, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Icon Design and leading brands like Apple, Nike, Fendi and many more. Her personal artistic research led her to explore the infinite possibilities of drawing and to develop her work also in the third dimension, with the creation of site-specific installations, design objects and clothes.

200 of the artist's works are on display: the first room “EXperimenti”, the most intimate in Elena Xausa's creative journey, is entirely dedicated to the backstage aspects of her work and her personal research: a significant part of her sketchbooks, on public display for the first time, as well as her ceramics and sculptures.

The “EXpo” section is dedicated to her artistic production from 2009 to 2019, when Elena Xausa travelled outside abroad, first to Europe and then to New York, where she settled for a few years. Libraries, cafés, shared studios, trains and steamships, aeroplanes and cars, friends' living rooms, flower-filled meadows, Norwegian cliffs and American glades are just some of the settings in which her illustrations were created. “EXpo” continues with the most important collaborations and publications of these ten years of Elena's career, from the best-known international newspapers to the trendiest companies on the European and international scene.

EXnovo” is the space dedicated to showing how Elena Xausa's energy continues its journey thanks to the works of 100 illustrators, designers and artists called upon to narrate the artist's creativity in the 100 previously unseen tributes: prints, originals, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, installations, videos and other works, which will be available to raise funds for AIRC - the Italian Association for Cancer Research. The artists include Matteo Cibic, Ale Giorgini, Luca Zamoc, Guido Scarabottolo, Giorgia Lupi, Mauro Gatti, Koes, Manuele Fior, Basik, Sarah Mazzetti, Emiliano Ponzi, Lorenzo Fonda, Lavinia Xausa, Luca Font, Massimo Giacon and Riccardo Guasco.

The exhibition ends with EXcursus, a space where every visitor can experience the most intimate and profound sense of the creative spark, pausing and using space and time to transfer the inspiration drawn from the exhibition onto paper. The venue will be enhanced by a mural by Luca Zamoc, a street-artist who will be creating his work dedicated to Elena between the 12th and 14th of April.

EXtra, a rich programme of creative days, with workshops, talks, meetings and experiences related to the world of illustration and more, will run throughout the exhibition.

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