If I were you, I’d call me Us
Ludovica Carbotta / Giovanni Giaretta / Shadi Harouni /
Jakob&Manila / Kiyoto Koseki / Manuel Scano / Elisa Strinna
A project by Elisa Strinna and Elena Forin
2 - 28 May 2016
Opening Saturday 30 April, 6pm to 8pm
Meeting with Jakob&Manila on Saturday 21 May, 5pm to 8pm
If I were you, I’d call me Us is a long-term project that started from an idea by Elisa Strinna and was developed by the curator Elena Forin. The protagonists of this first stage of the project in the Galleria Massimodeluca are seven international artists, including Strinna herself. The title of the show is taken from a poem by Ogden Nash1, one that alludes to the possibility of defining identities in a group form by going beyond the idea of indivisibility and by being receptive to diversity, discussion, the transversal, exchanges, or conflict.
Marina Bastianello, the gallery's director, says that, "The idea of this project derives from Elisa Strinna's need to deepen her dialogue with some colleagues who she came to know during the years of her research. By starting from the necessity of creating a choral discourse based on diversity, we have aimed at giving a glimpse of contemporary reality, one characterised by a complexity that can be expressed through the voice of a single individual only with great difficulty. The result is a show conceived of as a dynamic system".
The actions, strategies, and methods employed in the works are rooted in various areas - often mutual ones - of thought, culture, social experience, and traditional rules linked to creation and perception, and what emerges is a powerful degree of resistance to commonly accepted systems. In this way there is outlined a world that is not exclusively political or simply intimate but, rather, a resilient universe in which the importance of relationships becomes crucial, and where no single aspect excludes another because all the values construct a whole. So the works on show allude to the possibility of rebuilding this complex system of relationships, and also include the role of the viewers who are called on to interact with them at first hand.
Shadi Harouni's video (The Lightest of Stones and the Heaviest of Men, 2015) sees the artist involved in an action without any purpose but that is highly symbolic: the removal of individual stones from a quarry, while a group of men behind her make comments, question her action, and talk about the most various current events. So the excavation of the stones has no practical result but becomes a means for allowing the emergence of social and political connections, and the conflicts of a local situation within a wider, global community.
I DO by Jakob&Manila is a project that also sparks off thoughts about the nature of gestures; in this case, though, with reference to daily undertakings. In fact, this German duo has developed a work in which it is the public that has to undertake the actions and share its experiences with the artists. I DO, in fact, stimulates the users to pass a whole day of their own choice without undertaken at least one of the actions indicated (such as not using mechanical means, not using food from the fridge, not speaking, not reading) and to record the creative strategies resulting from this choice: on Saturday 21 May, 5pm there has been programmed a meeting between the artists and those taking part in the project, a meeting that aims at creating an open discussion about the experiences undergone.
Take out - 1 (turm des feuers) and take out - 3 (one men houses) - two drawings belonging to a series of three made in 2013 - in collaboration with the curator Simone Menegol who selected the texts - by Ludovica Carbotta also recuperate thoughts about gestures, but they connect these thoughts to the original nature of forms and the power of imagination: this body of work translates onto paper buildings that the artist has never seen either in reality or in photographs. She has been guided in her reconstruction of the Fire Tower, designed by the Bauhaus architect Johannes Itten, by a text that describes this building, a symbol of the utopia of modernist design, while for take out - 3 what is recounted, in this case only orally, is a sculpture by Thomas Schutte from his series One men houses.
The idea of the ordinary and the of universality of language is, instead, questioned in the works by Kiyoto Koseki. In a performance (Arrangement with sign language interpreter, and public radio, 2016) and an installation (Two left halves: Cesca style chair, 2014) the artist interests himself in the (im)possibility of having an experience and of participating in it in an autonomous way without resorting to exchanges or mediation. Two halves of a popular design chair do not allow the restoration of the original object and its initial use, while the translation into gestures of the content of the visible language of the deaf is completely inaccessible to the majority.
An intimate and personal landscape that attempts to enter collective imagination is to be found in the video by Giovanni Giaretta (A thing among things, 2015); it recounts and reconstructs the universe of vision by translating the cognitive experience and memory of a blind person through abstraction: the images generated by various mineral structures. To this video there are added, in opposition and contradiction, two small works that show the image of two antique mirrors that have completely lost their mirroring function and the identity of which, as a result, has shifted from a "generator of images" to images in themselves.
The large wall-piece by Manuel Scano instead, (Senza titolo (clunk, clunk), 2015), reveals the work to be the processual and alchemical result of the relationships between the elements that the artist activates but that he can only partially and unwillingly control, leaving to the interaction between the materials and their behaviour the visual responsibility for the surface. The image generated by this process shatters the boundaries between abstract and figurative painting to arrive almost at embodying forms originated in the biological or sidereal world.
The study of the universe is also the starting point of Elisa Strinna's work. She is presenting here the development of a new and organised project in which the natural macrocosm and the human microcosm meet up. The artist questions herself about the place of contemporary individuals in the face of the natural system, starting from ideas about observing the sky. Taking as her reference point an ancient technique discovered in Mexico for studying the light of the universe, Strinna offers her record of a research process aimed at studying strategies for sparking off everyday processes of "wonder".
1 Tell me, O Octopus, I begs / Is those things arms, or is they legs? / I marvel at thee, Octopus / If I were thou, I'd call me Us