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Exhibitions

TAREK ABBAR / A CONSTRUCTED WORLD / ROBERTO CODA ZABETTA / GABRIELE DE SANTIS / NICK DEVEREUX / TAMARA HENDERSON / CARLO VALSECCHI / NICO VASCELLARI

On 12 February, in the new space at number 14 Via Rosolino Pilo, we will open Case Chiuse #08, celebrating together with all the artists and other people who have collaborated on this project so far. Case Chiuse #08 also marks the opening of our studio: a physical space, the hub of our activities, which will continue to unfold in respect of the key concepts dear to us: flexibility, experimentation and that search for lightness capable of suspending us – albeit only for a moment – in a not strictly codified time.

Case Chiuse by Paola Clericostarted life in February 2014 as a wandering platform of artistic production. For five years, we devised and staged exhibitions, occupying private and inaccessible places, opening them up to the public for the duration of the exhibition, always staged in close collaboration with artists, galleries and curators who worked at our side with great passion. This ‘wandering’, both physical and mental, proved to be the source of great freedom and inspiration, and will remain a primary connotation of the work of Case Chiuse, both for the projects held in our new space and all those which we shall continue to stage elsewhere. 

Tarek Abbar, A Constructed World, Roberto Coda Zabetta, Gabriele De Santis, Nick Devereux, Tamara Henderson, Carlo Valsecchi and Nico Vascellari have been invited to take part, leaving them complete freedom as far as the proposal of works is concerned. The intention is that of celebrating the work carried out together, without seeking an umbrella title or a common threadAnd so, you are hereby invited to cross the threshold of the new space and let yourselves be taken on a sort of journey where everyone may find his or her own personal narrative.

Like in the previous editions of Case Chiuse, we intervened in the space in Via Rosolino Pilo 14 with minimal technical and functional interventions. This is a precise choice, determined by the desire not to constitute a pre-defined exhibition container, opting instead for a flexible space, adaptable and modifiable on the basis of the needs of the artists and of future projects.

Were there a leitmotiv in all this, I might dare to seek it out in the attempt to redefine our gaze.

Paola Clerico

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Exhibitions

BACK TO COLLAGE / NICK DEVEREUX AND ITALIAN MASTERS OF THE 20TH CENTURY

The collage was a very much loved medium throughout the last century, and one that makes its appearance on the arts scene with Cubism and the Italian Futurists, before being widely adopted also by Dada and the Surrealist movements. The name originates from the French verb coller, and refers to works largely made up of cuttings of paper, newspapers, and photographs laid over a background image with the use of glue. Exploiting the contrast effect, the collage is a useful device for altering a scenario on the basis of given visual contents, like a window looking onto another world. It allows us to compare images from different and distant contexts, offering a simile, a metaphor or a contradiction. 

Ultimately, it is a particular methodological practice, precise but somewhat slow to produce, leading to the creation of new meaning through an element of surprise. 

The collage may often be combined with drawing to give rise to an aesthetic effect, to make the glued part stand out from the background, or to highlight certain elements according to an often playful logic, with a certain disregard for the rules of artistic representation in the traditional sense. 

In Italy in the 1950s, the collage was represented somewhat on the side lines of the art scene, but remained in use with a certain degree of continuity up until the 1980s. 

This exhibition brings together a number of paper collages from the Milanese Ramo Collection (Italian drawings from the 20th century) featuring the recent works of the contemporary artist Nick Devereux, produced by Case Chiuse for this dialogue between past and present, situated on the top floor of the Bosco Verticale, affording an unequalled view of 360 degrees over the city. 

Following the chronology of the works on show, we might start out from the 1954 composition with thousand lire notes by Giulio Turcato (1912-1995) up to the cityscape with crossword skyscrapers of 1962, in the typical style of the advertising production of Pino Pascali (1935-1968). The display then moves on to the powerful red and blue paper with tempera and crayons by Emilio Scanavino (1922-1986) from 1966, followed by his 1968 paper work, in which a printed orange globe stands next to a second glued one, both bearing rapid strokes of black pencil. It is interesting to note how over the same period, the artistic offerings in Italy were highly diverse in terms of both style and content, yet all of great freshness and originality. Around the end of the 1960s, the collage was also to be found in the elaboration of the languages of cinema and photography as in the work of Mario Schifano, who coupled a series of landscapes, like on a storyboard, with his photographs of female nudes, as well as an interior with one of his iconic painted palms. At the same time but in different parts of Italy, the revolutions of other artists were also underway.
In 1969, Bruno Munari (1907-1998) made use of the collage to pay homage to the 19th-century mathematician Giuseppe Peano, who theorised the space- filling curve, providing authentic poetic visions of his favourite geometric pattern. He also produced the Ricostruzione teorica di un oggetto immaginario(1970) with which, starting from residues of paper cuttings, Munari ironically endows the creative process of reuse with scientific clout. Around the same time, Mirella Bentivoglio (1922-2017) paid homage to the theorist of Futurism Tommaso Marinetti with reference to Cartacei, a character from her novel Gli Indomabili, presenting a triangular figure with an egg-head on which an book rests, open downwards. Bentivoglio then makes use of a newspaper cutting, referencing the Cubist and Futurist practice in order to contentiously introduce the theme of consumerism and the housewife, in the work Il cuore della consumatrice obbediente. Cuttings from magazines as miniatures may be found in the Indian ink drawings by Gianfranco Baruchello (1924), offering a proliferation of micro-universes to be explored with a magnifying glass. Strongly material, almost a declination of the principle of chance so much celebrated by the Surrealists, is the work of Roberto Crippa (1921- 1972), in which a piece of found cork bark forms the base for a totem
of cuttings, on which the artist intervenes with light lines of Indian ink that complete the composition. 

Clinically sharp and clean geometric patterns characterise the collage by Giuseppe Uncini (1929-2008), who reasons on the creation of the series titled ‘Ombre’, carried out between 1972 and 1978, imitating the hues
of reinforced concrete in his sculptures. 

In the 1980s, Alighiero Boetti (1940-1994) saw the collage as a way to valorise his beloved theme of the contrast between terms, of the pair of opposite concepts, of which the series I Vedentirepresents an example. In the form of postcards complete with postage stamps, or layered tissue paper in his Eterno dilemma tra contenuti e contenitori(‘Eternal dilemma between contents and containers’) which provides the title for his work, the artist makes an antithetic reference to the perceptive experience of the blind man reading raised letters that form the words ‘I vedenti’ (‘The Sighted’), obtained here with a punch stamp used as a signature which makes holes in the paper. 

A separate reasoning (one which underpins the idea behind this show) may be applied to the three collages by Giulio Paolini (1940) from the 1970s which – with the use of graph paper and the photographed image – identify the work with the elements it is made up of, linked to everyday artistic practices (paper, pencils, the ruler and the camera). In this impetus towards an ideal representational neutrality which does not reflect creative subjectivity, Paolini chooses the square and the rectangle to give life to a kaleidoscopic duplication of images that symbolise a time dimension prior to the work, one that it derives from, in a white, timeless square in a perpetual stage of development. The artwork and photography, as the dominant technology in that given historical moment, are rooted in an ancient archetype of art: drawing. The right hand is photographed while the Polaroid produces a grey reproduction of it; it is surrounded by a white frame, in turn held in the other hand. The left hand of the photographer represents a moment following the image that it is holding. This collage by Paolini (1976) was to become the emblem of the artistic form of the day: already gone in the moment of being visualised and on the way towards its next transformation. 

The collage as a bridge between the past and the future, a moment of space-time passage, is the more profound sense behind this medium, demonstrated also by the work of Nick Devereux. Born in 1978 in Panama and currently resident in London, Devereux has always viewed collage in terms of new birth, representing the necessary input for a new search for meaning. For Devereux, collage means setting off along a new path, yet one mindful of that already travelled. Having used this medium a great deal in the past, the artist evolved his technique, transforming it into a way of thinking beyond the use of glue. These recent works, in fact, feature nothing glued, but they still exploit the same overlapping of images, albeit ones produced by the use of pastel drawing. The collage is therefore present only as a mental procedure which positions his drawings over movie stills featuring artists studios. These references investigate a bourgeois mentality in the 20th century which stereotyped the ‘Bohemian’ life of the artist. In specific terms, Devereux draws inspiration from the British satirical film The Rebel (Call me Genius in the American version), a 1961 comedy featuring the popular actor Tony Hancock. Devereux uses scenes from the studio of the painter playing the lead role in the film, situated right in the heart of the Montmartre neighbourhood and overlays his drawings onto this scene. Like a diorama, he depicts his own wooden sculptures within the set of the film, using the movie’s backdrop like a maquette, resulting in an image that is simultaneously integrated and disassembled. 

The real contents of his studio are thus placed on the stereotyped set of the film, exasperating the contrast between artifice and artistic reality in a sort of matryoshka of meanings. For the exhibition, the artist builds a large- scale installation that choreographs his drawings, paintings and sculptures made of shards of glass within a theatrical arrangement of tulle panels, painted by him to offer a range of chromatic effects. The artist thus paves the way for a second overlaying process: those between the romantic and fabled crucible of artistic creation as found in the comedy film, and the surrounding elements recreated on the basis of his real everyday practices. This display, especially designed to screen and colour the light from the great windows on the 26th floor of the Bosco Verticale features the alternation of his own ideal collages and those of the Italian artists of the last century, providing a prolific stratification of gazes and references. 


Irina Zucca Alessandrelli 

in collaboration with 

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Exhibitions

TAMARA HENDERSON attorno CARLA ACCARDI

I’ve always liked to think that the work of Carla Accardi was a subtle and affectionate shakeup of the male domination of modernist conventions. That her secret mission was to corrupt with great elegance, to push back the boundaries of painting beyond decoration, to tear it off the wall and turn it into a new wall, a mural parade. And that all her research was a serious game with the limits of the picture, tagging and graffitiing the minimalist hoariness of the white cube with fluorescent joy, dismantling the devotion for the ‘room’ with imagery going gleefully beyond convention. Also in this sense, her stance was intensely political.

In perhaps a more extravagant manner, I’ve always imagined that Carla Accardi’s Tendewere expanded films. Only apparently fragile, and worldly filters on the world.

A film is a sentimental mechanism. Absolutely personal and essentially collective, a film motivates, excites, haunts, devastates and stitches together nomadic relationships that then fray, come undone, are woven together once more during every shooting session, only to then get lost and finally reform as archipelagos, taking shape only temporarily and elsewhere. What’s more, it embraces projections, phantoms and potential guests for unexpected cameos.

Despite being the only act of memory possible in all this inexorably communal process, the film inevitably becomes ever more opaque at every step, as if pursuing its own destiny to fall apart. Every time it is shown and made public, it is fatally consumed a little more. 

In other words, an organ in which everything is connected, the networks of which extend far beyond itself and throughout time, like a nervous system without a specific body. 

A film is a world.

Thus is the peculiar world of Tamara Henderson. And Seasons End: Out of Bodyher most splendid manifesto.

How may we describe it and which cinematographic tradition should it be ascribed to? 

Diverse and distant landscape elements are exposed, animated and pursue one another on the basis of choreographies of tone, scent and sound. 

But Seasons End: Out of Bodyis undoubtedly also the conclusion of an remarkable work cycle that has appeared in various forms and media (installations, sculptures, paintings, imposing garments, a performance that hides its shooting on a movie set unaware of being one, the film itself, …), in Glasgow, Los Angeles, London, Oaksville, London again and lastly Dublin. Yet this apparently eccentric journey through time and space is above all a homage, a splendid and haunting personal monument to life, death, healing and regeneration. 

And so in the end it needs to be looked at, like a rite in which wind, sea, ice vapour, sky, moon, sand, rocks, land, lichens, trilobites, figs, algae, toads, cacti, flowers, scarecrows, creatures, animals, and body parts seem to appear one after another following a free personal score, one that is associative and perhaps diaristic, but which in actual fact is carefully put together. 

Despite the fact that it’s possible to see it dance in the long trail of a kind of cinema of surrealist extraction and gently forced by artists such as Maya Deren, Marie Menken, Jack Smith and Joan Jonas, Seasons End: Out of Bodyis an absolutely unique work which intertwines profoundly in the wide-reaching practices of Tamara Henderson.

This is discovered by crossing an initial environment hosting drawings, paintings and four curtains by Tamara Henderson herself, as well as a sophisticated cameo by Carla Accardi in the form of paintings.  

Only by manually drawing open two curtains may we penetrate the secret cinema, illuminated by the mysterious animal parade of Seasons End: Out of Body

In actual fact, the world is the same.

Be it one of paintings, of assemblages, of sculptures, of pieces of furniture, of fabrics or of films, Tamara’s world never gives up on itself, but rather it contracts and expands, reconfiguring itself time after time.

Undoubtedly, the automatic writing and a deep-rooted dialogue with the dreamy universe of surrealist extraction, just like the collage technique (many canvases are literally impregnated with natural elements or host objects of various origin), are certainly substantial.

But while drawing and poetry are Tamara’s founding arts, sewing seems to offer the reinvented knowledge that stiches together every element, bringing together cellulose film montage with the actual sewing of fabrics destined to be recombined in a vast range of personal forms, such as rolls of drawings that become canvases, canvases that take on the shape of clothes, paintings that are reinvented as curtains… as if the nonlinear extrusion from one work to another, from one element to another were the bizarre performative and generative principle that makes Tamara’s creative world go round.

And in this sense, the fragility of the film and the necessary obsolescence of the paintings ally with one another, in a dilated process of falling apart, of decay and obsolescence which, in actual fact, is nothing but radiant transformation and regeneration.

Seasons End: Out of Bodysounds like a title, a verse, a warning, but also like an exorcism.

Seasons End: Out of Body, out/Seasons Begin: Into the Body, in. 

The ritual of transformation and alteration of state out of time may begin.

The invitation is to let oneself go and perceive, follow each image on canvas as if it were still impregnated with the sounds from which it comes. All around – canvases, paintings, curtains – it will start to feel like an unusual abstract expanded film.

The perception of time and that of the particular time of each element will play off one another.

The echo of the litany of Seasons End: Out of Bodymay start to sound out.

Ashes are the most gracious and haunting dancing element that unites earth, sea and sky.

Let us celebrate them.

Andrea Lissoni

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Exhibitions

A CONSTRUCTED WORLD / IF YOU DON’T WANT TO WORK WITH US WE’LL WORK WITH YOU

Case Chiuse #05 is happy to present and host the new work of A Constructed World in the Elettrauto space in Turin during the days of Artissima. 

If you don’t want to work with us we’ll work with you is an ambulant time-based work based on the inclusion of others in the production and reception of A Constructed World’s practice. 

The project involves the recruitment of collectors for the acquisition of A Constructed World’s artworks, multiples, archival works, documents and publications. Two separate positions are open, with detailed job descriptions: one for emerging collectors and one for established collectors. The descriptions outline the specifications, skills and commitments required to fulfil these roles, seeing successful applicants as participants or collaborators. 

Successful applicants will be required to adhere to a contractual agreement, drawn up by A Constructed World’s international lawyer, Roger Ouk, translated and verified under Italian law by an international Italian law firm. The contract makes the relations between successful applicants and the artists binding and ensures that for example, both parties adhere to scheduled studio visits, Skype meetings and dinners with the artists, as well as acquisitions by collectors and incentives from A Constructed World. 

Following the Case Chiuse #05 project, during Artissima, the Cneai Art Centre in Paris will introduce If you don’t want to work with us we’ll work with you, with a roundtable event and presentation of the project to prospective applicants. 

This work does not seek to formalise a commercial gallery sale, with the gallery acting as the recruiter and the collector signing a contract as an aspect of the sale. This project seeks collectors who may not yet know they are collectors and collectors who are able to see their role in relation to a different economy, not at all related to offshore storage, auction houses and exclusivity. This project seeks to broaden the range of how works might be collected and to develop the relationship between the artist and the patron / the producer and the consumer. 

Successful applicants – collectors – will not only be required to meet with the artists, but they will also be required to keep an account of these interactions by producing memo-style documents, or minutes of their meetings, any format suitable to, what will finally be, a civic work of collection. These documents will represent discussions, ideas, after-thoughts and the collectors own research that might reflect on and re-draw the roles and repertoire of producer and consumer. 

Prospective collectors will show an expression of interest during events at Case Chiuse #05 and will then be interviewed by A Constructed World at designated times and locations during Artissima. The artists anticipate offering a total of six positions, perhaps four for emerging collectors and two for established collectors. 

Case Chiuse and A Constructed World acknowledge the support of Société Lutèce Turin, the Australia Council for the Arts, Ilaria Bonacossa director of Artissima, Sylvie Boulanger director of the CNEAI, and the Associated Law Firm Simmons & Simmons LLP. 

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Exhibitions

GABRIELE DE SANTIS

Gabriele De Santis offers an incursion into the iconography of the present, addressing his research to the language, the symbols, the aesthetic of contemporaneity. In his work the artist carries the lexicon that accompanies us on a daily basis, putting into place a sharp and charming portrait of our time. 

A poetic made of logos, popular brands, symbols borrowed by the digital communication, of puns and rebus, but also appropriations of that conceptual history of art which paved the way to a different use of the word, the act of vision and the interpretative possibilities offered by the artistic gesture. Gabriele De Santis bravely calls into question the codes and the raw material which surround us every day, the one on which our time runs and the knowledge on which our relationships are based: a rephrasing of a system, the construction of an iconography where there is no longer difference between high and popular culture, where the contemporaneity is told and candidly revealed in its more subtle essence. 

In via Melzo 5, Milan, following the flight of a parrot, we enter Casa Vautrin/ Vudafieri where new works and installations by Gabriele De Santis will surprise you. The parrot will invade the courtyard and the domestic environment in a game of exchanging atmospheres, moods and languages. The communication, the beauty, the irony, the capability of talking without thinking, the act of repetition and imitation, all characteristics of this bird, are borrowed by the artist, employed as a metaphor of the present.
At the end of March in the heart of Milan a private space will offer a new immersive dimension: bizzarre and unusual, surely out of the ordinary. A migration of voices, symbols, legends will cross on a temporary and free ground, a lived location, transformed in evocative for the occasion, a space that invites one to be playful, in which one can let himself go, and follow the free and borderless flight of this magic and mysterious creature that was so often of inspiration for storytelling and past mythology and that keeps exerting a particular charm on collective imaginary.

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Exhibitions

NICO VASCELLARI

In “The Concept of Action in Painting”, Harold Rosenberg maintains that art, as an action engaging the subject in its totality, “does not originate from proper reasoning but from the contradictions of reason through the ambiguities of a metaphor.” These words offer a synthetic and sharp interpretation of the work of Nico Vascellari and, most notably, they explain the process of his intervention for this exhibition in the garden of Casa Bonacossa, in Milan, where the work, as it is often the case, becomes embodied meaning and makes the visible a metaphor of an ‘other’ space. 

The artistic research of Nico Vascellari begins with music, expands through performance and comes down to art by connecting often diverse areas of knowledge in an instinctive, but at the same time, deeply conscious manner. His action is fueled by the eagerness to probe the deepest side of the human being, to establish a relation between the intimate space of memory and emotions and the physicality of materials, to subvert the visual field and the forms of knowledge generating multiple possibilities of interpretation. 

Nico Vascellari offers no answers. On the contrary, his artistic action keeps questioning his own practice in order to overturn the rules of the game. Choosing at will among different expressive media, he claims out loud his total freedom of action beyond preset borders and languages, specious citations, and trite formulas. 

By entering the garden of Casa Bonacossa, in via Necchi 14, Nico Vascellari collapses the difference between exterior/natural space and interior/domestic space. The interior of the house is inaccessible to the public, yet it becomes an integral part of the outdoor site-specific installation. 

The sense of estrangement, which Vascellari is fond of, is further increased by the intervention on the nature of the spring landscape that projects the viewer into a paradoxical, dreamlike temporality. The course is shaped like a treasure hunt that refers to either burial rites and the archetypal experience of returning bodies to the earth. 

Besides the site-specific installations, in the garden there is also an intimate, biographic work inspired by the loss of the Vascellaris’ dog. In the artist’s words: “after caring for it until its death, it was all about what to do next: a burial in the mountains or rather cremation so as to prevent boars or other animals from eating the remains.” In the end, the dog was cremated but the the artist remained convinced that it would have been better to bury the dog in the land where it had spent all its life and that being eaten up by boars or worms would not have changed the experience of death, actually it would have been a more natural return to earthly elements. The thought of this cremation persisted in the mind of Vascellari who began a new series of bronze sculptures that combine burial and cremation rituals. He collected dead animals found during his solitary walks in the woods and cast them directly in bronze without making a mold. These sculptures, which the artist describes as “classic”, express the same vital and exuberant energy we experience during his performances. The naturalness of the animal is almost frozen, or rather suspended in an undefinable temporality that is connected to some untranslatable origin, something primeval like the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii. These works condense the generating energy of nature and the endless motion of evolution. 

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Exhibitions

ALDO MONDINO / TAREK ABBAR

The works of Aldo Mondino on view at Via Anfiteatro were made in 1961 and belong to the artist’s first period in Paris. They are large works on paper, rich in color and movement, still bearing traces of the Surrealist aesthetic – especially the influence of Tancredi, for whom Aldo worked as an assistant. These youthful works represent the prelude to the Tavole Anatomiche shown in 1963 at Galleria il Punto in Turin. 

For Mondino, the Tavole Anatomiche are metaphors of the crisis of contemporary society, described through the organs of the human body; a sort of inner mapping of the organism obtained through a tangle of quick brushstrokes in vibrant tones. It is in these early works that Mondino starts to translate abstract concepts into tangible symbols. Far from any pedagogical content, never dogmatic or ideological, Mondino – from the start of the 1960s – combines serious political engagement and subversive intent with the lightness of play and wit. He always acts in total freedom, but with pondered awareness, driven by the deep intellectual urge to make truth emerge. 

The works of Tarek Abbar are also drawings on paper in large format, and represent the cartographic aspect of his fictional political project ZATO. Maps traced with obsessive, painstaking care in black ink, alternating with patches of red, where unidentifiable landscape features and buildings infinitely repeat and multiply. Like Mondino’s drawings, these are “first works”, since they are shown in public here for the first time. 

ZATO is a Russian acronym, the abbreviation for “Closed Administrative Territorial Formations”: secret Soviet cities, centers of aerospace research or fabrication of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons; nameless settlements that can be located on maps only by knowing the number of miles between them and the nearest city.
Tarek Abbar inserts play and overturns history catapulting us into an unspecified time in which Japan, instead of opening to the West, enters into political and trade relations with Russia. Absorbed into the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union, the Japanese archipelago is transformed into a cluster of ZATOs and industrial collectives: Abbar’s urban maps bear witness to this imaginary Edo-Real-Socialist epoch. In these delirious metropolitan landscapes done in Yamato-e style and without real geographical references, the disorienting alternation of aerial and frontal views warps distances and blurs visual clarity. 

The works of Aldo Mondino and Tarek Abbar, though very different in formal terms, meet and interpenetrate at Via Anfiteatro due to the conceptual premises behind their respective researches: the serious, profound observation of reality; the love of travel seen as pursuit of the elsewhere; political commitment tempered by a playful approach and subtle irony; a pure gaze that captures amazement and wonder – everything that, to sum things up, can be defined as enrichment through flights of the imagination. Observing the anatomical charts of Mondino and the imaginary maps of Abbar, I couldn’t help but think of Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott. 

Reverend Abbott speaks to us of a similar enrichment through fantasy and imagination, describing Flatland as a State inhabited only by flat geometrical figures: lines, triangles, squares and polygons that move on a two-dimensional plane and exist inside the rigid order of a suffocating structure. They cannot even conceive of a third dimension, nor are they able to expand their visual perspective on reality. Flatland is thus the metaphor of the flatness and rigor of the Victorian social structure, narrated with masterful irony. 

Abbar’s cityscapes also narrate a flatness, a two-dimensional condition that links up with the Japanese Yamato-e pictorial style. Yet, by contrast, they also evoke the three-dimensional character of our cities, the complexity of the world around us, the depth of a carefully studied and balanced Invention. Likewise, the flat Tavole Anatomiche of Mondino allude to the movement and multi- dimensional nature of our emotions – to the stereoscopic configuration of our inner world. 

Like Abbott, Abbar and Mondino criticize with wit. Tarek deforms the view of our reality through a fantastic political fable; Mondino, nearsighted throughout his life, never wore glasses. Through their works – and the imaginative force of an “other” gaze – they permit us to dream, to access an extraordinary vision. And to further multiply that vision, I have asked Federico Florian to write a story about the meeting of Abbar and Mondino in the Casa Chiusa of Via Anfiteatro. 

Paola Clerico 



Japan, 1963. 

Smoke from the chimney hovers around the buildings in this concrete forest. They rise like tall trees, age-old cement oaks. Rays of sunlight cannot penetrate the jungle of towers; the feeble light that filters to the lower levels fades in contact with the greasy clouds of soot. 

This city has no name. Some call it Kamakura98. A massive iron wall surrounds the inhabited area. No one is allowed to enter or exit the gates of the city – that is the law of the State. The labyrinth of streets skirts the perimeter of buildings, forming a twisting maze. There are no squares, no gardens: the only open space not suffocated by the concrete of the houses is the pier of the military port. The residents call this area Iki, “breath”. From here, amidst the moored ships, it is possible to make out the bay in its entirety. Turning by 180 degrees, one sees the white triangle of Mt. Fuji peacefully poking over the summits of the skyscrapers. 

Luminous red stars – bloodied by sudden electrical discharges – punctuate the towers and the upper levels of the buildings. Enormous murals with hammers and sickles adorn the walls of certain edifices. In the exact center of the metropolis, on a hill, stands an imposing construction, similar to a Shinto sanctuary. Looking closely, it can be seen to be an observation tower. No religion is allowed at Kamakura98 – the only shared faith is that of technological progress. 

The inhabitants – whose physiognomy blends Russian and Japanese features – are sworn to secrecy and subjected to rigid surveillance. Citizens of a phantom settlement not found on geographical maps, they lead an existence devoted to labor. Among them there are engineers, scientists, mathematicians and laborers; during the day they work in underground offices, nuclear power plants, suspended factories, guided by a common goal: the scientific progress of the Confederacy. 

The Government monitors, hour after hour, the lives of the citizens of Kamakura98. To communicate, those citizens use an official vocabulary composed of just 999 words. It is forbidden to use foreign terms or suspect words. The Department of Communication of the Central Government has been developing a program of linguistic cleansing for several years now. The aim is to erase from the memory of inhabitants all words with an equivocal or ambiguous meaning, which would make them potentially dangerous. Violators are subjected to severe punishments. Some say that a small group of citizens communicates through telepathy – a practice that would permit escape from the absolute control of the State, for those capable of using it. 

The inhabitants of this city are not able to express their emotions, either through words or through gestures. Displays of affection or despair like smiles, tears and shouts are forbidden. Though lacking in any sentimental education, the citizens of Kamakura98 produce emotional tablets every day – figurative representations of their inner passions. The upheavals and tensions of mood are illustrated through lively colors, tangles of lines, quick brushstrokes. On odd-number days of each month they usually gather on the Iki, at sunset, to exchange their drawings. It is precisely here, in this windy place embraced by the sea, that affinities, friendships and love affairs begin, but also hostilities, fears and jealousies. This is the only form of post-verbal communication the Central State permits for the inhabitants of Kamakura98. We have had a chance to see some specimens of these tablets, buried amidst the stones of the pier of the military port. 

Federico Florian 

Case Chiuse#02 – in collaboration with Archivio Aldo Mondino, Milan 

Lightning by Luceplan 

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Exhibitions

ROBERTO CODA ZABETTA / CARLO VALSECCHI

The exhibition comes with no title. The many titles I thought of, I ruled them all out. The one I was the most reluctant to dismiss was “pas de deux”: a term I especially cherish because it is used in ballet to indicate two dancers performing steps together. The image of the dancers moving in sync would have worked well to illustrate and express both the methodological and artistic reciprocity between Roberto Coda Zabetta and Carlo Valsecchi. 

Yet, it was clear right away that this vision was incomplete, unfinished. I was well aware that the “pas de deux” image raised misleading issues but, as I strived to let it go, it kept coming back, unrelentingly. I was stranded. This sense of distress came to an end when I realized that this metaphor had caused a short circuit in my stream of thought bringing back memories, images, and texts about dance from the last century. Modern and contemporary dance established itself as an autonomous art with its own identity. Dance as a way of thinking space, the body, humankind and their mutual exchanges. Dance as an anti-dualist art, as a transcendental experience that deconstructs the real by reaching the shifting grounds of being and making intelligible one of the infinite possible visions of the non-visible. 

In the 20th century, self-referential practice and its process of self- interrogation hold sway in both art and dance. Art becomes the search of its own essence. 

All this allowed to look at the new works by Coda Zabetta and Valsecchi, showed at Garage Soccol, from another point of view. 

Like dance, these works are atemporal and a-spatial as much as they evoke time and space. They bring up a fluid, undetermined temporality and speak about a space that cannot be defined because it is not made just of parallels and abscissae, but has circular, centrifugal, and centripetal movements that endow it with a strong three-dimensional connotation. 

Like a ballet coreography, these works are a sequence of windows opened on the movement and transformation of matter beyond matter; multiple and undefined visions of worlds and of the particles of possible worlds that bestow vision upon the non-visible. Italo Calvino’s words on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, from his Six Memos for the Next Millennium, come to my mind: “the knowledge of the world tends to dissolve the solidity of the world”.

In the same way as technical mastery is, for a dancer, just a means that must be transcended to communicate beyond the body, in these works technique is applied in the most rigorous way and pushed to its limits until it fades aways. The vision evoked in the mental space, forced by the subtractive process, eventually reveals its naturalness beneath the gestural laboriousness. 

Through their subtractive process, Roberto Coda Zabetta and Carlo Valsecchi make their language lighter and create space. They leave room for something open to happen. They do not seek the presence but the atmosphere, and the manifold occasions that convene and compete therein. 

Paola Clerico

Categories
Exhibitions

NICK DEVEREUX / FLAKTURM

Dear Paola, 

We spoke before about the large scale work called Flakturm I’m working on – the reconstruction of the Friedrichshain ‘flakturm’ destroyed in Berlin at the end of World War II . This was a gun tower where a series of important paintings had been moved from the Kaiser Friedrich Museum for safekeeping. The collection, documented in a series of 417 black and white photos, was destroyed in a fire in May 1945 during bombings by the allied forces. All the paintings were destroyed. I have been using the photos to make a ‘compressed’ version of the tower and it’s collection. 

The final work will be monumental in proportions – 16 three metre wide oil canvases supported by a wooden scaffolding structure to make an octagonal tower. There are several stages of preparatory drawings, collages and sculptures through which I have been developing the paintings, and I think it would be interesting to work together and present the project at this point in its evolution. The collages have an interesting dimension to them – you feel the flatness of the illusion, as well as the sense of the object in the layering of the paper. They are preparatory works but have certain qualities not present in the final works, so an interesting introduction to the project. 

To make the process clear: 

I have archived the original photos into categories of subject matter and composition, then reassembled them into collages. These collages conserve aspects of the original works while obfuscating the representation within the images. They are subsequently translated into sculptural dioramas from which the large format works derive. 

The final result will be both imposing and intimate. The structure acts as a monument to the destruction of the original masterpieces while the function of the architectural form is to intensify the psychological effect of the works by physically immersing the viewer within the illusionary potential of the work. 

As you know my work often develops on the idea of readdressing images that no longer exist in their original state, but that have been documented visually or orally. I think it would be great to work together in presenting the process involved in this kind of research, where the relation between original and copy is at its rawest, as a prologue to the final work. 

Look forward to hearing your thoughts. 

Nick