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Exhibitions

GIULIO SCALISI / LIKE A TRUE GENTLEMAN

Playing with characters, environments or different time settings,
I shift certain elements of our reality, while maintaining others,
to create a window on a possible, yet absurd, but still
frightening, because it’s almost believable, parallel world.
I believe that it’s at the brink of contradiction, that
someone can decide what it’s true for themselves.
Giulio Scalisi
 

Case Chiuse HQ presents Like a True Gentleman, the solo show by Giulio Scalisi in collaboration with Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon.

The exhibition revolves around A House for a Gentleman, the video work in CGI that tells the story of a day in the life of a man, set in a dystopian not-so-distant future: 2048. On entering, we find ourselves in Paul the protagonist’s world, where certain elements of the display reflect his home. We hear his dialogues and his thoughts, from which the various contradictions of our own era emerge. Introspection and irony thus constitute the distorting lens through which Scalisi explores our own society.
Paul lives on an Earth where the air no longer contains enough oxygen and, just like the rest of humanity, he is forced to spend most of his time indoors. Isolated and sealed in, at the same time he is observed by pervasive and taming forms of technology. This is the channel via which the outside world flows inward, from reality to social media, from interpersonal relationships to work and so on.

Paul: To wish for the unexpected in an
airlock chamber is a losing game.

The video ends where the exhibition starts. The first room displays a series of fifteen portraits of Paul, attributed to his lovers, whom he leaves with no apparent sense of remorse, ‘like a true gentleman.’ From the story, the fragility of the individual due to a lack of social interaction and contact with reality becomes evident. In order to escape his sense of alienation, Paul feeds his obsession with the representation and elaboration of his own image, expressing it through his portraits or selfies on social media, feasting on the serotonin boost given by the likes received. The portraits show a clear need to be seen1 and at the same time represent a tool of investigation of the personality, revealing its complexity2 while strengthening a sense of vanity. There is something playful and romantic about toying with one’s own image3, and this circulation fuels an economy of affection, of self-spectacularisation.The transformation of the concept of the individual, which began in the XX century, driven by social, cultural and gender forces, it is a consequence of the ever-changing dimension of the subject.Indeed, one portrait is never the same as another, and Paul’s, preserved meticulously in plastic envelopes, serve as a tangible testimony of his own existence.

Paul: They pay their toll [with a portrait], and
I’m reminded that I exist outside of my own perception.
But sometimes, to their eyes, I look like that man in my mind.
I hate that.

Moving on to the second room, we come to another element of the story: The Obelisk. It’s a dick-shaped modular living solution available in various sizes. The home and its interiors have always reflected the aspirations of its occupants, of their position in relation to the society they live in and how they wish to appear.6
Like in a real estate showroom, the space features posters from the advertising campaign, complete with a 3D model, designed to explain to future homeowners the efficiency of The Obelisk and its ability to provide oxygen. Each building is equipped with HOME: the virtual and omnipresent assistant constantly connected to its inhabitant, which assists, regulates, advises, foresees and oversees every possible action. It’s an artificial super-intelligence developed by Sunjob: the tech company that Paul works for, and as is often the case, it’s a technology that alters our behavior and the way we relate to reality.
The poster Do yourself a favor on the other hand explains the serious risks involved in outdoor living. It’s clear how humanity has failed to stop the climate crisis and that major corporations have gained the upper hand. 

HOME: It’s strongly recommended to not leave the house
without an oxygen mask. If you need anything from outside is
suggested to ask for a delivery or to schedule for
one of the many transportation solutions.

The inhabitants of this Earth are not allowed to freely explore the outside world, but even the virtual world they have access to – the metaverse – has its own rules and restrictions.
In addition to HOME, Sunjob has also developed a self-censorship system: SOMA. It’s an AI which intervenes in everything users do on the internet. SOMA regulates, alters and in some cases even censors all the contents put online at the source. This creates a sort of normalised and sterilised communication designed to protect the sensitivities of a global usership.

You don’t even know what you are talking about
when you have a machine talking for you!

The only way out of this control society is to disconnect all the virtual assistants and enter the dark web, where self-censorship is not applied and thought is free, but where conspiracy theories run amok. The protagonist follows one of these theories, according to which the need to breathe is the result of a mental conditioning carried out by doctors at birth. This sect, through practices of meditative apnea, encourages its followers to break away from the limitations imposed by nature so as to finally become free human beings.

Why must we breathe
when there’s no longer oxygen in the air? (…)
Why do babies cry when they start breathing? (…)
Do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Sunjob, Damazon, Babel, Supple
and many others — the corrupt masters.
Whoever controls the oxygen supplies rules this great land.

With this exhibition, Giulio Scalisi further develops his research into the mechanisms underpinning Western society. Through a process of deconstruction, simplification and emphasis, he reformulates the alphabet of a possible future scenario, and captures the innate voyeuristic curiosity that we all share and that amuses us so as to spy on a day in Paul’s life. The result is a short circuit between the comical and the tragic. On one hand, we cannot but laugh at the idea of living in a dick-shaped house, while on the other, we cannot but empathise with the way he lives, in a dystopian reminiscence of our own era.


A very special thanks to Charlie Vezza, for the loan of the Tahiti lamp (Memphis Milano, Ettore Sottsass, 1981), and to Alberta Romano / Kunsthalle Lissabon.


1 JM. Prévost “Il bisogno di essere visti ” in Dancing with Myself, Punta della Dogana, Venice, exhibition catalog edited by M. Bethenod and F. Ebner, Marsilio Editori, Venice, 2018, p. 64. 
2 Melissa Harris “Role Play”, leaflet the exhibition at Osservatorio, Fondazione Prada, Milan, 2022, p. 2.
3 M. Bethenod and F. Ebner “Dancing with Myself in Venice”, ivi, 2018, p. 18.
JM. Prévost, 2018, p. 64. | M. Bethenod and F. Ebner, 2018, p. 18.
D. Schreiber “At the Edge of the World. Privacy and Publicity in the Art of the Interior” in Homebase. The Interior in Contemporary Art, exhibition catalog edited by H. Zilch and L. Seyfarth, Kerber Art, Bielefeld and Berlin, 2016, p. 189.

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Exhibitions

TOMASO DE LUCA / SOMETHING OUT OF IT

We are happy to announce our collaboration with LIAF — Lofoten International Art Festival for the production of Something Out of Ita preview exhibition opening in conjunction with the 59th Venice Biennale. Curated by Italian duo Francesco Urbano RagazziSomething Out of It has been conceived as a precursory exploration of the curatorial themes set for the 30th anniversary of LIAF, temporarily uprooted from Lofoten Islands in the Arctic circle to the Venetian lagoon. The project will take place in two venues: a private palazzo and the parlour of a functioning women’s prison.


TOMASO DE LUCA                                                 
Case Chiuse # 15 by Paola Clerico
Location: Casa Venezia
Calle Seconda dei Orbi, 5201 Castello, Venice, Italy.
Opening days: April 18–24, 2022, from 10am to 6pm

In the Castello district Something Out of It  breaks into a domestic environment. The courtyard of Casa Venezia, residence of the collectors Massimo Adario and Dimitri Borri, hosts a new exhibition by Tomaso De Luca (Verona, Italy, 1988), produced in partnership with Case Chiuse by Paola Clerico.
Winner of the 2021 MAXXI Bvlgari Prize, De Luca continues his investigation into the crisis of modernism – as the promise of a functional life for all – and processes of gentrification, linked to socio-natural phenomenons, such as the AIDS epidemic or the most recent climate change.
Consisting of sculptures, photography and a video, the installation debunks the myth of comfort, transforming the house into a treacherous place. Furniture and everyday items are transformed into potentially lethal traps — the activation of such traps being shown through a visual grammar that is both threatening and comical. 
De Luca’s project is inspired by a news story. In February 2019 in Philadelphia, a real estate developer escaped a guillotine device, hidden in one of his properties and designed to kill him.
The artist links this news event to the consequences of climatic gentrification that is sweeping the American city. The violent act is read as an extreme and desperate attempt to resist increasingly brutal economic dynamics.

Video Tomaso De Luca, Desperate Times, 2022
video color, sound, loop, 16’35”
Camera Luigi Ciccaglione, Primo De Santis
Editing Luigi Ciccaglione
Cinematography and Color Grading Primo De Santis
Music and Sound Naemi


PAULINE CURNIER JARDIN
Location: Casa di Reclusione Femminile (women’s prison) Giudecca, 712, 30133 Venice, Italy.
Opening: April 19, 2022, from 5 to 7:30pm. 
Mandatory registrationLIAF@margaretlondon.com 

Something Out of It unveils also a permanent communal installation by artist Pauline Curnier Jardin (Marseille, France 1980) in collaboration with the inmates of the Casa di Reclusione Femminile della Giudecca, an Italian women’s prison located in the former monastery of the Convertite where around 60 inmates now live. Curnier Jardin will reimagine the prison parlour room that connects the women’s prison to the outside world, transforming it into a ritualistic space for meaningful encounters. 


For press inquiries please contact: 
Maddalena Bonicelli maddalena.bonicelli@gmail.com
Grace Gabriele-Tighe grace@margaretlondon.com
Sofia Desbois sofia@margaretlondon.com
Press Kit

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Exhibitions

GAIA FUGAZZA / A FOOL WITH A TOOL


“Who walks on two, three and four legs?” asked the Sphinx at the entrance to Thebes. The question remains open.
Should we answer “a chair” or “a table,” the beast would certainly be at our throat in no time. We might then venture to attribute the three qualities to her, the Sphinx herself, emphasising a certain versatility with regard to her use of limbs: versatility being common to certain animal and vegetable beings, as well as to the divine. However, this kind of association would risk incurring the wrath of the Sphinx with equally lethal consequences.
Let us avoid calling other species into question. Oedipus’s solution proves to be the most obvious and convincing: the only possible solution, the only one contemplated by the enigma. A human enigma for humans to which there is no other answer but humankind.
Perhaps the real mystery lies here. How can we look at the world from a non-human perspective? How can we understand it from outside our own condition and position?
The words, these words, suggest we remain perpetually trapped in our Anthropocene. That we continue to apply human categories to everything around us, also and even more so when we try to listen to the voice of plants and the thoughts of animals, or when we become attached to a necklace, a cross or a painting. Moved by affection, exoticism, curiosity, mystique, possession and territoriality, or simply out of laziness, we inevitably act within the confines of our language, of our human domain.

A Fool with a Tool, the solo exhibition by Gaia Fugazza in Milan for Case Chiuse HQ, sidesteps the riddle of the Sphinx and sinks into another level of language: that of the body. A body materialised through painting, finding images to fill out once more amid lines and pigments. […]

Full text is available for download >>
by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi

Gaia Fugazza (Milan 1985) lives and works in London. Her practice includes paintings and performance, exploring the troubled relationship of humans and the natural environment, plant knowledge, reproduction and transcendental practices. Solo and duo exhibitions of Fugazza’s work have been held at Richard Saltoun, London; Häusler Contemporary, Zurich; Zabludowicz Collection, London; Gallleriapiù, Bologna. Recent performances include Transcendence, Royal Academy of Arts, London; Super Nature in two Parts, Lisson Gallery, London; Baltic Triennial 13, South London Gallery, London; Star Messenger, LUX, London; Water from the Waist Down, Kunsthall Oslo. Her work has been featured in several Biennales and institutional shows such as the 13 Baltic Triennal, Glasstress, Venice; Mediterranea, Milan; The London Open, Whitechapel Gallery; Hrm 199 Ltd, Tinguely Museum, Basel. Fugazza collaborates with other artists and curators to create alternative ways to present works such as the furniture line with Assemble, the web-site Post from the first Lockdown, the party My Night of Unlimited Favour and Grandine the exhibition program that she hosts in her studio.

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Exhibitions

BARBARA KASTEN

The magic I see in photography is how a real object could become another reality on paper. It is so much more direct than an interpretation. The viewer makes the connections. It is an illusion when printed on paper, but it is not an illusion when I am in the set moving the pieces around.

Barbara Kasten, excerpt from Interconnectedness of All Things in conversation with Andreas Beitin, 2019

Barbara Kasten was born in Chicago in 1936, but moved to Arizona where she graduated in painting and later in Sculptural Textile Design at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California. In the late 60s and early 70s she spent time in Poland studying sculpture, and then in Germany where she became particularly interested in the theories of Modernism, Constructivism and the Bauhaus movement. During this period, she expanded her research into the themes of space and architecture, as well as exploring the importance of experimentation and interdisciplinarity. In 1973, she returned to the United States and settled in Los Angeles, the hub of the Light and Space Movement, which also had a great influence on her research. She began to work with photography and, having no specific training, experimented in total freedom developing a particular approach, closer to the one of the painter or sculptor.

Right from her first photographic works, a series of cyanotypes, Barbara Kasten moved away from the pure representation of reality. She began to investigate the structure and perception of space as well as the interaction between two- and three-dimensionality, the physical qualities of materials and the incidence of light. Since the 1970s she has designed and built large sculptural installations in her studio, inspired by the Bauhaus methodology. She assembles industrial and recycled materials in keeping with the Constructivist canon, while relying on the powerful spatial ambiguity offered by photography. In this creative process, the shot is taken only after a long process of repositioning the elements on the basis of the light and its reflections. We can just imagine this sort of dance performed by the artist moving on and off the set, shifting lights, plasterboard or Plexiglas panels, screens, columns, mirrors, tables, chairs and other elements. Her aim is to make the most of both roles – that of set creator and photographer – on both sides of the camera, which unlike the composition before it, is never moved and is always strictly analogue.

All her photographic works, both those created in the studio and those shot inside iconic buildings, derive from this careful and complex performative interdisciplinarity, in which photography, painting, sculpture and architecture all converge. In order to obtain an image through the composition of three-dimensional objects, the artist applies a sort of dematerialisation of the object, flattening it into photographic two-dimensionality. The work thus undergoes an alteration, a transience that evokes the perspective-spatial clarity of the initial arrangement, distorting space thanks to the use of mirrors or transparent surfaces and their intrinsic ability to direct light. Indeed, for Barbara Kasten, light has always been the most important element. Its function is to bring sets to life, cast shadows, make the surfaces of materials vibrate, and it is thus the primary means by which she transforms reality.

Case Chiuse HQ, in collaboration with Bortolami Gallery, New York, and Kadel Willborn Gallery, Düsseldorf, presents a selection of Constructs, large-format Polaroids the artist worked on between 1979 and 1986; three silver gelatin print from the Double Negative series, 2012–2016; and two large works, Collision 122(2019) and Transposition 12 (2014), both salt-sensitive chromogenic prints. All the works in the exhibition underline the continuity in her research, one in which the shapes and dimensions of the objects, the scale and the three-dimensionality of the original installation are completely transfigured in the photographic image, revealing itself to our eyes as an abstract ‘construction’. 

Barbara Kasten has been using abstraction for fifty years to create new models of interpretation of reality, questioning the very perceptive ability of the viewer. Asking for attention in the act of looking in order to perceive even what is ignored is actually the political message underlying her work.


Barbara Kasten was born in 1936 in Chicago where she lives and works. She graduated in 1959 from the University of Arizona and in 1970 from the California College of Arts and Crafts, obtaining a scholarship in sculpture from the Poznań academy, Poland. Major international institutions hosted her solo exhibitions, among the most recent: Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2020); MOCA Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood (2016); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Art Museum The Graham Foundation, in occasion of Chicago Biennial (2015); ICA Philadelphia, Philadelphia; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe; Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; MoMa, New York (2014); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; MCA Chicago, Chicago (2013); Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington. Her works are part of important collections such as: MoMA, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute, Chicago; Smithsonian Art Museum, Washington; MOCA, Los Angeles; Tate Modern, London.

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Exhibitions

ABRIGO DE LUZ / Alejandro Corujeira con una scintilla di Giorgio Griffa

Case Chiuse HQ presents Abrigo de Luz, the first Italian exhibition by Alejandro Corujeira who, in turn, invited Giorgio Griffa to join him.
At the beginning of our dialogue with Corujeira, we asked which Italian artist he particularly admired. Without a moment’s hesitation he told us with deep awareness of the work of Giorgio Griffa, who accepted the invitation to participate with a “spark”: a canvas of 1970. 

Corujeira’s abstraction is balanced and deeply pondered. The artist’s complex and delicate process engages with pure painting, drawing, literature, poetry, music, numbers, dreams, memory and science.
Combining pencil, graphite, acrylic, watercolour, the artist’s sinuous lines undulate and intersect over fields of colour forms and cellular silhouettes. Corujeira fills the canvas through layers of semi-transparent paint, giving geometric forms and colours a weightless nature. With these few elements, his work successfully captures a never-ending sense of rhythmic and palpitating movement, inviting the viewer to live an experience of absolute contemplation.

Case Chiuse by Paola Clerico thank Cecilia Brunson Projects, London, for the precious collaboration and Archivio Giorgio Griffa, Turin, for the brilliant participation.

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Exhibitions

NATÁLIA TREJBALOVÁ / About Mirages and Stolen Stones

About Mirages and Stolen Stones is a video in three acts by Natália Trejbalová. The artist brings the viewer to some remote landscapes between her studio and the end of the world. The borders one sees from frame to frame belong to a land that is mysteriously getting flat: our land, Mother Earth, as seen from a screen.
Embracing the paradoxes of Flat-Earth Theories and those of the two-dimensional representation of physical space, Trejbalová makes a fictional scientist investigate the new geophysical conformation of the Earth, the inexplicable creation of the Edge and, lastly, the Great Rainbow at the end of the world. Little by little, the subjectivity of the narration takes over science, which leaves the place to science-fiction. A certain proximity between counterculture and conspiracy theories emerges between the lines. In the middle of these two poles, between 360° and 1°, About Mirages and Stolen Stones mixes the meanders of miniature sets with the abysses of the open sea.

Full text is available for download >>
by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi

The video is produced by the artist and Case Chiuse by Paola Clerico.

Direction, Editing, Script: Natália Trejbalová
Cinematography: Matteo Pasin
Soundtrack and sound design: Matteo Nobile
Voice: Melissa Ghidini, Adele Altro
Color correction: Matteo Finazzi

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Exhibitions

ROBBY MÜLLER / Like Sunlight Coming Through the Clouds

Robby Müller’s solo exhibition Like Sunlight Coming Through the Clouds at Case Chiuse HQ is curated by his wife Andrea Müller-Schirmer. The show follows major exhibitions of his film work at the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam and the Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin, as well as presentations of his Polaroids in Arles, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

Robby Müller is internationally acclaimed for his ground-breaking cinematography for independent directors such as Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch and Lars von Trier, on films such as Paris, Texas (1984), Down by Law (1986) and Breaking the Waves (1996). On these films, but also on films by William Friedkin, Peter Bogdanovich, Sally Potter and Michael Winterbottom, Robby Müller built his reputation as a fearless experimenter who preferred to shoot spontaneously everything that caught his eye on the moment rather than construct shots in advance. Müller succeeded in uniting narrative, atmosphere and image into a single whole. He became known for his virtuoso handling of light and shade, for which he preferred natural light.

The show at Case Chiuse HQ reveals a lesser-known part of his work and features vintage Polaroids and a wide range of Polaroid photos as edition prints. The larger format of these prints reveals the incredible details that Müller was able to capture in the instant medium. The works show Müller playing with and exploring the properties of light and colour with a preference for photographs taken at twilight – the ‘blue hour’ – when natural and artificial light meet.

Müller never left home without his camera, and after he had become familiar with Polaroid photography on the set of Alice in the Cities (dir. Wim Wenders) in 1973, the Polaroid camera accompanied him on his travels. He built up an extensive archive of Polaroid images which he took during the rare moments of respite from work. When he was not completely immersed in his day job, he took his Polaroid camera and began capturing the everyday objects he saw around him, such as magically lit hotel rooms, American cars and urban sceneries, abstract patterns in cityscapes and the play of light in motives like trees, flowers and self-portraits. He was always looking for the one particular situation of light or observing the characteristics of reflections. 

Seen side by side, these photographic works from the early 1970s to the late 1990’s offer a broader view of Müller as a visual artist, with the Polaroid works complementing and going beyond his cinematographic work. Like Sunlight Coming Through the Clouds highlights Müller’s ability to create iconic images that represent not only his unique view of the world, but also his talent for creating something new and more radiant. This show clearly establishes the link between his Polaroids and the films Müller made. In these captured silent moments, one can sense the same poetic sensitivity that suffused his cinematic imagery and led many to dub him the ‘master of light’.

Alongside the Polaroids, a compilation of images from Claire Pijman’s documentary Living the Light – Robby Müllerwill be shown. These images from Robby Müller’s private archive give us an insight into his playful way of sensing the light in the world around him. Displayed on a cube TV, the images enhance the atmosphere of the Polaroid world.

The completed documentary film with a score by Jim Jarmusch’s band SQÜRL had its world premiere at the Venice Biennale in 2018.

Robby Müller (Curaçao, 1940 – Amsterdam, 2018) Born in 1940 on the Caribbean island of Curaçao, then part of the Netherlands, Müller grew up in Indonesia and the Netherlands. In the early sixties, he studied at the Netherlands Film Academy. Müller made significant contribution to the success of an entire generation of independent film auteurs and won acclaim for his innovative camerawork and virtuoso lighting. His illustrious career was marked by collaborations with directors Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, Lars von Trier and Steve McQueen. Müller died in Amsterdam in 2018.


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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 February 12th we inaugurated the exhibition Case Chiuse #08 in our new space in Milan to celebrate together with all the artists and all the people who have collaborated with this project so far.
Case Chiuse #08 also marks the opening of our new studio, a physical hub where our activities will continue to unfold in respect of the key concepts dear to us: flexibility, experimentation and that search for a certain lightness capable of suspending us – albeit only for a moment – in a not strictly codified time.

Case Chiuse by Paola Clerico started in February 2014 as a wandering platform of artistic production. For six years, we devised and staged exhibitions, occupying private and inaccessible places, opening them to the public for the duration of the exhibition. All projects were conceived 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. It will remain a primary connotation of the work of Case Chiuse, both for the projects held in our new space and 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 to Case Chiuse #08, with complete freedom in proposing the artworks. The intention is to celebrate the work of each artist and the work carried out together, without seeking a collective title or a common thread.You are hereby invited to cross the threshold of the new space and let yourselves be taken on a personal journey where everyone may find his or her own narrative.

Like in previous editions of Case Chiuse, we intervened in the space in Via Rosolino Pilo 14 with minimal technical and functional renovations. These choices are determined by the desire to avoid a pre-defined exhibition container, in favour of a flexible space, adaptable and modifiable according to the needs of the artists and 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 

Categories
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