The exhibition project Isolitudine. 4 solo showsin Palermo until January 22nd, aims to challenge the distinction between personal exhibition and group exhibition: four solo exhibitions and as many curators with the aim of making identities without borders coexist and creating an ideal flow that connects art to politics, to nature and geographies.
The choral project, exhibited at ZaCentrale, the space managed by the Merz foundation at the ZAC (Zisa contemporary arts), presents the personal exhibitions of three artists – the Roman Rä di Martino, the Slovak Petra Feriancová, the Chilean Voluspa Jarpa – and the Levantine artist Guido Casaretto edited by Laura Barreca, Valentina Bruschi, Beatrice Merz and Agata Polizzi respectively.
It is a work of female alliances able to build an experience that, as a whole, becomes a journey into an archipelago of independent works, like islands, but which look at each other and question the meaning of the border, the tension between migrations and freedom, between natural time and cultural time. Works that together reflect on the relationship between contemporary art and what happens around it.
“When it occurred to me to put together four solo shows, instead of the usual group show or one solo show, I visualized islands in space,” says Merz. “I left the other curators totally free to choose an artist. The only stake: not to raise walls or build divisions, but to find a way to make the works dialogue in an open confrontation ”.
The starting point of this choral curatorship was to rethink and rewrite the definition of the neologism used by Gesualdo Bufalino to identify that feeling of loneliness experienced by those who live on an island. While recognizing it as a feeling “intermittent euphoria and melancholy “, the new meaning given by the curators to “isolation” underlines its impetus and “Tension towards the heroic overcoming of geographical and emotional barriers” and a direction of gaze aimed more at the future than at memory. The works respond to this reversal of perspective by unifying different and distant experiences, truth and lie, men and animals, past and future, dream and reality, challenging the very idea of isolation.
Voluspa Jarpa’s answer is the monumental installation False flaga tower of documents, a two-dimensional globe and a variation of archive folders reconstruct, in a sublime aesthetic synthesis, the artist’s fifteen years of research to understand the way in which governments have operated outside the law in Latin America and in Europe.
The installation elaborates in different modules the declassified documents of the US intelligence on the activity in the countries of Central and South America during the years of the cold war, which also revealed the existence of secret armies supported by the CIA and NATO to prevent the advance of the left in postwar Europe.
“I chose Voluspa because the socio-political aspect is what matters most to me, she is one of the few artists capable of combining political denunciation and aesthetic experience”, explains Merz. One of Jarpa’s works problematises the distraction of the contemporary art world from what is happening around it. Openly quoting the work of the American minimalist artist Donald Judd, Jarpa creates a series of boxes that explode, releasing the information hidden inside. “Jarpa makes us reflect on an art, like the minimalist one, which, while the United States was the architects of massacres and embarrassing situations in the world, focused on pure aesthetics,” explains Merz.
The continuous line of time
The vortex of information unveiled by False flag moves the visitor among the works of Guido Casaretto: The day I proposed to change my life, I lived only to prepare myself for the new onetitle borrowed from And viceroy by Federico De Roberto, is a work that highlights the continuous line of time: a 60-meter river made by imprisoning in resin the debris that the artist has collected from a stream on the outskirts of Istanbul. Forms emerge on its surface that are a continuous reference to memory that crystallizes into objects, architectures and symbols that contain within them fragments of other places and other times.
“The process is important for Casaretto,” says Polizzi, who curated his exhibition. “His work traces the memory of a place or of his family, an Italian family that in 1600 moved from Genoa to Turkey. His migration becomes the migration of numerous peoples ”.
From the crystallized memories of Casaretto, one is suddenly swallowed by the ribcage of the gigantic whale suspended from the ceiling made by Ferancová in Vertebra. Bruschi explains: “The artist has read this space as a large spinal column. Ferancová identifies in the process of vertebrate reproduction the principle of a common destiny of progressive decay. While animal life ends, the museum is exalted as a place where time is overcome and eternity is aspired ”.
Spit out by the whale, it comes straight into the head of the man who is the protagonist of the dream of freedom Moonbird, video work by Di Martino on the music of Mauro Remiddi. The curator Barreca says: “It is an opera libretto born from the artist’s visit to a Palermo villa that becomes a metaphor for imprisonment. A dream hallucination, a man trapped inside himself, the zeitgeist of these times “. The freedom sought in Moonbird finds an answer in the impossible place of dreams.
Isolitude it is an overall exhortation to cross the border, not to accept oppression, to defy time and to search in the dream. And the experience of use is affected by the strength of the open alliance between the four curators, inclusive and never didactic.