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Mostra annuale 2010

The Foundation Spinola Banna per l’Arte is pleased to announce the opening of the groupshow Mostra annuale 2010 on Sunday 24 October at 12p.m. with works by Andrea De Stefani, Valentina Roselli, Caterina Rossato and HR Stamenov.

curated by Benjamin Weil

Andrea de Stefani
Valentina Roselli
Caterina Rossato

In 1975, upon returning to Italy from a long journey to the West of the USA, Umberto Eco published Travels in Hyperreality. With this seminal essay, Eco established the notion of hyperreality, a state within which the notion of original and copy, or replica, cease to exist; or wherein which the common notions of real and fake – which imply a hierarchy between two objects – are erased. Indeed, sometimes, the fake is more “real” than the original, given a specific context and/or state of culture, and the experience one may have of it. Taking our cue from his conclusions, one could say that, whereas the notion of original and replica no longer can be sustained in our post-industrial society, the notion of art as representation may also need to be re-assessed.
Indeed, reality is a concept that has been increasingly complexified by the advent of its multiple virtual extensions. Time, and space vary according to new parameters, and the multiplied forms of communication and experience sharing in today’s world call for a continued re-thinking of what such words as “now”, “then”, “here” and “there” may in fact signify. Increasingly, human relationships can be developed and maintained without people ever meeting in the “real” space. Yet, they may know each other better than two people crossing daily in the stairs of their shared apartment building. Similarly, one may have a more acute sense of what is happening thousands of miles away than down the street, and it is fascinating for instance to think that people may never know about the criminal habits of their next door neighbour before learning about it through the news, where it comes juxtaposed to a world summit or a natural catastrophe on the other side of the planet.
Hyperreality could therefore be a useful recourse, to describe a state of culture in which art may be more “real” than the reality it relates to. With the advent of an artistic practice that is no longer predicated only by the keen observation of the world and the staging of an image that attempts at representing it, the relationship between art and life has evolved. In truth, one may recall Oscar Wilde’s famous quote, that proposed that “Life imitates art”, over a hundred years ago. Yet it is really the Twentieth Century that has demonstrated that Wilde’s quote has actually proved to be more than just a prophecy. As the century came to a close, artists had clearly adopted an attitude towards their creative process that focused more on intentionality and relationship than the production of actual objects resulting from the mastery of specific crafts. The conceptual and formal range of artistic practice known as visual arts has considerably extended, and borrowed extensively from others, such as theatre, sound and music, and cinema, just to name a few. The presentation of ideas being increasingly predicated by the context recalls those other forms of cultural productions, wherein restaging and re-interpreting are common practice, and wherein the notion of score is the only vehicle, along with documenting, that enables a continuum that is true to the intent of the creator, even centuries later.

Art, however, has functioned differently, and its economy is predicted by the manufacturing and exchange of objects. This apparent contradiction has led to interesting experiments. As conservators attempt to safeguard works that were never intended to be kept, it becomes clear that at times, the object is a mere relic, that has ceased to function as the primary – or at least unique - vehicle for the artist’s original intent. And yet, in a world that is increasingly disincarnated and dematerialized, and where the present is a moving target, the traces of these gestures become increasingly valued, as the testimony of time gone by.
This is the context in which the four artists whose work is presented at the Fondazione Spinola Banna per l’Arte operate. These four projects are quite apart, and denote distinct approaches to thinking about art and to establishing a formal resolution. Yet, each is very much anchored in a reflection of what the real may be. When does objectivity give way to subjectivity? When does the trace of an action become more “real” than the action itself? When does the importance of experience supercede its conditions? In the end, the notion of narrative is the most important predicament, which unites what we still refer to as reality and fiction. What would otherwise be “reality TV”?!
The outdoor sculpture of Caterina Rossato clearly echoes the famed works of land art carried out in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Yet, rather than just functioning as quotation, the piece borrows formally from this kind of work to posit the imminent landing of extraterrestrial beings, suggesting the necessity for us human beings to prepare for a friendly contact with these out of space creatures. The dynamics between the reference to a world that is equally permeated by fantasy and serious scientific research is interestingly staged here, and suggest a necessary re-assessment of rational and irrational, scientific knowledge and speculation, notwithstanding in the end the importance of a compelling formal resolution.
Outdoor is also the locus of Andrea de Stefani’s ongoing performance. For the past few months, the artists has been electing secluded outdoor space to proceed with a practice of saxophone, merely informed by the interest of playing, however without having to learn. Here, the notion of knowledge and belief, the importance of a narrative construct versus the one of mastery of a craft (playing an instrument) may be interesting metaphors that evoke the shifts that have occurred in art making. Whether artists need or not to master craftsmanship, or whether the conveying of an artistic intent is what counts more may be at stake here, but also the notion of an ephemeral gesture, its documentation, the meaning of such as well as the relationship those two creative stages maintain. While the performance will take place during the opening, only a souvenir snapshot of the performance will remain, that will be added to an existing collection presented in sculptural black frames.
Valentina Roselli has embarked on an interesting journey to Africa, after she discovered the existence of another community called Banna. Traveling through space, she developed a project wherein the sharing of otherness and similarity is materialized through the meticulous documentation of that process, as if to join two realms by way of improbable homonymy.

Displacement may also be the way one can approach the quasi-scientific experiment carried out by HR Stamenov. In the small space he has elected to use for his project, the artist has installed an incredibly simple mechanism that re-creates the perceptual conditions of a storm. One thinks of how theatre has always sought to restage reality through the combination of simple elements such as light and sound. The meteorological conditions usually reinforce the dramatic aspect of a narrative, which in that case is just reduced to a fragment. The rest of the drama will have to be imagined by the spectator.

Together, these four works offer an interesting perspective on the way a new generation of artists is trying to address the current cultural context. One can see how artistic practice of the past decades is being considered, how, to quote the late Harald Szeeman, “Attitudes become form” in 2010, how it is profoundly linked to the approach of previous generations, while at the same time truly grounded in today’s circumstances.

curated by Benjamin Weil
Opening Sunday 24 October at 12p.m.
from 25 October to 14 November 2010
Friday/Saturday/Sunday from 15.00 to 17.00 – free entrance

Mostra annuale 2010

Photogallery Corso