curated by Angelica Gatto and Simone Zacchini
Mirella Bentivoglio, Giulio Bensasson, Cristiano Carotti, Francesca Cornacchini, Camilla Gurgone, Andrea Martinucci, Niccolò Moronato, Jonathan Vivacqua
And if The Fool spoke…
“Do you know that at any moment a change of consciousness can occur, do you know that suddenly you can change the perception you have of yourself? Sometimes it is believed that taking action means being successful over someone else. Error! If you want to act in the world, you have to explode the perception of the ego that has been imposed on you, stuck on you since childhood, and that refuses to change. You have to push your limits endlessly, relentlessly. […]
Stop being your own witness, stop watching yourself, be a pure actor, an entity in action. Your memory will stop recording the deeds, words and gestures you have made. You will lose track of time. Until now you have lived on the island of reason neglecting the other living forces, the other energies. The landscape widens. Join the ocean of the unconscious.
Then you will experience a state of superconsciousness in which there are no failures or accidents. You don’t have a conception of space, you become space. You don’t have a conception of time: you are the phenomenon that comes. In this state of extreme presence, every gesture, every action is perfect.”
A. JODOROWSKY, The Way of Tarot
If, at the same time as the exhibition The Expanded Body (January-March 2022), the guiding image chosen for the project was the tarot card of “The World”, for the new exhibition itinerary imagined for 1/9unosunove Gallery the emblem becomes that of “The Fool” (Le Mat or Le Fou), a card whose key words are – among others – freedom, research, liberating force, irrational, chaos. For this reason it’s often associated with creativity and ideally represents an archetypal complement of “The World”, a Tarot that indicates the Whole. Linked to the earth, in a visceral way, the Fool acquires on himself a tension and a constant aspiration towards the Whole, while still being radically bound to an earthly dimension, of a practical order.
In The Expanded Body the intent was to reassign to corporeality a new centrality, not necessarily linked to the objective presence of the body and its components. With the exhibition Fou Rire it is once again the body to be considered central this time in its inseparable link with the cerebral and mental matter (also explicitly linked to the contents of memory) which, when it comes into conflict with the body, triggers dissymmetries, conflicting crases that underlie a continuous retraction of what we are compared to what we would like to be. In direct confrontation with desire, action and immobility intersect in an often endless dynamic.
In the constant crisis situation of Western societies, this is also reflected in the conflict between the (often self-imposed) drive to hyper-productivity and the underlying “in-suffering” that accompanies it. Taking inspiration from Alejandro Jodorowsky’s reading of the “The Fool”, the exhibition intends to emphasize that the praise of weaknesses should not necessarily be perceived as the justification of paralyzing apathy, but rather as the engine of a liberating action. In this way, “The Fool”, with its wanderings, ends up representing a non-linear productive dimension, in which every attempt is liable to failure. Individual “in-suffering”, mirror of a social dynamic intrinsic to a certain post-capitalist work approach, becomes an aesthetic trigger where even uselessness, irony and fun are not conveyed by an algorithm imposed from the outside.
For this reason, the exhibition opens with a historical concrete poem by Mirella Bentivoglio (Klagenfurt, Austria, 1922 – Rome, 2017) which represents, in the form of a cage, the first person of the verb to have. The letter O, red, with its iconic autonomy stands out on the black H (and, therefore, on the structure of the cage) thus representing an alternative, a possibility of escape that, after more than fifty years, becomes increasingly complex. The imaginative pervasiveness of contemporaneity has led to an aesthetic hypersensitization in which the retinal persistence of imposed images (burn in: effect of permanence of images on a screen) becomes the counterpart of the burn out, a syndrome derived from a condition of chronic and persistent stress.
After the fire, what remains in the image, eyes, body and mind? And how to make burning take on a constructive character? Dissymetries and dichotomy burn in/burn out become the two conceptual matrices that come into play in the exhibition to try to answer these questions.
On the one hand: the absence of symmetry that opens the door to an aesthetic of ugliness – remodeled by reflections of psychoanalytic and philosophical origin, when not openly linguistic – and to a rethinking of the categories of beauty and good (the kalokagathia of ancient memory). On the other: a conflict between image and exhaustion that leads to a progressive detachment from the context, through states of chronic stress that can degenerate into the loss of attention and, therefore, to the deviation from hyper-performativity. At the same time as the syndrome in the workplace, burning ends up being able to be understood as an unconscious liberation from a post-capitalist dynamic, marked by the exceptional nature of each individual subjectivity.
In such a condition, (self-)irony is fundamental, capable of activating the “laughable” element of contemporaneity. Comic fantasy is properly human and already for Henri Bergson, it was fundamental to understand the processes that the imagination follows in her work. This social and collective imagination derives from real life and is related to art. Because, as Samuel Beckett suggests in one of his short poems from the mirlitonades series, it’s necessary to face the worst jusqu’à ce qu’il fosse rire.
By focusing his practice on those aspects of reality of restless vagueness, the work of Giulio Bensasson (Rome, 1990) is linked inseparably to a concept of temporality understood as the culminating moment of a slow and inexorable process which becomes the expressive material with which to compromise, leaving room for the randomness of its effects. In the triptych I don’t know where, I don’t know when (souvenir of an animal musculature), born from the processing of an archival slide immersed in a liquid populated by moulds, fungi and organic elements, the randomness with which external agents affect the decomposition of the image becomes the expedient to draw a time line of the sedimentation of the same image in the mind up to the complete evanescence of the recognition factors of it.
The large canvas by Cristiano Carotti (Terni, 1981) is intended as an altarpiece, flanked by two lustrous majolica wolves. In the depiction the rice is embodied in three ferocious shepherd dogs and the figure of the Fool moves from the light-hearted fool to the nameless Arcanum (The Death). The deadly aspect is emotionally linked to the archetype of the madman and leads to the representation of a “guardian of the threshold”. Starting from an identity comparison with the figure of the Fool, the mysticism underlying the representation – the result of a passage of three different pictorial moments – marks the shot and the overcoming with respect to the fear of death, opening the threshold of the journey through the Arcana to rejoin the world and the whole.
Francesca Cornacchini (Rome, 1991) reflects on the concept of norm and social conditioning through three different types of intervention (performance, stitched canvas and photography). The works on display are thus substantiated in an analysis of the biopolitical conditions of our statements, contemplating the possibility of a redefinition of fixed categories. Opening up to space, the onset becomes plastic, maintaining a heroic and romantic dimension, given by the presence of the body as a trigger. Underground culture becomes the expressive code of a detonating, violent and fragile language.
Camilla Gurgone (Lucca, 1997) presents three sculptural installations, in which rolls of thermal paper descend to the ground, held in tension by an aluminium control bar. Each work shows a sequence of images produced by the artist through artificial intelligence algorithms, in an attempt to recompose all the scenes belonging to a dream realized by her or told to her by others. The use of images fished on the web opens a reflection on the personal and collective imagination. Heat printing refers to the evanescence of the mind whose memories, with the passage of time, slowly tend to fade.
The three canvases by Andrea Martinucci (Rome, 1991) reflect on the need for a reconfiguration of pictorial language towards new definitions. They are configured as a union of three voices, a hymn to the life and death of the old world, branching out of the margin to emerge in the mists of our times. The three works, interrupting the eye distance with the surface, expand towards space through their vibrant power: a progressive waltz towards the places of the ephemeral, the unfulfilled and desire.
Niccolò Moronato (Padua, 1985) is present in the exhibition with a series of cut-outs from the Golf is a violent sport project and a headphone sound in which the lashing of the blows of the golf clubs creates a disturbing and unexpected sound carpet providing the point of view of the playing field. Using trade magazines and books for golfers, the artist’s interest focuses on the pervasiveness of the lacquered perfection of glossy magazines revealing their most intrinsically disturbing aspect. Golf is a violent sport thus becomes an evident manifestation of the oxymoron that lies behind hyper-performativity: between strict rules impossible to disregard to be considered the best, ornamental palms and impeccable design to be revealed are multiple and discontinuous sequence plans from which our gaze ends up being sucked.
In his installation Jonathan Vivacqua (Erba, Como, 1986) uses, in a non-functional way, the electro-welded mesh for construction site. The element of the wire mesh, which usually remains hidden inside the concrete constructions, becomes the protagonist of the entire operation, also through the marked use of color. Although completely transfigured, the mesh maintains a consolidating aspect from a structural point of view. The central sculptural work, composed mainly of two bodies that come together, is directly confronted with a wall installation in which the same mesh is found as if exploded, mechanically decomposed into other identities.
Angelica Gatto and Simone Zacchini
The exhibition will be open until Saturday, March 4, 2023