texts by Nanni Balestrini, Luigi Fassi, Claudia Gioia, Beatrice Merz
format: 14,5 x 21 cm
date of publication: November 2013
€35,00The catalogue is published on the occasion of Abbiamo amato tanto la rivoluzione (‘We loved it so much the revolution’) exhibition by Alfredo Jaar held at Fondazione Merz from 5th November 2013 to 2nd February 2014. “Alfredo Jaar has chosen the reflection (in both senses of the word) of history from the 1960s and ‘70s. He travels some way with Mario Merz, builds a picture gallery and invites the works of some artists with whom he feels some kinship in this adventure, and illuminates memory so that it A deliberate act of will by the artist, with an invitation to modify our perception of things. The luminosity of the words written in neon indicates the fragile border between truth, the non-linear progress of thought and the need to prepare oneself to cross over. Jaar leads us physically to cross a landscape of glass detritus. A landscape that at first sight is desolate, which rises and falls with sudden flights of light and reflections. Thanks to the glass, the landscape also has the liquidity and transparency of water and, in a blink of the eye, we can travel from the surface to the seabed and then return to the surface. Whether immersed or emerging, the landscape nevertheless suggests an image of abandonment, of destruction and rubble, and the idea of having to enter this area without knowing where to go is a disturbing one. This disturbance is needed to suggest questions: on what rubble are we walking? Is this the rubble of the past or the rubble of a present that has already decayed? The answers may be found along the way, but meanwhile we can try to think that this rubble is also our oblivion, our night, our experience that is obscured. Mario Merz's crocodile with its luminous wake of numbers climbs the wall, a biological symbol of an unstable passage and conquest of a new reality. The flashes from the reflecting glass echo the luminosity of the Fibonacci numbers, whose mathematical progression saves us from the fleeting nature of time. And a new slogan (Mario Merz, Sciopero generale azione politica relativa proclamata relativamente all'arte, 'National strike associated political action proclaimed relative to art', 1970) is ready to risk the total darkness of a secret room which we reach almost by chance following the way across the rubble. The darkness accumulates but cannot mitigate the sense of urgency that the words convey: the magical and luminous use of the word reflected in the black water and reflects the unsayability of its truth. Like a new declination of the platonic myth of the cavern, the reflections that now assail us from all sides push to reactivate memory, to see those "remains" that have value, bring them back to the surface and reactivate the present itself in that rubble that transfigures, that filters the distance of time”. (Claudia Gioia) This catalogue photographically documents the exhibition and thus offers vivid insight into artist’s work, whose interior pathway is told in words by the exhibition’s curator Claudia Gioia, accompanying texts by Beatrice Merz, a poem by Nanni Balestrini and an interview by Luigi Fassi.
texts by Simon Starling, Jacob Lillemose, Guillermo Faivovich, Nicolás Goldberg, Hernán Pruden, Maria Centonze
format: 16 x 22 cm
date of publication: 2011
€35,00The book, published on the occasion of Simon Starling’s exhibition The Inaccessible Poem at Fondazione Merz from 29 October 2011 to 15 January 2012, goes beyond the concept of a catalogue to become a sort of notebook, a place of relations between distant spheres and other, perhaps inaccessible, ones. In the exhibition event in which the British artist took on the role of curator, Starling established a dialogue between the subjects that make up the exhibition, in perfect coherence with what he theorises, namely the need to create “constellations of ideas and to fix them in a reciprocal orbit”. There were therefore no works by just one artist, but a collection of works from totally different experiences, whose relationship lies precisely in the empirical way of approaching science and knowledge, of suggesting poetic deviations or ironic digressions: unaltered visions of a world that continues to show intelligence and offer perspectives. The exhibition project he conceived combined some of his works with works by Mario Merz, Sture Johannesson, James Nasmyth and James Carpenter, Faivovich & Goldberg. Simon Starling conceived the exhibition composition at the Fondazione Merz as an encounter between artists who seem very distant from each other in terms of origin and generation. And they really are. However, it is precisely this distance that appears to be the most uniting element. The relationship between all the subjects that made up the exhibition brings us back to what Starling defines as “orchestrated collisions”: a galaxy in which strange alchemies can take place, where different souls live and, through their own peculiarities, design new ways of operating the system of scientific knowledge or technological experimentation. Starling is critical of technology, encouraging a dismantling of its very rules that leads to a sort of shift with almost poetic overtones. From this point of view, there were many points of contact with the works of the artists in the exhibition, in particular with Mario Merz, with whom he shares not only this aspect but also the continuous desire for nomadism. The book is accompanied by texts by Maria Centonze, Guillermo Faivovich, Nicolas Goldberg, Jacob Lillemose, Hernan Pruden and Simon Starling with works by Faivovich & Goldberg, Sture Johannesson, Mario Merz, James Nasmyth, James Carpenter and Simon Starling.
texts by Olga Gambari, Luca Morena, Richard Flood, Rebecca Walker, Rebecca Harris-Perry, Jennifer Richeson, Roy Sorensen
format: 14,5 x 21 cm
date of publication: September 2011
€30,00This volume collects the documentation of the solo exhibition that the Fondazione Merz dedicated to Kara Walker, curated by Olga Gambari, from 25 March to 3 July 2011. The exhibition project included a review of films – a field of expression to which the artist is strongly attached – an international conference on the political and psychological dimension of racial stereotypes and a workshop with students from the Accademia Albertina and the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy at the University of Turin. In addition, the participation of journalist and writer Rebecca Walker enriched the debate on the concepts of race, class, culture and gender. Kara Walker, confronting the post-industrial space of the Foundation, presented cut papers in free evolution on the walls, a video-installation, drawings, collages and tempera paintings. The project that involves the artist and that the book illustrates with a vast photographic and textual apparatus, is centred on the mythical memory that takes shape in her work, a memory in constant metamorphosis in which the biographical dimension is placed in connection with collective experience. A historical event such as the birth of the Afro-American community in the United States, linked to centuries of slavery and the subsequent difficult racial integration, becomes a material on which Kara Walker can draw for her figurative stories, playing on shadows and silhouettes. Her black silhouettes move in a visionary and metaphorical land, between day/night and light/dark. Fiercely realistic stories, allegories of black humour are represented in installations, videos, stage sets, puppets, kinetic shadows, wall drawings, collages on various supports, from wall to canvas. But also drawings, tempera, miniatures and large dimensions for dynamic stories that hover in a dimension where the grotesque verges on the dramatic. Kara Walker’s stories become myths, fairy tales, and although they have precise roots, they become universal narratives.
texts by: Rudi Fuchs
format: 10 X 15,3 cm
date of publication: March/April 2011
images: 38 col.
binding: hardback/cardboard slipcase with USB key included
€26,00This book documents the exhibition Mario Merz. Pageantry of painting held at the Fondazione Merz in Turin from 12 May to 14 November 2010. Eighteen large paintings, selected by Rudi Fuchs, were realized between 1974 and 1988, and they come both from leading European museums and from private collections. In some cases, they have not been on public display for many years. Among the exhibited works two painted igloo, Casa del giardiniere, Igloo (Tenda di Gheddafi) and the Mario Merz. Lumaca video by Gerry Schum. Rudi Fuchs, the exhibition’s curator, describes the vision at the origin of his idea: “I remember from childhood certain ceremonial pageants of guilds in which the members carried large banners with those heraldic figures in strong colours. They marched to the town square where they then held competitions in artful banner swaying, which were acrobatic and spectacular. Whenever I see Mario’s large paintings, I remember those festive pageants – and I want to present an exhibition of maybe twenty of those banner-like images in a theatrical display to give them back their particular flourish. The idea is indeed that of a colourful pageant. In the show they cannot move of course but an installation is possible, I think, in which the banners will appear to be rolling and waving.” For the most part, they are images of animals of archaic form, the evidence and recognisability of which combine with the use of figuration in an archetypical sense, and with a strong symbolic and mythical accentuation, the reflection of an existential project. Rudi Fuchs continues: “Once I saw Mario Merz make some of the large, loose paintings which are now on show in this exhibition. He used a wet brush and cans of spray-paint on unstretched canvas, thin and light as bed-sheets. It was more drawing than painting: long extended curving and crawling lines, making figures of a kind (mostly fantastic animals). The shapes were distinct, powerful in colour and outline. They were heraldic.” Mario Merz himself used to stress the link between image and symbolic references: “A painting comes to life even before it is made. And there is always a double image; it is an image and also something else. If the image is perfect, it becomes a painting... Until a short time ago, one could distrust imagination, but today one has again to bring in as much fantasy as possible into art”. The figurative void in Mario Merz’s art between the 1960s and 1970s was replaced by the reappearance of figures by the middle of the 1970s, as shown in this exhibition, and his pictures became more and more crowded as the 1980s drew near, when the image of animals and more proliferated. The book in the slipcase includes a USB key showing a video filmed during the exhibition and an interview by the curator.
text by Francesco Bernardelli
format: 14,5 x 21 cm
date of publication: December 2010
images: 45 col.
€30,00This book documents the exhibition no fire zone held at the Fondazione Merz in Turin from 10 March to 18 April 2010. The project was commissioned by the Fondazione Merz to document the great event that closed the Wolfgang Laib’s exhibition in June of 2009, when the German artist brought forty-five Brahmins from the Indian region of Tamil Nadu to celebrate the Hindu fire ceremony at the Fondazione. Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio take the Mahayagna – the fire ritual that is celebrated for the wellbeing of the entire world and all living creatures – as the starting point for their reflection upon the Sri Lanka Civil War and its implications for the Tamil ethnicity, which the Brahmins belong to. The two artists were struck by the strong contrast between the two contradicting situations: on the one hand the religious ritual and man’s quest for harmony and on the other, the oppressive abuse of power that causes unbalanced situations and overwhelming human distress. Their installations interact with Laib’s work: they juxtapose the images of Laib’s exhibition with the harsh images of the war, and the reality of the Tamil’s Diaspora as if trying to find the way to a possible dialogue in this clash. The exhibition features a multi-video installation that unfolds through the Fondazione spaces according to a circular path. It ends in the lower level where it begins again with Soul diaspora, the pivotal work around which the entire project no fire zone revolves. Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio are twins and they were born in Turin in 1978. They live and work in Turin. Massimiliano graduated in History of Art Criticism, and Gianluca in Film History at DAMS, in Turin. They have been worked together since 2000 and during the years they have produced numerous films among which: Zakaria, My Brother Yang, Maria Jesus. Their works have been selected for various film festivals among which: Oberhausen Film Festival, Edimburgh Film Festival, Torino Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival. In 2010 they had the solo exhibition Bakroman at Arge Kunst in Bozen; they also participated in the group exhibitions at Galleria Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea (Monfalcone), Galleria Civica di Arte Contemporanea (Trento), Maison Rouge (Paris), Centre d’Art Nei Liicht (Dudelange, Luxembourg), Participant Inc. (New York), Annet Genlink Gallery (Amsterdam), MAXXI (Roma).
text by Francesca Pasini
format: 14,5 x 21 cm
date of publication: February 2010
images: 40 col.
€30,00This book documents the exhibition Messico famigliare / Domestic Mexico held at the Fondazione Merz in Turin from 19 January to 28 February 2010. The title, Domestic Mexico, is evidently a play on words (in the original Italian Messico/lessico) referring to Natalia Ginzburg’s Domestic Vocabulary, published in 1963 and which centered upon the expressed internal relationships of families. Mocellin and Pellegrini, through their own parenting experience, take a look at the family at the present time and its paradoxes: it is no longer considered to be a closed entity, but it’s difficult to think of it as open; it still functions as a traditional screen in the name of which to remedy conflicts and organize consensus. The artists weave fragments of their family memories together with the experience of being new adoptive parents and the widespread diffidence towards a family that proposes to differ from the scheme of the classic patriarchal model. Joining the personal with the political has raised discussions about the concept of neutrality in the lives of men and women, claiming personal responsibility as one of the factors necessary for renewing social relationships. The artists examine the nature of their “mixed” family within the country’s social contest, which seems to show a growing fear and a general mistrust for diversity. The photos published in the catalogue are stories in and of themselves, at times accompanied by recorded texts, and where the complex link of affective structures emerges. Ottonella Mocellin and Nicola Pellegrini were both born in Milan, respectively in 1966 and 1962. They lived in London from 1984 to 1993, where they studied Public Art and Architecture. They spent the year of 2001-02 in New York, as representatives from Italy in the P.S.1 International Studio Program. Their works, including installations, videos, photography and performances, have been exhibited in museums and galleries in Italy and abroad. They are represented currently by the Lia Rumma Gallery, with locations in Milan and Naples.