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.
texts by Federico Squarcini, Guy Tosatto, Wolfgang Laib, Klaus Ottmann
a selection of mantra
format: 23 x 29 cm
date of publication: February 2010
images: 70 col.
This artist’s book records the project of the show by German artist Wolfgang Laib at the Fondazione Merz from 9 April to 7 June 2009. A sense of the balance and harmony that governs the world and the work of man, essential guardian of the universe, lies at the base of the artist’s thinking. An installation of hundreds of small rice mountains, a line of small mountains of pollen and a great mountain of beeswax Ziggurat fill the entire space of the Fondazione. Furthermore, from 1 to 7 June, and for only seven days, the Fondazione was host to a special event that was part of the artist’s project: fortyfive Brahmins priests, from one of the most important temples of southern India, officiated at the rite of fire, which has been part of Indian tradition for millennia.
“A long story lies behind the genesis of this event. For Documenta 1987, Mario Merz invited me to exhibit a vase of pollen on a spiral table. That was the beginning of a beautiful and very precious friendship between two artists with – I believe – different lives, different ages, but sometimes a very similar way of looking. We were both fascinated, something that has much enriched our lives… So it will be much more than an exhibition of different objects and works; not an exhibition for an individual artist, it will concern the whole world, the universe and also our very existence. I have had this dream for the whole of my life, since when I tried to be a doctor, realising very quickly that that meant only dealing with the physical body, whereas our life and existence cannot be reduced simply to matter. The pollen recalls the beginning and creation; the rice mountains and the beeswax Ziggurat (pyramid and steps) nourishment and the bond of the sky with the earth; in the end, fire recalls destruction and the possible renewal of the world, the transformation of what is physical to a new cycle, to a state of change” (Wolfgang Laib).
texts by Chiara Bertola, Giorgio Guglielmino,Beatrice Merz, Luisa Rabbia
format: 14,5 x 21 cm
date of publication: January 2010
images: 50 col., 17 b/n
This catalogue is published on the occasion of the show of the Italian artist Luisa Rabbia at the Fondazione Merz from 19 June to 20 September 2009. The exhibition evolves around three central works, consisting of a video and two installations, with traveling as the main theme, through an intimate, imaginary and surreal journey. Luisa Rabbia combines her own world of loneliness, fear, anxiety and personal memories with images taken from other people’s lives. The result is a sort of diary, a narrative that develops through a net of drawings: endless roots, fragments of the artist’s work and clips from her previous videos that are all like blood vessels of a life journey. The video Travels with Isabella. Travel Scrapbooks 1883-2008 was conceived during the artist’s residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Luisa Rabbia was inspired by the photographs collected by Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924), during her journey through China in 1883, to create an entrancing animated trail: a scenario of images from ancient China on which she composes her personal diary made of drawings, video footage from her previous works and works from the museum collection. In the installation The Following Day, No One Died, placed on one of the large walls of the Fondazione, the porcelain marks interact with her father’s ECG as if extending the past into the present, to let that distant moment in time live on. Finally, among the main works is Under the Same Sky, based on the encounter between the different cultures emerging nowadays in Turin: Italian, Moroccan, and Rumanian. It is a photographic work that blends the images of these three different countries to create an imaginary landscape on which the artist draws, according to her interpretation of the word “immigration” and to her personal experience as “immigrant” in the USA. All photographs are downloaded from the Web, which has actually become the ultimate source of information for all travelers.
From January 23 to February 27 2010, the exhibition will be hosted by the Fundación Proa in Buenos Aires (Argentina).
fondazione merz i quaderni.4
unpublished writing by Mario Merz
format: 14,5 x 21 cm
date of publication: December 2009
images: 65 col., 21 b/n
This is the fourth publication belonging to fondazione merz i quaderni series and it presents the exhibition hopes & doubts (curated by Costantino D’Orazio) held at Fondazione Merz from 22 January to 1 March 2009. Eight Lebanese and eight Italian artists showcase their work in both Beirut (Lebanon) and Turin (Italy). The cutting edge body of work will focus on daily life, translating the special emotional condition of the Lebanese people into paintings, photography, video and installation. The project hopes & doubts aimed to offer a concrete possibility of exchange between the artists of the two Mediterranean countries. In Beirut the show took place in the Dome City Center from 20 to 23 December 2008.
At the same time as the exhibition hopes & doubts the Fondazione Merz presented the solo show of Gabriele Basilico, Beirut 1991, which includes about twenty photographs taken from the great photographic service shot in Beirut in 1991 at the end of the civil war that devastated the country. The result is a photographic document that intends to reflect on what remains of a city after the conflict of war and how it prepares to ‘start again’. The photographer’s eye portrays places with reserve and respect, with a clear, precise way of looking and an attention to detail that reveals the architectural training of this Milanese artist. The Fondazione Merz has chosen to stage two exhibitions at the same time with the aim of ‘narrating’ a place where a new generation of artists works that has grown up in the period between the destruction and the reconstruction of the city of Beirut, a moment that the lens of Gabriele Basilico has accurately captured.
Artists: Gabriele Basilico, Elisabetta Benassi, Ginou Choueiri, Elisabetta Di Maggio, Michael Fliri, Francesco Gennari, Pascal Hachem, Lina Hakim, Joanne Issa, Zena el Khalil, Marzia Migliora, Randa Mirza, Giuseppe Pietroniro, Luisa Rabbia, Marwan Rechmaoui, Rima Saab, Andrea Salvino.
texts by Matthew Barney, Arthur C. Danto, Gian Luca Favetto, Richard Flood, Olga Gambari
format: 14,5 x 21 cm
date of publication: May 2009
images: 80 col.
The book collects the multi-faceted project that Matthew Barney developed in 3 days in Turin and documents the different parts of it: the solo exhibition at the Fondazione Merz (30 October 2008 - 11 January 2009), a workshop with the students of the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti and University of Turin, a public meeting between the artist and Richard Flood, opened by a paper written for the occasion by Arthur C. Danto, and a series of films screened at the Cinema Massimo.
Matthew Barney is one of the most important American artists of the new generations. In the international survey he is an original and many-sided author, his work crosses many cultural branches – sculpture, photography, architecture, design, fashion, cinema, music etc. – creating a very special artistic language. His conceptual and aesthetic work mixes parts of all mithologies produced in the history of mankind, from the ancient and classical until the most anomalous and mysterious ones. His hybrid and omnivore artistic research is a sort of great and new cosmogony. His movies are famous all over the world: the epic Cremaster Cycle, Drawing Restraint and De Lama Lamina.
Matthew Barney was born in San Francisco in 1967 and was raised in Boise, Idaho. He attended Yale University, receiving his BA in 1989, then moved to New York City, where he lives today. From his earliest work, Barney has explored the transcendence of physical limitations in a multimedia art practice that includes feature-length films, video installations, sculpture, photography, and drawing. In his first solo exhibitions, Barney presented elaborate sculptural installations that included videos of himself interacting with various constructed objects and performing physical feats such as climbing across the gallery ceiling suspended from titanium ice screws. In 1992, Barney introduced fantastical creatures into his work, a gesture that presaged the vocabulary of his subsequent narrative films. In 1994, Barney began work on his epic Cremaster cycle, a five-part film project accompanied by related sculptures, photographs, and drawings. He completed the cycle in 2002. Matthew Barney: The Cremaster Cycle, an exhibition organized by the Guggenheim Museum of artwork from the entire project, premiered at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, in June 2002 and subsequently traveled to the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in October 2002 before its presentation in New York.
fondazione merz i quaderni.3
format: 15 x 21 cm
date of publication: May 2009
images: 42 col.
This third quaderno is dedicated to Gino De Dominicis, as Andrea Bellini writes “can be considered one of the most emblematic and mysterious figures in the history of Italian art in the post-WWII period. He is still in many ways something of a mystery, surrounded by a legendary aura. De Dominicis was and remains an isolated case, a complex personality who always turned his back on the logic of groups and movements, cultivating a superior, noble, and solitary notion of artistic creation.”
i quaderni is a series of slender books aiming to inform the public of all the activities promoted by the Torinese institution. Each issue is based upon an event of particular importance – to be documented with images in a manner that is better and more comprehensive than the eventual catalogue – and so recreate the entire season of which it is a part, recording the gossamer threads the things of art follow. Threads that echo an interrupted dialogue with Mario Merz, with his works that are preserved and presented by the fondazione, and with his writings, an unpublished selection of which will be presented in each issue of i quaderni. Every quaderno will be rounded off with a section of Technical notes, with the lists of works exhibited, and a Chronology presenting, in synoptic tables, the complex itinerary packed with performances, readings, didactic activities, congresses, planned by the scientific committee which, alongside its president, Beatrice Merz, comprises Richard Flood (The New Museum, New York), Dieter Schwarz (Kunstmuseum, Winthertur) and Vicente Todolí (Tate Modern, London).