Contemporary Art
  • MASBEDO. Todestriebe

    texts by Olga Gambari, Michel Houellebecq, Michel Maffesoli, Beatrice Merz, Chantal Nava, Walter Siti and Monique Veaute
    pages: 192
    format: 14,5 x 21 cm
    date of publication: November 2014
    binding: hardbook
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572585



    €30,00

    This catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition Todestriebe by MASBEDO (Nicolò Massazza and Iacopo Bedogni) held at Fondazione Merz from 3rd October 2014 to 11th January 2015. “The mantis waiting in the shadows is a still taken from the latest video by the Masbedo, entitled Todestriebe, which means death wish, a concept identified by Freud as an unavoidable aspect of the human unconscious, which aspires to the enjoyment rather than to one’s well-being. […] Todestriebe is also the title of the exhibition that Iacopo Bedogni and Nicolò Massazza are presenting at the Fondazione Merz, because it is an instinct that permeates every work in their exhibition project. Conflict, dramatic relationships, loneliness all appearing together in an atmosphere of aggression and passiveness. It seems that life itself is cannibal by definition, like a kind of mantis. The vision of all this is a real, deep, titanic lack of communication, a silence that comes like a glaciation and envelops the universe, with all its protagonists, organic or otherwise, including the gods and the space beyond the known world. The Masbedo speak of this vision by creating a sensible appearance dense with perceptions, forging a mythical and hallucinatory imagery, which speaks an ancestral language in which many elements have been absorbed. They stage universal stories forged into visual icons, with a hybrid language which, within the moving narrative, merges the styles of other artistic alphabets in a continuous creative and technological experimentation. […] The exhibition at the Fondazione Merz is a long journey that involves the city with several other initiatives. The observer enters and follows a story done in stages, which traces out the last twelve years of the artists' work and offers a debate on the issue of incommunicability as a characteristic aspect of the human condition. Historical works and other, new, ones explore breaking moulds and experiments in the light of what they call “technological humanism”: artistic research as a critical investigation of the anthropocentric dimension exasperated by postmodernism, in the context of new media. A theme that has been developed by the artists at the workshop conducted at the Holden School with a group of students including pupils from the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti, the results of which were presented at Artissima. The Fondazione is transformed into a place of apparitions, parables of contemporary mythology. The screens and projections are presented as entrances, as living narrative elements. The works in the exhibition investigate the idea of contemporary failure, an aphasic emptiness born of the impossibility of relationship and communication with oneself, first of all, and then with others and with society, but also with history and nature”. (Olga Gambari) This book reproduces the photographic documentation of the exhibition and it is enriched by texts by Olga Gambari, Michel Houellebecq, Michel Maffesoli, Beatrice Merz, Chantal Nava, Walter Siti, Monique Veaute.  
  • Elisabetta Benassi. Voglio fare subito una mostra

    texts by Maria Centonze, Beatrice Merz, Luca Lo Pinto e Olaf Nicolai
    pages: 96
    format: 14,5 x 21 cm
    date of publication: November 2013
    binding: hardback
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572561



    €25,00

    The catalogue was published on the occasion of the Voglio fare subito una mostra exhibition featuring Elisabetta Benassi at the Fondazione Merz running from 15 May 2012 to 8 September 2013. “The exhibition is divided into different moments, starting with the large installation of the fishing boat ’beached’ in the rooms of the Fondazione with a car hanging from its stern (Mareo Merz, 2013). Months earlier, a newspaper report contained the image of a boat whose swollen nets contained another boat. The artist mentally appropriated this surreal vision, processed it and returned it, rich in new content. Elisabetta Benassi’s research always leads to the discovery of what time has allowed to sediment in things: not only the visible traces of the processes of transformation of matter, but the soul of things given to them by those who have owned them or only lived in them for brief periods, imbuing them with moods, laughter, sleep and exhausting vigils. [...] And here, after ten years, a car, one belonging to Mario Merz, re-emerges from the memory of many. The big boat wraps it in its nets, keeping it suspended. This has nothing in common with the lives of so many people who could say so much about that boat. But stories intertwine, even if only for an instant or for a few months, and can become a shared history; objects come together because of a will that is the result of a thought, the result in turn of reflections that cross the path of many. After having spent a long time looking at all this, and with a mental gap of a few decades and a few thousand kilometres, we stop in front of the small image of a Vietcong taking shelter beneath a black umbrella. Camouflage? (2013). But what is he sheltering from? From the sun or from the cruelty of a war that has lost its meaning before it even had one? Many of us have lived through that war, from a long way off, of course, but we heard its echoes clearly and defined the unease of an incomprehensible world through it. On the floor, Mario Merz’s neon Solitario Solidale (1968) underlines the virtual closeness to the solitude of the soldier cause by an intolerable event. Intolerable like the too many ghost factories haunted by the reverberations of noises lost in time, when the tables of the workers’ canteens used to echo with the noises of a meal consumed in a hurry and with the desire for the day of hard work on the assembly lines to end quickly. The bare, immaculate table in Pausa lavoro (2013) that Elisabetta Benassi has reproduced, evoking Merz’s Fibonacci Napoli (1971) with its canteens closely packed with workers in Naples, perhaps accommodates once again the idea of the ghost that remains in everything that has willingly or unwillingly become history. A deafening motor reproduces and imitates the sounds of chairs moved randomly by the workers who leave them to rush to their workplaces in an alienating, though indispensable, job. [...] The artist’s exhibition continues in this key, trying to capture through objects the thought that they conceal, restoring universality to the fragmentation of everyone’s emotions and writing for all the story of everyone and the story of all for each”. (Maria Centonze) The book reproduces the photographic documentation of the exhibition and is enriched with texts by Maria Centonze, Beatrice Merz, Luca Lo Pinto and Olaf Nicolai.
  • Alfredo Jaar. Abbiamo amato tanto la rivoluzione

    texts by Nanni Balestrini, Luigi Fassi, Claudia Gioia, Beatrice Merz
    pages: 264
    format: 14,5 x 21 cm
    date of publication: November 2013
    binding: hardback
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572578



    €35,00

    The 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.
  • arte povera DVD

    edited by Beatrice Merz, Sergio Ariotti
    DVD (PAL), 28’30’’
    date of publication: October 2011
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572363



    €25,00

    This DVD reintroduces the essential 2000 VHS video documentary Arte Povera by Sergio Ariotti and Beatrice Merz, a complete, chronological overview of the radical–and defiantly unglamorous–Italian “poor art” movement that arose in the late 1960s to contest the separation of art and everyday life. It presents ample archival material from all the significant group exhibitions–from the three-day event Arte Povera + Azioni Povere at Amalfi of 1968 to the Venice Biennale of 1997–along with footage of recent solo exhibitions and interview clips with founding member and art historian Germano Celant, and a range of other artists, critics and gallery directors. Arte Povera presents the movement in all its complexity, and includes such participants as Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Gilberto Zorio.
  • Simon Starling. The inaccessible poem

    texts by Simon Starling, Jacob Lillemose, Guillermo Faivovich, Nicolás Goldberg, Hernán Pruden, Maria Centonze
    pages: 60
    format: 16 x 22 cm
    date of publication: 2011
    images: 34
    binding: paperback
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572530



    €35,00

    The 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.
  • Kara Walker. A negress of noteworthy talent

    texts by Olga Gambari, Luca Morena, Richard Flood, Rebecca Walker, Rebecca Harris-Perry, Jennifer Richeson, Roy Sorensen
    pages: 207
    format: 14,5 x 21 cm
    date of publication: September 2011
    images: 83
    binding: hardback
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572516



    €30,00

    This 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.