Fondazione Merz
  • Push the limits

    edited by Claudia Gioia e Beatrice Merz
    texts by Claudia Gioia, Beatrice Merz, Maura Reilly, Paul Mason e Manuel Borja-Villel
    pages: 232
    format: 23 x 27 cm
    published: December 2020
    images: 114
    binding: hardback
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572844



    €55,00

    Push the Limits is the volume that ties in with the group exhibition of the same name currently in progress at the Fondazione Merz. The book is more than just a catalogue and illustrates an all-female art project. The curators, Claudia Gioia and Beatrice Merz, invited seventeen internationally renowned artists to take part in Push the Limits: Rosa Barba, Sophie Calle, Katharina Grosse, Shilpa Gupta, Mona Hatoum, Jenny Holzer, Emily Jacir, Bouchra Khalili, Barbara Kruger, Cinthia Marcelle, Shirin Neshat, Maria Papadimitriou, Pamela Rosenkranz, Chiharu Shiota, Fiona Tan, Carrie Mae Weems and Sue Williamson. Page after page, the reader can immerse himself in the exhibition through the images and essays by the curators and Maura Reilly, Paul Mason and Manuel Borja-Villel, and into the search for a language capable of narrating the present. In addition to providing further insight into the work on display and the current projects of the seventeen artists, Push the Limits also collects their photographs, drawings, film suggestions, excerpts from books and other suggestions. A polyphony of signs and experiences whose imagination speaks to us of the ability to bring all those realities that are ‘beyond’ to the threshold of thought: a publishing ‘happening’ of culture and life.
  • Petrit Halilaj. Shkrepëtima

    texts by Leonardo Bigazzi, Beatrice Merz, Nina Zimmer, Petrit Halilalj, Sala Ahmetaj
    pages: 160
    format: 23 x 27 cm
    date of publication: May 2019
    binding: hardback
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572769



    €35,00

    This catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition Petrit Halilaj. Shkrepëtima curated by Leonardo Bigazzi and held at Fondazione Merz from 29th October 2018 to 17th February 2019. “In recent years, Petrit Halilaj has succeeded in transforming his own biography and the recent history of his nation, Kosovo, into living matter for his works. Despite working with a public and collective dimension, his work often originates from a personal experience, and is usually the result of an intimate process shared with the people dearest to him. Using sculpture, video, performance and drawing, Halilaj has developed a deep reflection on the construction mechanisms of cultural identity, on the value of memory and on the role of art in the shaping of collective consciousness in contemporary society. Shkrepëtima is a project which also includes the solo exhibitions at the Paul Klee Zentrum in Bern and the performance that was held in the ruins of the former Runik Culture House, which for over thirty years had been the symbol of the cultural identity of its citizens. The whole community was involved in the project, through presentations, meetings and a workshop with elementary school students. The last stage of the entire project was the re-contextualisation in the form of sculptures and monumental installations, of the sets, costumes and props of the performance in the exhibition space of the Fondazione Merz in Turin. The images of the performance are shown in a single-channel video (Shkrepëtima, 2018) in which parts of the 4K filming of the performance alternate with those made by the artist in a more subjective manner with his Go-Pro inside the ruins of the House of Culture before the redevelopment. This kind of film, deliberately of an ‘amateurish’ style, is an integral part of Halilaj’s research process and constitutes today most of his video production. Each project generates dozens of hours of footage made by the artist, often for documentation purposes, and in most cases is not used in the production of a work. We might add that the title Shkrepëtima summarises the very essence of the artist’s vision. Art can be a ‘spark’ able to restart a process of reflection on our identity, and represents an opportunity to imagine alternative hypotheses where today’s politics and current economics have already clearly failed. The fate of Runik’s House of Culture remained uncertain, but following the performance the Ministry of Culture ordered the inclusion of the building in the list of property declared to be of national interest, guaranteeing its future restoration. In recent years, Halilaj’s work has therefore sought concrete solutions to real problems using not only the freedom, but also the economies of the art system. Everyone should have the right to have access to beauty, not just those who can afford to enter a museum or live in a Western city. Albeit in different contexts and on different scales, the processes recall the practice of socially engaged artists like Theaster Gates. By intervening directly on the processes of construction of the collective history of his community, and by bringing it closer to its origins, Halilaj proposes a universal reflection on the potential of art and its power to transform reality. But also on the fundamental role it can play in building a people’s historical awareness and in managing the responsibilities of memory, so that this be inclusive and therefore able to reject a nationalist rhetoric. Starting from the story of a small country seemingly far from us, Halilaj reminds us that only through a deep awareness of our past can we assume the correct responsibility to build the future.” (Leonardo Bigazzi)
  • Petrit Halilaj. Shkrepëtima

    with a text by Leonardo Bigazzi
    pages: 24
    format: 23 x 27 cm
    date of publication: October 2018
    binding: paperback
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572745



    €5,00

    This small publication has been printed on the occasion of the exhibition Shkrepëtima by Petrit Halilaj (29 October 2018 - 17 February 2019) held at Fondazione Merz.   The Shkrepëtima project presented at the Fondazione Merz continues the artist’s investigation into the historical roots of Runik, the little Kosovar town in which he grew up, from its Neolithic origins to its recent past. The exhibition is the culminating and conclusive moment of the project, entirely produced by the Fondazione Merz. The first and fundamental chapter of the project was the performance held on 7 July 2018 in the ruins of the Runik Culture House, which for over thirty years had been the symbol of the cultural identity of its citizens. This show was followed by another, at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Berne, Switzerland (20 July - 19 August 2018). The exhibition presents a new series of sculptures and monumental installations that re-contextualise the settings, costumes and stage props of the performance inside the exhibition space. In the work of Halilaj the ruins of the Culture Centre take on a voice to recount history, becoming the expression of a precise will to remember the past in a context in which the desire for removal of memory is very strong. Through his dreamlike and visionary language, Halilaj has achieved a surprising balance between the weight of the history of these fragments and the physical lightness arising from their suspension. Inside the Fondazione Merz, a former 1930s industrial structure, the artist has reconstructed the proportions and volumes of Runik’s Cultural Centre using the wooden stage sets of the performance. Halilaj has managed to relate the two buildings and two very different realities, which certainly represent a point of reference for the communities that were born and grew around them. His intervention reminds us not only of the centrality of the places of memory in the construction of our identity, but also that their potential is not necessarily limited to a city or a nation, and can be expressed in various forms, generating a space of shared reflection.    
  • Mario Merz. Sitin

    with a selection of texts by Mario Merz
    pages: 24
    format: 23 x 27 cm
    date of publication: July 2018
    binding: paperback
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572721



    €5,00

    On the 50th anniversary of the protest movements of 1968, this exhibition provides food for thought concerning a period full of creative ferment, which triggered new processes of transformation and renewed vision of the future. The artist experienced this period as a protagonist, together with many of his travelling companions, with the aim of redefining the cultural and ideological canons. The exhibition presents a dozen works created by Merz between 1966 and 1973. This change involved all the arts, from literature to music, theatre, cinema and, of course, the visual arts, which have seen such significant movements coexist such as minimalism, arte povera, land and conceptual art, simultaneously contrasting the then emerging American art with the European scene. It has generated a climate rich in extraordinary sensitivity, a new existential model based on a constant commitment to the concept, presentation and distribution of the art of one’s own time: breaking through the object, a constant and direct control at all times, a shift of art into life, a passionate, multi-faceted and supporting art. The exhibition becomes a story, therefore, suspended between the historical, the political and the poetic, a narration that starts from the words of Mario Merz himself and presents some of the most important works of those years that have become icons of his artistic career. Continuing the Fondazione’s ongoing programme dedicated to the work of Mario and Marisa Merz, this exhibition, Sitin by Mario Merz is the latest in the series of thematic presentations of his work. Previous exhibition themes include: drawing in 2010; pictorial production and its link to architectural design in 2011; and most recently, in 2016, La natura è l’equilibrio, which focused on the relationship between nature and culture. This publication offers a view of the exhibition at the Fondazione together with a selection of texts by Mario Merz on show.  
  • Fatma Bucak. So as to find the strength to see

    texts by Lisa Parola, Maria Centonze, Fatma Bucak, Kaya Genç, Gianmaria Ajani
    pages: 168
    format: 14,5 x 21 cm
    date of publication: April 2018
    binding: hardback
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572707



    €25,00

    The catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition So as to find the strength to see held at Fondazione Merz from 6th March to 27th May 2018. “Examining the work of Fatma Bucak is like looking down on a deconstructed map. Here we find trails travelled and then cancelled out, landscapes designed and then abandoned, a geography that continually redraws itself, intertwining facts and biographies, erased events and non-identities. In the artist’s recent work, these landscapes expand from Turkey to Syria and North Africa and then reach Europe and the United States with the aim of investigating a political framework that is particularly difficult to define. The artist’s research can be understood as a constantly evolving visual practice that refers directly to the etymology of the Greek verb prássein, the meaning of which is not limited to making or doing but also picks up the idea of travelling, walking, crossing.” (Lisa Parola, Maria Centonze) “The place [Fondazione Merz] has huge, white walls and the light travels from right to left; it smells of cement. It was cold, imperfect, and fascinating. Voices echo within it and join together to become a confusion. While I was walking within the space I thought of how the dominance of its industrial nature was meeting with different art, and each time giving a new identity to the place. It is a difficult, stubborn, and ravishing setting – that was my first impression of walking in it. On the industrial outskirts of Turin has its own industrial character, its relationship with the city through industrialisation and the working class movements that shaped it; the very fact that the space was once a thermal power station for a car company. Most importantly its relation to Mario Merz and arte povera made me think about a conceptual and physical place that is at once collective and individual, that has traces of its own imperfect self and historical memory, of war and fascism – those relationships that are strongly tied to politics and mediate between land and culture. The desire to look to this inhabited place and investigate the fragility and tension of history was inevitable for me. To resist to conventional narratives about an “open-ended” resilient place and this time have it become home to my art.” (Fatma Bucak)   “With characteristic buoyancy of spirit, Bucak called this exhibition So as to find the strength to see. Five years after the fall of the Turkish spring, she wonders if we can smell the roses of a country besieged by forces with conflicting agendas and a shared love of violence. Lands that today reek of gunpowder can once again smell of roses. This is the vision we are asked to find the strength to see.” (Kaya Genç)   The catalogue reproduces the photographic documentation of the exhibition at the Fondazione Merz and a selection of Bucak‘s works to nowdays. A conversation between the exhibition curators and the artist explores the site specific installation at the Fondazione Merz. The book also includes a specially commissioned text by Kaya Genç (a contributor to The New York Review of Books and the author of Under the Shadow, I.B. Tauris), and a short essay by Gianmaria Ajani (Professor of Private Comparative Law, University of Turin).
  • Carlos Garaicoa. El Palacio de las Tres Historias

    texts by Leonardo Padura and Claudia Gioia
    pages: 252
    format: 14,5 x 21 cm
    date of publication: January 2018
    binding: hardback
    language: Italian/English
    isbn 9788877572691



    €35,00

    The catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition Carlos Garaicoa. El Palacio de las Tres Historias held at Fondazione Merz from 30th October 2017 to 4th February 2018. “El Pensamiento as logos and affection, word and intention, memory and distance, history and attention, metaphor and irony; this is the common thread that Carlos Garaicoa has for years spun with his art. Critical space and enchantment are the prerequisites while the multitudes and the metropolis constitute the adventure from which to draw nourishment […] El Palacio de las Tres Historias focuses on this form of seduction and consensus emanated by architecture. Turin is an emblematic city for concatenations and historical events. Tied to a double tour of industry, he learned about the development and acceleration to slump and decommissioning of industry in the twentieth century and on to the current transformation. Changes in social structure and attitude have changed but history has not passed without trace, leaving tangible signs that identify memories and strains that are in many cases still open-ended. The architecture of the city is like a catalogue index and at the same time a summary of the themes to be developed. As already in Havana, Garaicoa begins to travel around Turin, following suggestions and gathering information and taking note of encounters, photographing abandoned factories and buildings from the rationalist period, finding himself by chance in working-class neighborhoods, where he observes the symbols, enters spaces intended for reuse, listens to stories. What is already known to him serves to establish coordinates but the real compass guiding him is what he does not yet know. The idea of the Palace takes shape from this collection of astonished moments, interrupted journeys, ambitions reduced, bets won and then reimbursed. The need to bring together the distant and the present pushes towards the creation of a new display containing all the information, where it is possible to go back to look at what seems all too well-known and note all the ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ and ‘thens’ of history that have survived to the present day. So what is needed is a building where it is possible to gain access to everyone, where information is available without the need for precise objectives, where one can stop, read, observe, listen, comment, enter and exit but above all walk to follow in the footsteps of Carlos Garaicoa’s adventure. A non-rhetorical building to talk about the constructive rhetoric on which modernity has been founded. The Palace therefore started to shudder. A suspended waltz of stairs, glass, steel to bite at the heaviness, vapourise matter and open to the immense reserve of questions and desires. It has become a square, an open space, an agora, a theatre; in short, a city.” (Claudia Gioia) The catalogue reproduces the photographic documentation of the exhibition at the Fondazione Merz and a selection of Garaicoa‘s works from the 1994 to 2017. A text by the exhibition curator Claudia Gioia enlightens the dialogue between art and architecture, exploring the site specific installation at the Fondazione Merz. The book also includes a specially commissioned text by acclaimed Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura.