The focus of the exhibition is location; rather than placing the works in a traditional gallery space, the group applied to use the empty space on Zuretti road (a brand new used goods franchise). As the show progressed, the display area became more crowded day after day with new items for sale. Placed in the context of an exhibition where the majority of visitors would have been second-hand shoppers, the works were chosen and created in response to their display potential.
Vorrei non vederti oggi… is diverse and multi-directional, spanning sculpture, object assemblage and video. Some works are deliberately clunky and out of place, such as Derek Di Fabio‘s 59’ looped video archive titled ‘Shawl (Scialle – edition 2015)’ (2008-15) that places a TV monitor on top of a vending machine, or Michele Gabriele‘s ‘Holdy’ (2015), a sand and silicone rock sculpture leaning on a crate of bottles in the middle of the room.
In contrast, some of the works camouflage into the aesthetic of the commercial space like Diego Gualandris‘ oil on canvas painting ‘UAM’ (2015) or Lorenza Longhi‘s assortment of fabric, curtain, a necklace, zips and a USB hung on metal rings amongst other clothing titled ‘Empathy is performing (Orchids on the desk)’ (2015). The pile-up of varied practices —which also includes work by Alessandro Agudio, Benni Bosetto, Barbara and Ale, Costanza Candeloro, Giovanni Delvecchio, Matteo Nasini, Margherita Raso and Riccardo Sala —create an object-oriented dynamic between the canonical and maverick, the function of capitalist and/or art object, as well as the possibility for transformation and risk.**
Exhibition photos, top right.
The Vorrei non vederti oggi per vederti tutti gli altri giorni group exhibition was on in Milan, running September 26 to October 11, 2015.
The press release for Basic Instinct, running at London’s Seventeen Gallery from September 4 to October 2, doesn’t give much away. It’s a juxtaposition of two quotes, extracted from two quite different contexts. The first is from Eros The Bittersweet by Anne Carson, a passage which interrogates the concept of eros, its basis in the psyche of an infant, and the identification of desire as implicitly involved in lack. The second is the short section of dialogue from arguably the most famous scene in the film Basic Instinct (1992) in which Sharon Stone’s character Catherine Tramell uncrosses her legs and seductively quips, “I have a degree in psychology”.
The choice of these two quotes introduces us to the historically difficult to categorise concept of eros. On one hand, it points towards a set of concerns in philosophy and psychiatry which, as seems to be customary in academia, use the Greek god Eros as exemplar from which to build a theoretical position on love and desire. On the other hand eros is often used as shorthand for a sort-of classy sexual instinct. Indeed these two divergent approaches to eros can be found in Basic Instinct the exhibition, mainly intersecting with the tactility of materials as a form of eroticism. Curator Attilia Fattori Franchini has brought together ten artists, each of whose works contain some inclination towards the sensual.
Beatrice Marchi‘s framed pencil drawings point perhaps most directly to the concept of eros as the contemporary erotic –a purely sexual force –while attempting to undermine its seriousness. In ‘Oh, Summer!’ (2015) a spread-eagle woman lies on the floor, an electric fan blowing aside her pubic hair. In diptych ‘Signorina Culinski cresce’ (2015), one panel depicts a woman bending over in front of a mirror looking at her own ass. In the other she is drawing eyes onto her buttocks to reflect a crude face back.
The time-based works included seem to double the imagery of contemporary advertising techniques. Jala Wahid‘s single-channel video ‘I am a charm’ (2015) feels somewhat like an extended perfume advert, matching seductive high-resolution shots of peeled citrus fruit segments with similarly poetic text. Reija Meriläinen‘s ‘Stabbing’ (2014), depicts the penetration and probing of what seems to be a block of gelatin with instruments including a metal pipe and a knife, conducted on a pastel-coloured set and shot in slow motion. These two works approach the hyper-sensual –too clean to feel perverse. On the spectrum of the erotic, they are sex with a Real Doll.
Megan Rooney‘s ‘Doggy breath, finger deaf, mute, winking. A wink she could only do with the right eye’ (2015) is a pale, fleshy, and almost ten-meter long mural. It’s frantic while retaining its balance –gauged abstract marks, smoothly applied layers of paint, and pseudo-childlike scrawls play both off and with each other. At the opposite end of the painting spectrum, Zoe Barcza‘s deeply considered grids look ripped away from the cotton by even more considered trompe l’oeil techniques.
“Sex Sells”, as advertising executives know well. And while on one hand empowerment is meant to arise from claiming autonomy over our own deeply-held erotic inclinations, this power is simultaneously withdrawn from us as these desires are sublimated into advertising campaigns, designed to turn the production of eros into a marketing technique. In Basic Instinct, Franchini approaches this reality with varying degrees of critical distance. She places emphasis on the tactility of making or observing artwork as a sensual act, and one which is necessary to highlight the importance of art in turning away from the often banal mainstream idea of what can be considered erotic. Although some works in Basic Instinct feel like they are straining to prove their sincerity, those works which shine do so effortlessly and with confidence. Our basic instincts are obfuscated by the pallid eroticism of advertising culture. Perhaps in recognising this, and trying to articulate our own grammar, we can begin to engage in honest, maybe even radical, sensual encounters with the world. **
Routine, habits, and domesticity, repeated actions connected to ordinary everyday life. Exo, a project, curatorial program, and exhibition space in Paris run by Antoine Donzeaud and Elisa Rigoulet, presented Zombie Routine (exhibition photos, top right) at New Galerie, running March 12 to 26, with a selection of works that seem functional, decorative and familiar.
Zombie Routine features works by Bending Binding, Skye Chamberlain, Hadrien Gérenton, Beatrice Marchi, Jaakko Pallasvuo, and Jana Schröder. There’s a mixed media painting by Gérenton entitled, ‘Appetizer Painting (salted peanut)’ (2015) that elevates bottles from function to fine art as they gently protrude from canvases. Conversely, the artist aims to reduce the art object to the everyday in the installation ‘Object from the hand (glass bottles)’ (2015) as said containers sit on a small table like they would in one’s home. Meanwhile, Marchi unusually abstracts a chair and removes its utility by covering it with fabric and placing an oversized pillow on it, making it impossible to sit on in ‘Tiky, Budy, Aby Furnitures (Aby)’ (2014).
Other everyday objects lose their function such as the drawn-on air cooling systems made by Bending Binding entitled, ‘Kooling Systems (VNR TOC)’ (2015) and ‘Kooling Systems (Spiralz)’ (2015). A video about cats on social media networks and a tutorial on how to learn to mold ceramics loop in the gallery next to amateur paintings, travel bags, and forgotten packs of cigarettes. They’re the “ghosts of our obsessions, our daily routine zombies”.**