the revolution has to be done little by little part 3: stratification and rupture creative process as a form
aug 28 - oct 11_2012
(a four-step exhibition)
In his Practical Guide to Deviance, Guy Debord argued that one of the most effective strategies of social insubordination would be the appropriation, or diversion, of other people’s phrases and concepts, for revolutionary purposes. Debord identified several types of deviations, among them the minor deviation, in which the appropriate words or phrases do not have their own importance, but acquire it by virtue of the new context in which they are used, and mainly the misleading deviation, in which the appropriate concept is intrinsically significant, but takes on a different dimension and value from the new context in which it converges. The phrase that names the exhibition belongs, of course, to this second typology: taken from a recent interview with Paulo Mendes da Rocha, in its original context it referred to the need for a revolution in the methodologies of civil construction and, metonymically, in the city and in society as a whole. In the new context, the phrase maintains its fascination, but acquires other meanings, pointing, in the first place, to the constant need, for an art gallery, to transform itself, following the incessant changes of artistic production and (here also can- one would speak of metonymy, or even premonition) of society. Of course, the longer and more prestigious the gallery’s history, the more pressing and arduous this task becomes…
The revolution, says the architect, has to be done little by little. The works gathered here, at first organized into smaller and conceptually more cohesive sets, and finally rearranged based on other criteria in the final rerun, in fact suggest a prolonged revolution, one of those that do not enter the history books, perhaps not even the books of art. art history, for the simple reason that they don’t begin and end, they just happen. And in fact, the choice of themes for the first three stages of the exhibition responds exactly to the desire to look, from different but complementary points of view, at the same universe. It is not by chance, even, that most of the works could perfectly fit into more than one of these curatorial frameworks: the revolution is magmatic, fluid, like a river that is never the same, and that, however, never changes. The decision to divide the exhibition into stages, on the other hand, responds to the desire to break away from conventions, such as the one that dictates, for a gallery, the need to exhibit only “its” artists, or not to repeat the same work in a gallery. two exhibitions in a row, or even not trying to build a narrative that dares to expand beyond the few weeks that a conventional show lasts. Finally, get rid of the prejudices that could prevent revolution, the first of which, of course, is the convention that a revolution has to be quick, surprising and violent, when in fact it has to happen little by little, take as long as it takes. if necessary, occupy and change the world while no one is looking.
Stratification and rupture: the process as form
In 1985, the American artist and songwriter Christian Marclay published an unusual LP, Record Without a Cover, conceived to be sold without a cover, thus gradually incorporating, as an integral part, the risks inevitably caused by handling in transport to the stores and , successively, by its own use. In the musical field, Record Without a Cover can be considered a kind of homage to the theories and practice of John Cage, for whom alien and uncontrollable elements, first of all chance, played a fundamental role in the process that led to the definitive form of the work. . In recent art history, in turn, the LP without a cover can be related to a rich lineage of works, probably inaugurated by Marcel Duchamp’s 3 Stoppages Étalon (1913), in which the formal result is delegated, by the artist, to the own chance, based on an abstract procedure, defined a priori and followed to the letter. This modus operandi has been adopted, in recent years, by several artists, in many cases aiming at the production of works that, on the other hand, could be considered quite conventional in terms of support, format and technique used. By delegating responsibility for the formal result to the procedure conceived and adopted, production becomes almost automatic, even when physically performed by the artist. It is curious, in this sense, that, while the creative act is transformed into a mechanical process, over which, therefore, control should be absolute, the imponderable returns to insinuate itself through the crevices of creation, and it is the ultimately, to define the aspect of each work.
The collages from the series untitled (Horizons) (2011), by Nico Vascellari, an artist who, like Christian Marclay, also works as a musician, clearly show the fundamental role of chance in the works gathered here: when cutting, in fashion magazines, all images in which models appear on monochrome backgrounds, leave using only these funds, the artist arrives at unpredictable results of surprising beauty. At the same time, the almost geological process of stratification and solidification of the magazines points to the artist’s interest in nature as a source of primordial energies, evident in some of his earlier works, carried out in forests, and caves and other unconventional places. The idea of sedimentation, in its broadest sense, is the starting point for other works gathered here, such as Crayon Preto (2009), a set of drawings made by Carlos Nunes on paper of different formats (from A4 to A0) using, in each, a whole stick of crayon. In another work of his, Caneta Marcadora Azul 07 (2009), the layering takes place through the superposition of parallel lines, drawn without stopping until the ink is completely exhausted, resulting in a drawing curiously similar to that obtained by Carla Chaim in her Project for Systematic Linear Drawing. (2008-2011), where, however, the system that organizes the creation is strictly mathematical: following the numbering of the graph paper, the artist traces, in pencil, an increasing number of lines between the lines already printed, that is, that is, one line is drawn after line 1, two after line 2, and so on, until the moment when it is not physically possible to draw one without bumping into the previous one. The existence of this moment in which the system reaches its limit, and the progression breaks, or the ink runs out, is another characteristic that relates several of the works on display: to produce the prints of the We Support series (2012), for example, Runo Lagomarsino used the slides with this saying (initially they were all exactly the same) that, at the end of long-term exposure, they showed different degrees of discoloration. The differences between one image and another, once again, are mere chance, and the artist is only responsible for suspending the process, a fundamental gesture, however, for the process itself to become evident. But it is in the works of the FedEx series (2005-), by Walead Beshty, in which fragile objects are sent by FedEx with the purpose of arriving damaged at their destination, that the idea of rupture as the ultimate objective of the process becomes evident, as point that the moment (never witnessed by the artist) in which the piece breaks, is when it stops being a simple object to become a work of art. As in Record Without a Cover, the accidents on the way, theoretically accessory and secondary, reveal themselves to be, little by little, what induces us, and seduces us, to travel.
Jacopo Crivelli Visconti