We want to be stones in a field
by Giulia Gregnanin
“Do we have to be humans forever? Consciousness is exhausted. Back now to inorganic matter. This is what we want. We want to be stones in a field”.
The works in Marco Giordano’s solo show Suono Nudo at Tarsia, Naples express the drive to the articial articulated by the lmmaker Richard Elster in Don DeLillo’s novel Point Omega (2010). In dialogue with the young lmmaker Jim Finley, Elster – as a prophet of a new post-Anthropocene cosmology – reconnects his discourse to the notion of ‘point omega’, a term coined by French philosopher and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin referred to the highest level of transcendence. In line with Elster and DeLillo’s notions, transcendence corresponds with inorganic matter. In this scenario, humanity – after having exhausted all resources – is moved into the ineluctable reorganisation of power, action and control, towards extreme annihilation that corresponds to the trope of the “stones in a field”.
Inorganic fragments are lying in a space occupied and managed by the organic (both the plants and the human element that takes care of them), like stones in a eld. The sculptures renegotiate their presence ac- cording to their relationship with their surrounding ecosystem. They renegotiate it to the point of cutting out autonomies that are not commonly attributed to the object, such as sexuality.
Eight ceramic sculptures (all 2019) hint at phallic, vaginal and anal forms. They are dangling from the ceiling on thin chains with small, black bells hanging at their base. The work’s mobility, given by the hanging system that permits the occupation of the aerial space, unies with their sonority: the bells jingle vividly when people bump into them, as the ancient tintinnabula of Roman period. Between the phallic forms and the little bells, the tintinnabula has the function of a proto-alarm, warding off the misfortunes of the places where they are installed.
Here, these original attributes are reworked in favour of an erotic occupation of an audio-visual space. The genital pro les, with their sleek and polished surfaces as though design objects, remind one of dildos relegated to private erotism. The dildo is a universal erotic tool which stimulates and penetrates any ori ce and breaks with the phallocentric and heteronormative system that conceives the encounter between penis and vagina as the only tolerated sexual act, argued Paul B. Preciado in his Countersexual Manifesto. The dildo is “mechanic, non-violent, silent, bright, slick, transparent, ultra-clean, safe”. It is a simulation and an inauthentic, whose independence from the human makes it a technology of resistance towards the regulatory structures that control the bodies.
The field is also populated by other stones. A selection of sculptures part of the series asnatureasintended (2016) is placed between the vases and the plants that characterise Tarsia’s project space. They are representations of Giordano’s face in baked and polished clay, made by friends and acquaintances in a private session of live modelling. It is a sort of multi-hand portrait in which not only the artist’s features are xed, but also the unconscious self-projections and the interpretative models of each author. Weeds emerge from some of the holes on each of the heads. Commonly known for their parasite nature, weeds are paradoxically autonomous and functional in keeping the work alive and in continuous change. Activation is a pivotal element of Suono Nudo: during the opening night, each sculpture is activated by a performer who reads a poem by the artist. The sound element explodes into a voice that is both individual and collective; a “naked sound” that, as a sprint towards the orgasm, develops intensity whilst mufing to silence.
There is no single united standpoint as a standard sexuality does not exist – the exhibited works seem to communicate. It is in the interstitial space of the limit, and in its crossing, that the omega point manifests itself and we all are all rendered stones in a field.
Text by Giulia Colletti
An Interval of Yoctoseconds?
There is no such thing as an “instant”. Coordinates of time in a system are generally given by a real number. If you want to make calculations, this is reasonable. In philosophical terms though, there is no reason to adopt a notion such as an instant, which is a single point in time. At least, this is claimed by Peter Lynds, a theorist from New Zeland who has shocked the world of physics in 2003 with his controversial theory of time. Speculating from the intersection between philosophy and physics, he claims that there is no “now”, rather just a sequence of events. Peter Lynds positions his theory at the interstices formed by quantum mechanics: can time be separated into infinitesimal parts? No, reality is a temporal continuity. Just like having a sip of water. According to Lynds, human perception of time is just a neurological illusion, an effect of our brain perceiving reality.
It is not easy to understand whether such a theory is revolutionary or not. There is an imaginary interval, in which such unorthodox theories – scientific and not – reside. They might be anarchist notions, with seemingly contradictory features or they might just be stuck in an experimental phase. It is such a non-place, namely in a condition of possibility and constant re-imagination, that we position Conjunctive Tissue. This itinerant project of artist Marco Giordano, which has now reached its fourth iteration, is here presented as a monumental textile installation, unravelling from the main facade of a building overlooking Piazza Magione, one of the historical squares of Palermo. The black letters, sewn on the white fabric of a large banner, create the lines of a poem, echoing the notion of interstitium. This is a space of non-knowledge, perceived not in its physicality, but rather as a result of the attempts that shape the artistic gesture. In its initial phases, presented in the United Kingdom, Conjunctive Tissue drew upon spectators’ intuitions, which guided the artist in conceiving his work. This episode hosted by KaOZ in Palermo, questions the determinacy between the inside and the outside, challenging the porous nature of the public and private sphere, as well as the relationship between an action and the fluid time in which it exists. While in the previous series of banners, each visitor’s narrative left an impression and linguistic conjunctions became images, the arrangement of the lyrics by the artist now produces a visual potential, interpretable well beyond the semantic meaning of each word. Each letter stretches and curls on the white banner, producing its natural and irregular movement. The transparency of the fabric reveals how limits can be seen as condition of one’s perception. This latest work by Marco Giordano lies in between an intimate and a shared gesture, presenting itself as (in)organic matter through which a relationship with the public occurs. Unfolding on a private building, the banner is an intervention with-in the public space. We might refer to it as an unsite-specific experiment, as it is shared with the visitor – on this occasion a passer-by – beyond the coordinates of time. In his research, the work is a compromise between determined artistic values and those yet to be determined. If instances do not exist, then referring to them is not the most appropriate method to describe reality. In fact, it is in a continuous time and space that Conjunctive Tissue is expressed.
Peter Lynds’ theory of the continuity of time might sound heretical to the most experienced physicists. Although they do not accredit his theory, they still admit that the most exciting progress in the world of physics has occurred outside of its borders. And what is this “outside”, but an imaginary non-place, a potential interstice of permeability?
I’m Nobody! How are you?
Text by Giulia Gregnanin
PUBLIC LIKE A FROG
Pepe the Frog has died on May the 6th, 2017.
Laid to rest in an open casket, his Boy’s Club friends gather round to mourn. In a sort of post-mortem baptism, Brett, Andy and Landwolf pour out an alcoholic liquid which splashes onto his amphibian face. In the following and last cartoon bubble, they sadly remember their expired bud while drinking the remaining whiskey from a flask.
A good boy who became bad by hanging out with the wrong crowds (Nationalists, Alt-Right members, Nazi’s, Trump supporters), Pepe The Frog was born as a comic character and grew to become a meme. His creator, Matt Furie, was forced to commit a parricide in the public square as to put an end to Pepe’s pain, stuck in the quicksand of an ethical bog from which he could not escape. The frog’s failure could lead us firstly to reflect on the power of the images—that are capable of acting as humans. Secondly, we are lead to reflect upon the responsibility and the consequential weight of being a public figure.
THEY’D ADVERTISE, YOU KNOW
Being a public persona is often hard, and entails a constant control of self-display. We act as editors of ourselves, struggling with social media in a perpetual attempt to build up the perfect representation and fulfil the social expectations of an indeterminate audience. We are caught in a crossfire, as Claire Bishop noticed in Out of Body (2016): “we are perpetually surveilled and we perpetually self-perform for this gaze.”
This show-off is part of the vaster field of public performativity. According to Jean-François Lyotard (The Postmodern Condition, 1984), performativity is a mode of legitimization and a demonstration of power that marks capitalism (arguably amplified by neoliberalism). It is inextricably connected to efficiency and with measurable results. In our high-performance society, subjectivity must also be proficient, fitting within the western canon of good behaviour.
This is why we sometimes feel the need to distance ourselves and impersonate a “nobody,” the same nobody presented by Emily Dickinson in her poem I’m Nobody! Who are you? At first glance, the poetry may seem express a dichotomy between two entities: a private and selfless nobody and a loud and egotistical somebody. But the first stanza is a story of two nobodies who want to protect their identities. These two nobodies mistrust the crowded somebody, a lust and bright public sphere wherein the risk is to end up like Pepe: when the “nobody Pepe” was virally transformed in a “somebody-in-chief,” his identity was mangled, stretched, shifted and then banished from the users’ community.
HOW DREARY TO BE SOMEBODY
I’m Nobody! How are you? by Marco Giordano lies between and plays with the boundaries of nobody and somebody, private and public—two spheres that today are evermore gloomy.
Embracing a performative action far from auto-proclamation and closer to vulnerability and self-exposure, Giordano crosses Glasgow with a car while broadcasting a poem written by him. A megaphone installed on the car’s roof emits the voices of poets Michael Pedersen and Iona Lee as they read the text. The poem is also printed on flyers which Giordano hands out to pedestrians he encounters on the ride. Recalling the tools and the imaginary associated with propaganda, the artist puts forward the proposal of a countermovement: an “anti-propaganda,” where the vulnerability behind being in the public is unveiled, and where there is nobody left to persuade. The polis—not only in physical space but also in the public realm of a political community, according to Hannah Arendt—is the platform upon which the action is carried out: an open space free from the regularization and exclusivity of many indoor art spaces. Driving across the city, Giordano seeks to reach his public so as to invert the classic itinerary of the artistic pilgrimage that sees the public moves towards the art event.
The noise emitted may be associated with the croaking of the frog, and as such, with the necessity of being loud in order to affirm our presence.
THERE IS A PAIR OF US
The theme of noise is also present in the poem written by Giordano. It is a text that feeds off and pushes forward Dickinson’s considerations and idioms. The subject of the poem calls upon “more attention, more exposure, more judgement.” He expresses the need to be publicized and, most of all, liked. Soon it is introduced an internal addressee, a “you” with which the narrative voice starts to breathe and dance.
The first shared action symbolizes the most spontaneous transformation process acted out by humans, from the external to the internal and vice versa. “I” and “you” breathe the same air, inhaling the oxygen exhaled by the other, in a reciprocal biological penetration.
The latter is a communion between two monads that need to stick together in order to find energy. They start a natural and sensual dance of afflatus: “show me your tongue, inflate me, absorb me, our own light, our own moment, inside ourselves, inside me inside you, us.” This movement pulsates and grows until it breaks down, propagating throughout the environment as if the two subjects were sound waves—part of everything, part of nothing.
In this case, the self-performance is not subjected to the Bishopian public gaze, neither to the optimisation and productivity of the show-off as depicted by Lyotard. The two nobodies, together, are bodies (flesh, breath, humors) that compose a more-than-somebody. A realm of being far from the general rules and substantially aimless, where virtuality is kept out, the social choreography is mutated in a pas de deux, and Pepe could come back to croak again.
 Pepe The Frog is an anthropomorphic frog with a humanoid body. He is the main character of the comic Boy’s Cub (2005) by Matt Furie and from 2015 became an internet meme popular on 4chan and Tumblr for his sad, smug and angry faces. During the 2016 United States presidential election, the meme was connected to Donald Trump’s campaign.
 The first line has become one of the most popular of quotes and is often cited as the title of the poem, but in reality none of Emily Dickinson’s poems are titled. It was written in 1861 and first published in 1981 in Poems, Series 2.
Text by Giulia Colletti
Let it be Ungrammatical
Inventing an alternative use for words, sometimes illogical, to loosen the harness of conventional forms. According to Wittgenstein, here resides the premise of Sprachspiel (Eng. Language Game). The meaning of words is defined by the context where they are inserted. Their significance
is positional and not ‘essential’, generated by not theoretical, rather practical assumptions. What it matters is the use of language, this is its actual meaning. The array of uses is countless; among which there is Conjunctive Tissue, open-ended project activated by artist Marco Giordano. Playing with coordinating conjunctions, the artist explores multiple combinations of language, to create new relationships. He re- produces as many linguistic combinations as relationships he intertwined with visitors. Transposing these encounters into action, Marco Giordano establishes a common practice, positioning the audience as catalyst of the work.
Co-authorship is one of the pivotal aspects spurring from this form of action. No matter whether the public is asked to take part to a sculpture workshop, a reading session, or a drawing studio, any occurrence triggers a shift of meaning. In this sense, Marco Giordano fits the notion of anartist, as he does not foist his perspective on visitors. He rather aims to channel their multifocal aesthetics into a collaborative production. This energy spreads from an intimate one-off, where the audience becomes the player. Neither mastery nor talent is required, since the artwork
is just a reflection of contemporary lingos. Objects like collages and banners are reckoned as token of established encounters. The relation between the sign – in this case one of the coordinating conjunctions – and the significance is subjectively decided by visitors.
The contact occurs through the materiality of the artwork, which functions as connective between artist and public. The banner is (in) organic matter that meshes and forms the relationship. With its transparency, it does not subsume the different actors; it enhances their singular creativity.
On one hand, Conjunctive Tissue presents Marco Giordano’s latest research with reference to spatial interventions. On the other hand, it distances itself from a cyclical configuration. It must be seen as un-site- specific experiment to be boundlessly shared in time and space. In Marco Giordano’s research, what really matters is the process, conceived as the act of being here now. Either it discloses itself as the decomposition of vegetables in washing liquid (Looking Capitals, 2016) or the florescence of sculptures made by organic seeds (Self-Fulfilling-Ego, act III – Behavior, 2017). In Conjunctive Tissues, the transformational quality of language is the cue to investigate human exchange. As the language is a fluid system consisting in development, maintenance, and regeneration, so relationships – both human and organic – stand on equilibrium made of precarious conjunctions.
Interviewing “DUUUUDE”* by IL COLORIFICIO
(Michele Bertolino, Bernardo Follini, Giulia Gregnanin)
IL COLORIFICIO: Duuuude, we have finally found a peaceful moment to talk a bit about the exhibition. We could easily assert that in “Pathetic Fallacy” you have a central role. We would, therefore, like to ask you in what way, from your point of view, should one confront the question of anthropomorphizing. You know better than us how often this subject becomes susceptible to simplifications, possibly due to how closely it is connected to mythology, religion and as a result,
to literature and popular culture.
Duuuude: Shhh, ssshhh
IC: Another example that we could use is that of a storm. We say, “an ugly storm is coming” thus projecting a series of characteristics that are typically human on an external element whether it is organic or inorganic.
IC: On the other hand, retracing the fundamental passages of the reflection on anthropomorphism, it is impossible not to cite Feuerbach and his interpretation of God: the kind of concept formed
by human categories, but at the same time extremely distant from mankind, at least in its ontological-epistemological constitution. In short, the objectified and hoped-for essence of the human being. DU: Shhhhh, sssshhhhhhh
IC: Of course, but our unconscious need to project, our strenuous need to anthropomorphize as a means of remaining in our comfort zone, has since remained unchanged. It isn’t even marked by the theories regarding the decolonization of nature like the ones found in T.J. Demos’ Decolonizing Nature (Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2016). DU: SSSSSSSSSSHH, SSSHHHHHHHHH, SSSSHHHHHHHH
IC: Here we reach the main question: don’t you feel, in a way, as a slave of an instinctive visible colonization perpetrated by the visitor? In what way does it influence your identity and your perception of it? DU: Shhhh, shhh, shhhh, shhhh
IC: Can you describe your relationship with Marco? Do you consider it conflicting? DU: Ssshhhhhh
IC: Regarding the relationship with the other Duuuude, what makes you similar and what makes you different? DU: Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssh
IC: We understand well what you mean, but focusing more on the exhibition, do you consider that the atmosphere generated by the installation obliges us to think about which could be the primary elements, the cognitive backbone that leads us towards anthropomorphizing?
Is it what we could define – using the term loosely – as a “human minimum”? DU: Shhh, shhhhhh
IC: In conclusion, do you have any hope regarding a future decoding and reprogramming of those mechanisms that make our gaze biased in front of the external minimum gestures? DU: Shhhhh
IC: Don’t you feel at all like a man who is dancing? Be it an energetic ballet dancer or a schizophrenic clubber? DU: Sh
*The interviewee is one of the five “Duuuudes”, single elements made of silicone that together make up the installation exhibited in “Pathetic Fallacy”, Marco Giordano’s solo exhibition at il Colorificio.
Text by Stefano Collicelli Cagol
First flashback – Glasgow International Festival (2016)
Packed in transparent bags and immersed in toxic liquids with violent colors as those found on the containers next to the kitchen’s sink, the fruits and vegetables hold heavy jesmonite sheets. While they lay on the wall, their surfaces are crossed by edges in which one glimpses lenticular images of exotic countries, bought at the market of Porta Palazzo in Turin. Over the threshold of the display, a pineapple spurts water thanks to an irrigation system, the mechanism of which twists visibly within the exhibition.
Second flashback – “Cutis” Glasgow Project Room, Glasgow (2017)
Except for the ceiling, the space as a whole is enveloped by a transparent film, changed into blue, a material usually employed
to protect glass during transportation. An electric cable crosses the room, touching all the architectural elements of the space and activating a light as soon as a visitor walks into the exhibition.
Present – “Pathetic Fallacy”, Il Colorificio, Milan (2017) At Il Colorificio, Marco Giordano presents a project thought in relation to the space, as was the case with the previous exhibitions. The threshold is now a glass compass, found in what previously was the shop’s window. A violet film filters the sunlight which enters inside. Some LED plantation lights illuminate the exhibition space, with a light shade which is, as well, mostly violet. These lights are employed in greenhouses to phase the plants’ growth according to distributors’ and consumers’ aesthetic desires. Five long silicon strings make up the artwork called Duuuude, they link the floor to the ceiling, moved by a hidden force according to the rhythm of unknown sequences.
Silicone is one of the substances with the lowest organic material content that can be found today. Thanks to its elasticity, malleability and resistance it is used in several sectors: electronics, cosmetics, toys, the film industry, in different industrial sectors, and in the sex industry. It contains silicon, a material which is ubiquitous in the everyday technology.
In the space of Il Colorificio each string is put into action by an Arduino engine which recognizes only two types of movement – clockwise and counterclockwise – which can be recombined into infinite sequences. Due to its high percentage of inorganic material, silicone is not substantially affected by the variations in the space’s lighting.
The LED lamps favor some frequencies emitting the ones that are useful for regulating the development of organic substances. For this
reason, they used sheltered from the sunlight, in strictly controlled environments similar to laboratories. At the same time, their limited light spectrum influences the perception of our surroundings, producing an increasing disorientation. The three-dimensionality of the room, as our senses would
usually perceive it, becomes flat. Moreover, in Il Colorificio, the transparency of the thin silicone strings is bound to blend with the white walls, which are now large violet monochromes. This operation of spatial maquillage transforms the visitors into the only organic subject tests of this artificial laboratory of aesthetic reprocessing.
Duuuude appears to be a Hitchcockian McGuffin, a honey trap. The movement and title of the work induce us to project a sort of anthropomorphism towards these creatures. This is what “Pathetic Fallacy”, the exhibition’s title, seems to be referring to. It is a quote by John Ruskin, the English writer of the 1800’s, who referred to the tendency of the romantic poets of his country to attribute human characteristics to nature as a way of getting more acquainted with it. Although the silicone wires could be also mistaken for live creatures such as vines or cobras.
The exhibition’s mechanism works in the opposite way. It is confusing, it doesn’t attempt to make you understand what you do not know. Those who enter
are transformed into the real object of research. In a controlled environment, where the artistic intervention is kept to the minimum, Giordano inserts those elements that are deemed crucial for the transformation of an organic body according to aesthetic parameters. From the Sixties on, silicone and filtered light have contributed to the remodeling of the human body. The light absorbs the visitors, Duuuude and the spaces of Il Colorificio. Therefore, it is in contrast to the tendency of anthropomorphizing, that which is in motion within the exhibition, but isn’t immediately recognizable.
Maybe the title “Pathetic Fallacy” refers to something different. Keeping in mind Giordano’s previous projects, one could consider that what is at play here falls into the category of the abject. Hal Foster sustains that in the 80’s and 90’s the abject was always represented explicitly by contemporary artists – from Cindy Sherman to Mike Kelley – who considered reality as a traumatic event. In recent years though, the strategy has mutated and the abject seems to be
in absentia or better yet, it is no longer represented, but just evoked, absorbed or capable of absorbing anyone inside it. No longer solely connected to trauma, the reflection on reality in relation to the abject seems to refer to a more subtle psychological aspect: to the everyday pressure caused by the sensual regime, by the perpetual state of excitement of our potentia gaudendi – as foreseen by Paul B. Preciado – the pleasure our bodies can experience. The artist doesn’t limit himself to making visible what is invisible but uses the available technology and the exhibition as a space that institutionalizes the aesthetics of certain social and economic practices. This way, he reflects on the biological condition of the 21st century.
The rotten vegetables immersed in violent colors exhibited in Glasgow are now substituted by Giordano with the bodies of the visitors who are called to activate also this project once they have crossed the threshold.
Text by Martha Kirszenbaum
“Under the fallen boulder of an avalanche a flower grows. Over the shanty town the moon rises. I offer dramatic examples so as to insist upon the bleakness of the context. Reflect upon more everyday examples. However it is encountered, beauty is always an exception, always in despite of. This is why it moves us.” — John Berger, The White Bird, 1985.
In his infamous essay The White Bird, English novelist, poet and art critic John Berger employs the metaphoric example of traditional Eastern-European wooden white birds in order to assess the relationship between art, nature and the world. Convinced that “seeing comes before words, “ Berger, in his short and striking text, expands on the symbolic nature and figurative representation of the hand- made wooden figures, emphasising on the respect for the material used for the construction, the coherency of the bird with the culture it is produced in and the mysteries
of the hidden in the final form of the wooden statue. He provides us, the reader, with the unusual experience of the magical world of art and nature. Further on in the text, he ventures his opinion that art is irrelevant and undeserving unless and until it is used to portray and depict the social and political controversies of the society and to fight the injustice done to the common man.
For his project presented at Jupiter Artland, Italian- born and Glasgow-based sculptor Marco Giordano has used The White Bird as the starting point for his reflection and practice. Structurally composed of four movements— belief, thought, behaviour and result—the exhibition is rooted in a painting session during which amateur painters portrayed the faces of Robert and Nicky Wilson, the founders of Jupiter Artland, while the couple read John Berger’s above-mentioned essay. The result of the session led to the production of about fifty paintings, colourfully depicting ears, noses, hair and profiles of the Wilsons. Following Berger’s antinomian humanism, whose prose singularly compelled in its capacity to project presence and intimacy, Giordano’s approach seems to similarly expose and connect the owners of the exhibition space to theamateur audience, breaking and inverting the conventional boundaries and the expected hierarchy structures between those who own and those who dispose. Here, the powerless appear to have retrieved the control of representation and aesthetic judgement—qualities that are usually dedicated
to an artist. Marco Giordano elaborates here a relationship of power and interdependency between three poles: the owner, the audience and the artist, and this triangular correlation revolves around a self-fulfilling prophecy, or prediction, that indirectly seems to cause itself to become true, by the very terms of a positive feedback between belief and behaviour.
While the first movement of the project indeed leans on the notion of belief, the second part relates to the realisation of the project through the notion of thought. Inspired by the collected portraits produced by non- professional painters, Marco Giordano produced thirty sculptures representing ears, noses, mouths and hair; many of which are made of ephemeral or destructible material found on the estate of Jupiter Artland, such as mud and seeds, sponge and salt, coral and rope. The raw bareness of the material seems to evoke the practices of artists from the Arte Povera movement, whose sculptures and installations would be primarily made of natural, leftover and poor material. Beyond the fragility of the substance in Giordano’s body of work, what strikes the viewer is the anthropological quality of these objects, each of which is presented on a metal stand, and recalling a museum of anthropology or an alley of totems. In 1962, French ethnologist and anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss analyses the notion of “totemism” in his eponymous essay of the same title. Arguing that “totemism” is in fact an illusionary anthropological construction, Lévi-Strauss shifts from an approach focusing on the alleged universal features of totemic cults, toward the structural analysis of classification properties and dualist organisations, and proposes a system of relations divided between nature/ culture and individuals/group. In a comparable approach, ontological classification appears at the core of Marco Giordano’s project, as he seems to define and assemble them on the basis of which part of the face they suggest.
Arrangement and installation are the foundations of the third movement of the project, which the artist has entitled “behaviour”. Taking advantage of the large outdoor space of Jupiter Artland’s grounds, Giordano has disposed all his sculptures along a thirty-metre long trail, creating an avenue for the visitors to walk through. Not only the installation delimits a path of power to access the entrance of the historic grounds, as each sculpture could recall the figure of a guard, but Giordano has also arranged amongst his works two motion sensors that diffuse mist from each sculpture. The sprayed water aims at recreating a reproduction of power, using water as a parabola of wealth. The presence of unexpected moisture in the installation also refers to purification rites of cleansing, such as ablutions, frequently used in most religions to remove any type of uncleanliness or bad energy. This time, however, the rite is unconsciously activated by the visitors as they walk into the alignment of sculptures, once again reversing a structure of power and the dichotomy between active and passive actions. While the visitors expect to be taken on a journey, they are in fact propelled to the centre of the installation that cannot exist without their participation.
The result and fourth movement of the project is the book you are holding in your hands. It is the outcome of a revolving circle of interdependences and collaborations between different agents whose situations and predispositions would not lead to an encounter. This last phase closes a cycle composed of beliefs, thoughts and behaviours, and that was started by anonymous painters, developed by the institution’s owners, deepened by the artist himself and finally, activated by the audience, the visitors and the readers, that is to say, by yourselves.
Text by Antonia Alampi
The image on the invitation could act as a deterrent. The cult of domesticated nature (whether Chinese or Japanese, here in the form of a Buddha-pear coated in red) doesn’t want to assume any recognizable cultural guise. It wants to introduce something else. Because images, and not only Marco’s, always want something. They could be saying, for in- stance, that the effect of humanity over nature is so influential and by now so definitive that a new geological era is to be announced. They could be announcing: Ladies and Gentlemen the Holocene, the era we are accustomed to since 11.700 years, is over. Over! Over to make way for the Anthropocene through the fine particles of radioactive waste breaking up into the atmosphere thanks to nuclear bombing tests and to impossible stockings, via the chocking seas due to oceans of plastic, among the dust of billions of chicken (bones) dramatically bred in industrial batches.
Pause for a minute, and picture these images. And now, without forgetting them, try to let them go, and let yourself be guided by the will of new images all dressed in red.
Dream of this scene. There are (roughly) thirty non professional sculptors (read: amateur) around a man. He is white, male, Caucasian, with strong features, longish hair, a beard à la page, proba- bly in his thirties. This crowd is visually interpreting him, while having produced him conceptually. But, He, is an artist. Actually, much more than that. He, is (tadam!) the Artist.
Now get out of your dream and look at these heads. Those are him, them, those are us. All white, all male, all pretty. Maybe a critique to a Western patriarchal system, essentially Eurocentric? Or is it a reference to the ancient issue of the not centrality (and not exceptionality) of the artist? Wait, look a bit closer. There is also some weed (for disambiguation: not the one you smoke). Instead, that weed that sneaks in between marbles and granites, that reaches to the most preserved and precious things. We thought it was indomitable, chaotic by definition, when instead it is there be- cause he, the Artist, wanted it to be there. We thought it was insignificant, and instead it is here, crowning his and our head (or oeuvre?). The canonical parameters of value attribution reveal themselves in all their fictionality. Open your eyes, now, and reflect. The possible associations, here, should be your oeuvre.
But – the Artist tells you – excessive coherency often ends up being too obvious, unrealistc, un- natural. After all, also the realm of individual imagination has its stylistic rules. Now two panels, made out of sand, of bronze, of bronzed sand (or something along these lines) cover (what seem to be) moving images. The movement isn’t theirs, instead it’s mine, and it’s yours. We move, and they follow, in an incredibly simple and banal shift of prospective – the one that has, always and inescapably, the power to shape, to mold, things and the world. And under this cortex of chemical and physical layerings there she is, the image, impassive and present. But also she, the image, also she is shaped by me and you, despite the fact that her subjectivity, strongly independent from ours, has since long been ascertained. She doesn’t need to be entirely decoded. The image is whispered, insinuated, moreover stands on a potato and other edible fruits and vegetables. Here, a poem of surrealist memory seems to be taking place.
You are confused, I know, I am too. Also this is quite predictable. But finding a narrative, whether linear or complex, takes time, because the white little stones in the forest have been swallowed by global pollution, because most of your relationship with what is edible is mediated by supermar- kets and restaurants, because you know what sounds a wolf produces thanks to Wikipedia.
At the center of the world we still annoyingly find him, the man (the Artist?). So centered to have put the world at the margins, standing still, fragile, impoverished, and apparently powerless. Even if, we hope, still capable of imagination. Because its incredible and incomparable imagination will be the last to burn. Or maybe the only one to burn will be him, the man. And the world will have fun in reviving. Or it will revive the dinosaurs. And I wonder if this is what him, the Artist, wanted to tell us.