21 April – 20 September
Video Exhibition – “The Body is a Sacred Garment”
The video exhibition entitled The Body is a Sacred Garment, conceived by Beatrice Bulgari for In Between Art Film and curated by Paola Ugolini for the new cinema hall at the Museo Novecento (on the first floor), zooms in on the human body as the fil rouge uniting the works of eight international artists: Masbedo, Anahita Razmi, Lucy Harvey, Damir Očko, Silvia Giambrone, Marzia Migliora, Alessandro Piangiamore and Marinella Senatore. In the selected art films – which will be projected one after the other in a continual loop running in this readapted exhibition venue – the body at the centre of the enquiry is not only physical but also mental, a body that is the measure of our existence on this terrestrial plane, a body at times negated or represented only by a single anatomical detail that stands as a metaphor for more complex existential scenarios.
1. Masbedo- Until the End
With their work Until the End (2011), the Masbedo duo of Italian video artists (Nicolò Massazza – 1973, Milan and Jacopo Bedogni – 1970, Sarzana) begins a new thematic cycle, no longer narrative, no longer characterised by extenuating struggles for affirming one’s human individuality, but calculated to deliver, with a single moving image, a universal message defined by the artists as a ‘condemnation’ or ‘sentencing by magnitude’. Backed by black, a ballerina struggles against the force of gravity to raise herself from the floor. The video shows us only the detail of her bare feet as she tries to push herself up onto her toes. This gesture, all things considered extremely primitive, on the one hand symbolises physical elevation but on the other could be interpreted as a metaphor for overcoming social barriers.
2. Anahita Razmi – Middle East Coast West Coast
Daughter of a German mother and an Iranian father, Anahita Razmi is a visual artist who lives and works in Hamburg but maintains a special relationship with her father’s country of origin, as we see in the video entitled Middle East Coast West Coast (2014) in which the artist revisits the East Coast West Coast 1969 video interview by Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson.
3. Lucy Harvey – Guide to Life III (b) Productive Living (Emotional Well-Being) 4. Entertainment Strategies for Those Living Alone
In Guide to Life III (b) Productive Living (Emotional Well-Being) 4. Entertainment Strategies for Those Living Alone (2000) English artist Lucy Harvey (Nantwich, 1967) films her index finger as it traces the outlines of a room from ceiling to floor. In her work, the artist often has recourse to unconventional actions and/or materials to stage the human condition.
4. Damir Očko – DICTA II
The works of Damir Očko (Zagabria, 1977) are open invitations to explore the complexity of language and the manner in which the neurophysiological system manages to create it so poetically. His works oscillate between desire and privation, reality and fiction. In his video entitled DICTA II, the artist explores the concept of nonsense through a reading of a series of ‘safe words’ collected from various BDSM forums. BDSM is the acronym for Bondage, Domination (or Discipline), Sadism, Masochism and refers to a vast array of relational and/or erotic practices that permit sharing fantasies based on pain, imbalance of power and/or humiliation between two or more consenting adult partners who draw from them satisfaction and pleasure. Spoken in a flat tone of voice, bare of pathos, these words form a sort of distorted dictionary, organised according to a cryptic method which nonetheless imitates the architecture of a nonsense language.
5. Silvia Giambrone – Sotto Tiro
For her works, young artist Silvia Giambrone (Agrigento, 1981) draws inspiration from her life; she does not look for answers but rather poses a great many questions; violence interests her. Violence as a domestic ritual. Something so interior to the fabric of life as to no longer be recognised as violence. Giambrone focuses on the powerful, but submerged, friction points that tend to slip through the cracks, to go unrecognised. In the 2011 video Sotto Tiro, the artist is framed from the shoulders up, against a neutral backdrop, while a laser pointer moves over her head and décolleté without granting her a moment’s peace.
6. Marzia Migliora – Forever Overhead
An athletic body, no longer young, is the protagonist of the video by Marzia Migliora (Alessandria, 1972) entitled Forever Overhead (2010) in which the camera concentrates on the perfect movements of a diver who from a standing position on a diving board dives, arching, into the water below. The body traces a parabolic curve: in its ascent/descent, the arc metaphorically alludes to the complete cycle of a life, which from the moment of birth describes a parabola inevitably destined to sink and end.
7. Alessandro Piangiamore – Around an Empty Shell
For Alessandro Piangiamore (Enna, 1976), any explanation of his work would tend to pose limits to its evocative potential; the work is made of images and, in the artist’s words, ‘images are by their very nature difficult to communicate’, they are like ‘portents’ which can only be evoked. In Around an Empty Shell (2014), the camera frames a close-up of the artist’s hands holding a shell with an iridescent surface as he incessantly grates it with a switchblade knife. This action, probably senseless but physically demanding, reflects the elusive mental process that characterises Piangiamore’s practice of art.
8. Marinella Senatore – The School of Narrative Dance, Ecuador
The art of Marinella Senatore (Cava dei Tirreni, Salerno, 1977) is entirely relational; this globe-trotting artist has always worked in contact with entire communities which become the protagonists of her creative process. Anyone can participate in Senatore’s projects, using the platforms she has created in many manners and reformulating the roles of author and public. In 2013 she founded The School of Narrative Dance, focusing on the idea that ‘storytelling’ is an experience to be investigated choreographically, to be taught and learned in defiance of hierarchies, with the intent to create true communities and making use of a totally ‘free’, non-schematic teaching method. The school, ‘nomadic’ and free of charge, transforms in accordance with the spaces it temporarily occupies, proposing an alternative educational system based on emancipation, inclusion and self-training.