14 Feb 2019

Kisses and hugs: “the other” Valentine’s Day at the museum

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Where and when

14February 2019



Free admission subject to availability

From the conference on kisses and hugs in the history of art to the site-specific installation “Fragments of a Love Speech” by David Reimondo, up to the collective performance that analyzes the relationship between male and female.

A special Valentine’s Day is staged on Thursday 14 February at the Museo Novecento in Florence. No red roses or candlelight but three sequential appointments that invite deep reflection on love and relationships.

The day opens at 5 pm, with Kisses and Hugs, a conference show designed to celebrate and celebrate the word love, during which the artistic director of the Museum, Sergio Risaliti, will illustrate some of the most famous images of kisses and hugs in the history of art: from Bronzino to Courbet, from Canova to Schiele, from Rodin to Picabia, from Gone with the Wind to Titanic.

At 6 pm, inauguration of “Fragments of a loving discourse” site-specific installation by David Reimondo curated by Gaspare Luigi Marcone, first appointment of the Ora et labora cycle, conceived by Sergio Risaliti, which invites a contemporary artist to develop a work for loggia of the Museum. In this case, Reimondo has made a reflection on the famous writing by Roland Barthes Fragments of an amorous discourse. The French intellectual, with his theories on language and signification, has become a point of reference for semiology and literary criticism involving other sciences such as psychoanalysis and sociology.

The installation Fragments of a loving discourse (on display until May 28) is a site-specific work for the loggia of the Novecento Museum consisting of a metal mesh with about 11 thousand LEDs; the “grid”, large (1.30 × 20 meters approximately), is assembled and welded in a traditional way while the LEDs carry a message aimed at current events. On this “big screen” the “fragments” of the new “symbols” elaborated by Reimondo aggregate and disintegrate. In fact, the artist, evoking some sections of Barthes’s volume, created video footage using natural seeds which, arranged to create a “symbol” of his, were then broken up by the breath of air from a compressor. These shots were transferred to a digital file in order to see the “moving images” projected on the LED network. Basically on this screen the symbols of “embrace”, “heart” or “magic” are rhythmically composed and disintegrated with a movement that starts from the “heart” of the installation towards its sides with a continuous rhythm of opening and closing. The “natural seeds” coexist with the “artificial seeds” that is the LEDs; these fragments fully define the artist’s symbols only if the work is viewed from afar while, approaching, a light mosaic of metal and almost indecipherable lights emerges. In an era in which technology is associated with the production of “flawless” industrial and serial design objects, the artist has instead chosen craftsmanship, given by a meticulous manual work that remains imperfect with some traces of randomness.

At 6.30 pm, space for And Whatever I Do Will Become Forever What I’ve Done, performance by Silvia Cogotzi, Lori Lako, Chiara Macinai, Dania Menafra, Zoya Shokoohi, curated by Sergio Risaliti, realized thanks to the contribution of the Departments of Equal Opportunities and Youth Policies of the Municipality of Florence.

Inspired by the verses of the Polish poetess Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska, the performance is held in the loggia on the first floor of the Museo Novecento and in the rooms that house the Alberto Della Ragione collection. In the loggia there are five white columns, composed solely of sheets. Each of these has a very specific height, corresponding to the stature of each artist, while on the second floor of the Museum, a large surface of gold leaf will be carefully watched over by men arranged in a circle. The paper columns want to be the symbol of a female experience made up of suspended answers, in fact the questions proposed in the sheets that structure them are parts of an empty questionnaire never administered, and the user’s hand becomes the master of “consuming” the columns or leaving them there, intact. The gold leaf, on the other hand, is of such delicacy that the brief inattention of a single man can irreparably damage its integrity. In this way, the artists have decided to tackle the theme of love from a totally new point of view with respect to the common way of looking at this day, placing a deeper reflection on the relationship between male and female with the consequent distribution. of responsibility and opportunity.

Art is a powerful social communication tool to raise awareness on respect for human rights – said the councilors for Equal Opportunities Sara Funaro and for Youth Policies Andrea Vannucci -, on the dramatic phenomenon of violence against women and more generally within couple relationships. The performance ‘And whatever I do will become forever what I have done’ was born with this goal in mind so that the spotlight is turned on the importance of countering such acts. We are convinced that this message has even more force if launched on Valentine’s Day, which celebrates love in couples “. “The suggestion of this initiative created by five young artists – continued Funaro and Vannucci – will be an opportunity to offer a further and stimulating moment to reflect on how necessary it is to spread the culture of equal opportunities and non-violence. Thanks to MUS.E, the Museo Novecento and its scientific manager Sergio Risaliti for the great sensitivity shown towards the issue of violence against women and in relationships and for the commitment shown to ensure that this beautiful project could be realized “.

The whole operation is a reflection that wants to look beyond one’s nose, not limiting itself to a look at the female but rather on the female and male world in relation – explains Sergio Risalitiand on how this relationship is able to modify and overturn liquid balances through imperceptible shifts of perspective, capable of generating mechanisms of violence belonging to unstoppable circuits. In love affairs, the exchange of personality and intensity is as necessary as it is inviting, as is the care and elaboration to transform affective entropy and every germ of ambivalence into words, gestures, supply and demand, because where there is love there is always more play of power than of poetry. Florence is a city that offers us infinite examples of this fleeting border: the Perseus dominates the decapitated body of the Medusa, but also Giambologna reminds us of episodes of oppression in the Rape of the Sabines: thus Piazza della Signoria welcomes signs of power, violence and overwhelm. Also inside the room that houses the permanent collection of the Museo Novecento we discover different ways of looking at women by a man, just think of Martini with Pisana and Attesa / Susanna, but also Fontana with Donna Lying and Paulette. The performance of Silvia Cogotzi, Lori Lako, Chiara Macinai, Dania Menafra, Zoya Shokoohi opens up a different field of interpretation, a reversal of roles and behaviors that are increasingly necessary, less rhetorical and more poetic“.

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