Artists: Jiri Kovanda, David Horvitz, Ghislaine Leung, Matt Browning, Noah Barker, Alessandro Agudio
Venue: Fanta Spazio, Milan
Exhibition Title: Fantasy is a place where it rains
Date: March 30 – May 27, 2018
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artists and Fanta Spazio, Milan. Photos by Roberto Marossi.
In 1984 Italo Calvino was invited to give the following year’s Charles Eliot Norton Poetry Lectures at Harvard University. “Six Memos for the Next Millennium” is the result of that invitation, a collection of lectures responding to the writer’s need to make a point on the values of literature and prepare himself to the new millennium. The lectures were eventually never delivered to a class, because of Calvino’s sudden death. Fantasy is a place where it rains is the starting assertion of his lecture on Visibility, in which the writer questions the possibility of still producing authentic, spontaneous visions in our era.
The exhibition tries to somehow address these concerns, through the practice of artists who in different ways investigate possible forms of resistance as well as issues around the systems of production and circulation of artworks.
Jiri Kovanda (Prague, 1953) belongs to the tradition of a poetic of the everyday, a possible resistance through minimal and mimetic gestures. With a subtle humor and precision, the artist investigates the hidden and unexpected textures of the everyday, opposing to the grandiose and monumental, a more intimate experience.
The research of David Horvitz (Los Angeles) reveals the abstraction of certain parameters and mechanisms of our times, offering instead alternative and more personal ways for experiencing them. For the show he presents Nautical Dusk, a found nautical bell with a text engraved into it. The work plays with the organizational systems regulating an exhibition space, questioning its schedule and temporality. When the Ocean Sounds is a series of watercolors that register an attempt to transcribe the sounds of the sea using language, in a way humanizing it, being aware of the limits that such a process holds from the start.
Ghislaine Leung (Stockholm, 1980) is an artist and writer whose practice challenges the limits of sculpture and the autonomy of the artwork, focusing on the means behind their production and distribution, in particular the context of the exhibition space. The work Unions is composed by nine slim aluminium prints of adverts from a 1967 student union magazine. The line of slightly over-small signs is hung low, spaced equally and unequally, at an approximate picture height for a young girl.
Matt Browning (Seattle, 1984) engages in questions concerning value both inside and outside of art. His works, often material and technique driven, take a critical stance against the tradition of American sculpture, in particular Modernism’s emphasis on opticality and Minimalism’s phenomenological demands. Untitled, 2016, belongs to a series of wooden grids hand carved by the artist, here presented in what he calls its collapsed, shipping mode.
The practice of Noah Barker (California, 1991) is informed by a continuous interest in the discursive qualities of art. For the work Toy Machine the artist has applied the color scheme of the Pompidou Center to code the utilities of the exhibitions space.
The works of Alessandro Agudio (Milan, 1983) are characterized by shapes that are often bizarre but at the same time plausible, informed by a certain idea of lifestyle. The obsession for surfaces and their details tends to soften the works, revealing their clumsy attitude of posing objects. The titles play an important role in emphasizing this ambiguity, deliberately exaggerating their narrative potential. For the exhibition the artist presents Brianza Eleganza (title of a text wrote by Michele D’Aurizio on Pin-Up Magazine), a study for an imaginary interior populated by some of his existing and possible works, as well as Tipo Favela, a wooden structure covered in laminated plastic that delimitates the “bathroom” area of the space and enters in dialogue with Kovanda’s work Out of Balance, replicating its proportions and mimicking, at first sight, its essential use of poor materials.