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Francesco Vezzoli

MUSEION of Modern and Contemporary Art Bolzano
Piazza Piero Siena Platz 1
January 30–November 6

View of “Francesco Vezzoli: Museo Museion,” 2016.

There are two related exhibitions that have taken over this institution: the first retrospective of Francesco Vezzoli’s sculptures, which are on view through May 16, and a show the artist has curated of historical works from the museum’s collection, which runs through November 6. Collectively titled “Museo Museion,” the double exhibition begins with a large wallpaper installation that blows up a painted Roman vista by Giovanni Paolo Pannini (Gallery of Views of Modern Rome, 1759). Sandwiched between two burgundy velvet curtains, the work seems to exist in a state of continual unveiling, and it has been revised in postproduction to allow figures such as Nicki Minaj to peek out, among many painted by the eighteenth-century artist. It is no accident that Vezzoli has chosen Pannini; also working in Rome, Vezzoli too has devoted himself to restoring, copying, researching, and evaluating works by past masters. Indeed, the very Italian and very international artist sometimes recalls Aby Warburg; Vezzoli always finds taxonomic reasons for combining his historical sources with modern and contemporary subjects. See his series of sculptures here, some twenty in all, where, for example, he associates Carla Accardi’s Labirinto (Labyrinth), 1957, and Titian’s Fęte champętre, 1510–11; as well as Sophia Loren as the “muse of antiquity” with Giorgio de Chirico. In all, this is a personal staging of part of the museum’s collection by an artist who is a living contradiction. But in a literary more than a visual sense, he seems to always express a reasonable foolishness.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marco Tagliafierro

Alis/Filliol

Pinksummer
Palazzo Ducale - Cortile Maggiore, Piazza Matteotti 28r
May 27–September 30

Alis/Filliol, Ultraterra, 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.

The artist duo Alis/Filliol have always interrogated the meaning of making sculpture, dragging the medium beyond its confines and thinking of it as a magmatic form in transformation, the result of repeated manipulations. Their latest installation, Ultraterra, 2016, features wallpaper that covers two large walls of the gallery; it depicts a landscape made up of solids and voids, thickenings and cavities, like a grotto.

The wallpaper began with a plaster cast of a head that was filled with polyurethane until it burst. The artists then cast this exploded head, now made up of two shells, and the interior of these casts were photographed for the wallpaper. The solid mass of the original sculpture was thus warped, leaving a negative trace. Enlarged, the images imprison the viewer within a dematerialized substance, within an absence. Moreover, the title of the installation suggests a condition that overrides materiality, but it also brings to mind the science-fiction fantasy of an immersive cinematic experience, which, in turn, takes viewers outside their bodies, beyond their physicality. The work of Alis/Filliol feeds off such reversals, annulling the tangible experience of sculpture to shift it into the illusory realm of the virtual. The fictitious landscape looks like a mass of lava in motion and like a fog that expands, but without spatial or temporal boundaries.

A sheep in the gallery looks on. Made of wood, bubble wrap, adhesive tape, and cotton, it adds an ironic and disorienting note that furthers the lack of discrimination between what is natural and what is artificial here.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Alessandra Pioselli