• Current

  • Past

Ull Hohn

PEEP-HOLE
VIa Stilicone 10
April 11–June 6

View of “Ull Hohn: painting, painting, with a frame by Tom Burr,” 2015.

Ull Hohn’s debut exhibition in Italy opens with Untitled (Nine Landscapes), 1988: nine wooden boxes painted with bucolic scenes in yellow. Hohn applied the paint using brushes and palette knives, in the manner of Gerhard Richter, who was Hohn’s teacher at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. Hohn went on to participate in the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York in the second half of the 1980s and showed this work for a related exhibition in 1988. It must have been one of the only paintings on view, given the fervor for institutional critique in those days.

Throughout the show, a dialogue about painting unfolds, elucidating the artist’s extraordinary formal and theoretical research, which he carried out for about a decade until his death at the age of thirty-five in Berlin. Hohn’s investigation of painting pushed the medium’s boundaries as he experimented in different pictorial registers, cyclically forcing himself to forget his educational background. In this sense, Joy of Painting, 1993, is astounding; it consists of pieces made by following instructions from Bob Ross. The show is interspersed with four incarnations of Tom Burr’s Particular Room Divider, 2015, a work made with plywood structures, Plexiglas mirrors, paintings, and metal supports. Hohn and Burr had a profound relationship and once shared a studio together. Burr solemnly notes in an accompanying press release that the work departs from his memory of the thin wall that separated his studio from Hohn’s.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marco Tagliafierro

Donatella Landi

PARCO DELLA MUSICA | AUDITORIUM ARTE
Viale Pietro de Coubertin, 30
May 15–June 2

Donatella Landi, Mio Caro Mia Adorata (My Dear My Beloved), 2014, HD video, color, sound, 90 minutes.

In two videos now making their debut in Italy, Donatella Landi offers variations on nature and culture, passion and reason, to reveal profound changes that have occurred in both the social realm and the environment. In Casting Madonna, 2011, a ten-minute loop, a woman sits against the backdrop of an ancient town that is partially hidden by a green drape. She holds a baby in her arms (the arrangement is directly inspired by Titian’s 1510 Gypsy Madonna), and there is an intense interplay of glances between mother, child, and camera. The baby moves spontaneously and innocently, while the woman conforms, participating in a process of social conditioning that calls for submission.

In Mio Caro Mia Adorata (My Dear My Beloved), 2014, the camera, slowly turning 360 degrees over the course of ninety minutes, takes in the banks of a stream, while in voice-over two actors read passionate love letters that the artist’s parents exchanged between 1952 and ’54, establishing a direct parallel between their pure intentions and a state of unpolluted nature. Their enthusiasm and faith in a happy future indicate a determination, a propulsive thrust toward a better world, then widespread in Europe after World War II. But it was precisely during this same period of intense planning and enthusiasm that the mechanisms of industrial expansion were set in motion, which began destroying the planet: hopes and reality inexorably diverged. Nature here assumes a nearly postapocalyptic veneer and is seen as only the trace of a lost beauty and integrity.

Landi’s glance is both intimate and wide ranging, and it allows us to interpret cultural and anthropological modifications related to our time, reflecting on existence, on what has happened and what we are now. With her loving but sorrowful modality of investigation, she leaves us, the observers, with the answer.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Ida Panicelli

Astrid Nippoldt

THE GALLERY APART
Via Francesco Negri, 43
April 23–June 13

Astrid Nippoldt, My Day, 2012, HD video, color, sound, 4 minutes 33 seconds.

Astrid Nippoldt’s art investigates, documents, reworks as if it is a sociological experiment. Her third solo show at this gallery offers thirteen pieces that were previously shown at the Museum Kurhaus Kleve in Germany. In this body of work, a residential community in Beijing named Oakwood Residence, which accommodates hundreds of people temporarily, becomes a social incubator for relationships and behaviors that are covertly suffocating.

The photographs Kokon, 2012, and Blue Velvet, 2013, fleetingly capture nocturnal glimpses of skyscrapers in Oakwood and its surroundings. Beijing Bedroom, 2012, presents empty rooms in the perfect modular apartments, where the muffling filter of the shots deliberately dissolves any sense of identity. In these warren-like spaces, each nuclear family leads its own life without needing to interact with the pulsating city outside. Printed on A4 paper, the installation Hello everyone, 2012, consists of email conversations among the residents—generally wives of traveling businessmen and other women. The artist insinuates herself between the lines, exposing the vacuous and repetitive superficiality of their daily lives.

The mysterious atmosphere of the photographs is interrupted by the diurnal clarity of the video My Day, 2012, which conveys a viewpoint from inside the building. A second video, Oakwood Garden, 2012, conveys a nighttime exterior view: There are barking dogs, the noise of steps amid shrubbery, and psychedelic colors, which are all linked in an intentionally imprecise take that turns the movement of the camera into a suspense sequence without final resolution. One is left to wonder: Is Oakwood a self-sufficient dwelling or a rest home?

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marta Silvi

Cory Arcangel

PALAZZO DELLA RAGIONE
Piazza Vecchia, Sala dei Giuristi
April 1–June 28

View of “Cory Arcangel: This Is All So Crazy, Everybody Seems So Famous,” 2015.

Cory Arcangel’s site-specific installation Photoshop CS: 1060 by 2744 Centimeters, 10 DPC, RGB, Square Pixels, Default Gradient “Spectrum,” Mousedown y=1800 x=6800, Mouseup y=8800 x=20180, 2015, is a wave that disseminates the full spectrum of Photoshop’s color gradient by way of a two-hundred-square-meter carpet designed by the artist for a room in this twelfth-century palazzo. This is the first time the artist has placed work in a historical context, therefore the reflection on the obsolescence of technologies, which his Pop investigations usually involve, here acquires a tone of meditative concentration.

Along the walls, Arcangel has arranged works that belong to the sculpture series “Screen-Agers, Tall Boys, and Whales” and “Lakes,” both 2011–15. The carpet, part of his “Photoshop Gradient Demonstration” series from 2007–15, connects the different pieces that make up this show, titled “This Is All So Crazy, Everybody Seems So Famous.” Elsewhere, the floating-cloud backgrounds from a Super Mario video game, Super Mario Clouds, 2002, appear near a fresco depicting Saint George, inspiring questions about which iconic images endure and which evaporate over time. Moreover, the frescoes, which were completed throughout different historical periods, have now become faded fragments of their former glory. The exhibition inevitably invites a comparison between these relics of different eras and the different velocities of their consumption and decay. There is a collision here between the rapid decline of the image, its relevance in our society of technological consumption, and the slow time of history—and between artifacts that become old and nostalgic and those that are ancient or could become so.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Alessandra Pioselli