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Amalia Del Ponte

via Manin 13
March 5, 2015–May 9, 2015

View of “Amalia Del Ponte: La porta senza porta,” 2015. Background: Ars Memoriae (The Art of Memory), 2014. Foreground: La ruota della memoria (The Wheel of Memory), 2014.

Amalia Del Ponte’s latest exhibition presents visitors with a sensory experience of ineffable and barely perceptible signs, sounds, and passages of light and shadows. This is the first time the artist has exhibited the installation Ars Memoriae (The Art of Memory), 2014: twenty-one India-ink drawings of animal tails, which look as fleeting as ghosts, bodies that can be intuited but not seen. The animals are presented in alphabetical order.

At the center of the installation, the artist has constructed La ruota della memoria (The Wheel of Memory), 2014, in which visitors can turn two overlapping paper circles to discover fragments of discourses that come together in various ways, giving rise to surreal, incongruent phrases that leave space for the imagination, not without a sense of irony. Meanwhile, La porta senza porta (The Door Without a Door), 2015, is a paradox. It is a light projection on a wall accompanied by an emergency exit handle. Its extended luminosity finds a counterpoint in the small luminescent spot of Il nano illuminate (The Illuminated Dwarf), 2012, which is surrounded by a disproportionately large wooden frame. An LED here pulsates like a small star lost in deep space. The sound of Potnia, 1989, seems to arrive from similar depths: A lithophone made of travertine can be struck with a little hammer, making the idol-like face sculpted into its stone resound. Finally, witty reversals between seeing and imagining are condensed in a small wooden sculpture, Io (I), 2011, where the artist, via her negative profile, seems to look at herself.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Alessandra Pioselli

Maria Morganti

Via Vigevano 8
March 25, 2015–May 16, 2015

Maria Morganti, Stratificazione, 2011, plasticine on wooden board, 8 1/2 x 7 x 10”.

Maria Morganti’s four-panel painting Polittico a ritroso (Polyptych in Reverse), 2013, lights up this gallery with color and offers an irrepressible vision. In a process of reverse sedimentation, four canvases were obtained by superimposing one layer of color after another, leaving only a thin trace of the individual stages along the upper edge. Also on view is Grumi (Clots), 2013, which consists of a series of sponges hanging on a string and saturated with the same colors that are layered onto the polyptych’s canvases. There is one color for each sponge, and, strung together, they stand out against the polyptych.

Morganti’s focus on exposing her process is the hinge of this articulate exhibition. Accellerazione (Acceleration), 2013, for example, is a painting that was begun and completed in a single day, where the paint, not having time to dry, mixes into a single material, almost in the way it does in Impastamento (Kneading), 2013, where the layers of plasticine that are spread onto the panels, day after day, unexpectedly get re-kneaded onto themselves. Similarly, Stratificazione (Stratification), 2011, like several of the other works on view, consists of more layers of plasticine, which this time emphasize the material nature of their hues. The show begins and ends with Impronta (Impression), 2010–12, which consists of the sheet of paper that protects the artist’s worktable in her studio and bears the traces of pastels and oil paints she used to create her ongoing Carte-Diario (Diary-Papers), 2010–.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marco Tagliafierro

Pietro Roccasalva

V.le Premuda 46
April 10, 2015–May 23, 2015

Pietro Roccasalva, The Wooden O, 2015, neon, wood, paint, 23 x 194".

Through a process of successive condensation and rarefaction, Pietro Roccasalva is known for developing paintings that lead to three-dimensional compositions, which are then further concentrated back to painting. As the artist’s process of research and analysis gradually unfolds, the story lines in his work become denser, moving to the hypertextual. In his latest solo show, “The Wooden O,” Roccasalva presents paintings and drawings in which even an apparently long-forgotten sign can peek through unexpectedly. In the drawing Study for Just Married Machine, 2015, for example, Roccasalva transfigures a basket of fruit from a 1530s work by Michelangelo for the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome—a drawing with a diamond pattern that culminates in a twelve-pointed star. But, precisely because of the polysemous nature of these forms, what the viewer sees here may resemble something like a dream catcher.

Rising like a banner in the show is a rooster, which has literary associations for the artist. The rooster appears frescoed on the wall (it was painted in a single day) and clothed in garments that allude to the uniforms the Swiss Guards still wear at the Vatican. The rooster is inserted into a wooden ring, which turns out to be the letter O in the word ALLEGORIA, displayed in large neon letters on the wall (only the O is made of wood). The etymology and significance of the word bring us to the Greek allegoria—describing a thing through images of another—and allei (meaning otherwise). These, not coincidentally, are conditions that underwrite Roccasalva’s modus operandi, which stems first of all from the significance of the icon. His work walks a fine line between the category of the incontestable image and that which, once proposed, lends itself to different arguments.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marco Tagliafierro

Ull Hohn

VIa Stilicone 10
April 11, 2015–June 6, 2015

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

Elmgreen & Dragset

Via Giovanni Ventura, 5
May 3, 2015–June 27, 2015

View of “Elmgreen & Dragset,” 2015

“Stigma,” a solo show by Elmgreen & Dragset at Massimo De Carlo, opened the same day as an exhibition of Ettore Spalletti’s work in Milan, emphasizing even more the curious formal similarity between aspects of this latest series by the two Scandinavians and work by the Italian artist. At De Carlo, some thirty large, urn-shaped glass vases (Side Effects, 2015) are arranged in the space on steel pedestals, variously standing alone, in pairs, or in groups of three. The vases are filled with what at first glance appears to be nothing more than powdered pigment in luminous pastel colors, particularly pink and light blue.

But if in Side Effects, Elmgreen and Dragset channel a certain poetic take on minimalist language that Spalletti has mastered, the work abruptly distances itself from that vocabulary via its literal content: As it turns out, the pale colors—however visually elegant they may seem—were not chosen for their pure aesthetic value but appropriated from the pharmaceutical industry: The pigments are the food coloring that coats pills used to treat HIV. This explains why the work’s most pertinent (and openly stated) reference is Felix Gonzales-Torres, who combined minimalism with a concern for social issues, in particular, HIV—a subject that remains current even if it makes fewer headlines than it did in Gonzales-Torres’s times. Meanwhile, providing a melancholy narrative that complements the main installation, TRACES, 2015, exhibited in a small adjacent room, takes the form of a dimly lit wall lamp, from which a thin streamer of painted steel hangs down, like a shooting star.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Simone Menegoi

Patrick Angus

Via Marsala, 7
May 20, 2015–June 28, 2015

View of “Patrick Angus: First Sight,” 2015.

This impressive exhibition revolves around a group of paintings and drawings installed in close proximity, encouraging a linear read of Patrick Angus’s work. Sunday Stroll, 1978, a watercolor on paper, depicts a dazzlingly sunny California seaside populated by young people. A study for this work—a drawing in pencil on paper—hangs alongside the painting. While the theme of homosexual culture is typically present in Angus’s oeuvre, it is equally true that it can be interpreted through the lens of an extremely polished sense of irony, one explicated through means other than content. For example, in the aforementioned painting, the depicted subjects seem to fully embody a complexity; their androgyny defies descriptive stereotypes.

Angus, an American artist who died in May 1992, at the age of thirty-nine, understood the complex citational system that characterized the return to painting at the height of the postmodernist era as a unique and unrepeatable possibility for working with historical stratifications and formal polysemy, without ever resorting to citation as an end unto itself. This is evident in two oil paintings on canvas, both untitled and from 1976. One presents an austere woman, her hands clasped, and the other shows a figure, with a scornful look on his or her face (again, the character seems androgynous). In both works, one can discern an Expressionist Picasso reinterpreted by David Hockney, but also reverberations of the Austrian painter Anton Kolig.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marco Tagliafierro

Giovanni Anselmo, Wolfgang Laib, and Ettore Spalletti

Via Stilicone 19
May 3, 2015–July 18, 2015

Wolfgang Laib, The Rice Meals for Another Body, 2015, rice, dimensions variable.

The most surprising thing about this exhibition is the natural way in which Giovanni Anselmo’s, Wolfgang Laib’s, and Ettore Spalletti’s visual languages tackle the space in their own ways. Each artist has created a site-specific installation on one of the gallery’s three floors, and their use of materials to allude to immateriality seems to be the subtle connecting thread.

On the ground floor, Laib’s The Rice Meals for Another Body (all works 2015) consists of an expanse of grains of rice organized in Laib’s usual fashion into small, regularly spaced piles. In a sort of rarified counterpoint and ideal nourishment for a possible future body, the artist engages viewers with the ingratiating pervasiveness of an organic reality that is both mental and physical. Entering the second floor, visitors encounter Spalletti’s Parole di colore (Words of Color), which offers a sequence of panels in the artist’s characteristic tones—sky blue, gray, dark blue, purple-red, and pink. Here, it is color that becomes a sensitive description of space: insinuating and present, material and evocative. On the third floor, Anselmo has chosen to create a new relationship between two of his older works, both tied to the relationship between vision and the impalpable. Oltremare mentre appare verso nord est (Ultramarine while it appears toward the northeast) is a dense chromatic “thrust” into the wall, while La luce mentre focalizza (Light while it focuses)—which consists of the word PARTICOLARE (detail), projected deliberately out of focus—instead concentrates on luminous pulsation as perceivable energy.

Overall, the show conveys an experience of profoundly significant levity, through which these three artists, with constraint and originality, turn these spaces into something unexpected and surprising, charged with wonder and amazement.

Translation from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Francesca Pola

Anna Maria Maiolino

Via Stradella 7
April 30–August 7

Via Stradella 1
April 30–August 7

Anna Maria Maiolino, inATTO, 2015. Performance View, Galleria Raffaella Cortese, 2015.

Two things about Anna Maria Maiolino’s show are particularly striking: The first is the quality of her recent production. Her latest works (this show, with a few small exceptions, consists of pieces from 2014 and ’15) are among her freshest and most inspired yet. The sculptures, in raku ceramic or cement, vie with her drawings to define a profoundly personal, biomorphic language that combines the artist’s manual gestures, the nature of her materials, and chance elements. The exhibition’s second striking feature is more general: its evidence of Maiolino’s capacity to communicate on an intuitive and sensitive level. Viewers need not know the affinities between her work and Brazilian Neo-concretism or notions of phenomenology—topics often discussed in critical writings about the artist—in order to instinctively grasp the essential coordinates of her work: an experience of the sensual (and sexual) world; an amorous interest in the living body; a stubborn overhaul of “humanistic”—to a great extent patriarchal and rational—culture, in the name of the body itself and its rationales. These same coordinates are precisely defined in inATTO, a performance she created on the occasion of the show’s opening, based on an intense dialogue comprising not words, but smiles, gestures, and inarticulate sounds exchanged between Maiolino and Sandra Lessa, a young Brazilian actress and performer, who began the performance wrapped in bandages like a mummy but ended up freed—and dancing.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Simone Menegoi

Juan Muñoz

Via Chiese 2
April 9–August 23

Juan Muñoz, Waste Land (detail), 1986, papier-mâché, bronze paint, rubber, dimensions variable.

Spanish artist Juan Muñoz’s sculptures and installations are the stuff of dreams, or nightmares. The geometric patterned linoleum floor he designed, which greets visitors entering the main exhibition room, seems to infinitely extend the space. The diminutive bronze ventriloquist figure seated on a ledge affixed to the wall in The Wasteland, 1986, stares across the floor’s dizzyingly linear expanse at his double in The Waste Land, 1986, perched atop a small white wall.

Muñoz’s doubling effects and optical tricks are only compounded as one turns the corner. Dotted around the space or suspended from the ceiling, polyester resin figures in a restricted palette of muted beige and gray recall the plaster casts of Pompeii or the Chinese terra-cotta army. By turns Caucasian or Asian, feminine or masculine, their features and bodies are suggested rather than fully formed. They come in pairs, small groups, or entire assemblies, as in the case of Conversation Piece, Dublin, 1994, or Many Times, 1999, beautifully installed in a room all its own. Beneath the variety of miens and expressions, each ensemble seems a version of the same figure, returning with the insistence of the repressed.

This is especially true of Double Bind, 2001, the show’s centerpiece, conceived for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall but here made to fit HangarBicocca’s equally monumental space. The ashen denizens who inhabit the in-between zone of the three-tiered installation, linked by two elevators ceaselessly going up and down, are modeled on Muñoz’s wayward older brother Vicente. All, that is, but one: a light-bearing figure made in the artist’s own image.

Agnieszka Gratza

Jannis Kounellis

Via Vincenzo Monti, 46
June 29–September 25

Corso Monforte 23 Milan / Via Vincenzo Monti 46 Pero
June 27–September 25

Jannis Kounellis, untitled, 1967, cloth, canvas, bird cages, live birds, 110 x 118”.

For those who want to encounter some of the mythical sites of Jannis Kounellis’s work, this two-venue show is not to be missed. The Milan gallery hosts monumental wall pieces from the early 1960s, works that go beyond the traditional coordinates of painting toward a primordial iconicity. Letters, signs, and fabric roses stand out against muted white backdrops, forming a new visual alphabet. The Pero exhibition space, in contrast, has a series of works that puts more emphasis on installation, where it is possible to discern some salient turning points in Kounellis’s language: from his revolutionary works from the mid-’60s, made with organic materials and live animals, to his grandiose progressions of objects in the ’80s and ’90s, all of which, at the time, were seen in epochal exhibitions.

In Pero, an untitled piece from 1967 is particularly noteworthy as it was Kounellis’s first presentation of fabric roses sewn onto canvas alongside cages of live birds, re-creating the compelling and disorienting experience of his solo show at Galleria L’Attico that same year. This can be compared to an imposing untitled work from 1987 made up of sixty-nine iron shelves with fragments of wood, girders, and jute sacks, and to another made in 1993, where solemn sheets of iron support a sequence of quivering oil lamps. Both are still striking and newly surprising at every encounter.

The exhibitions do not give the impression of a retrospective glance. On the contrary, the relevance of Kounellis’s work has endured through the decades, and indeed his ouevre seems even more significant given its tangible and undeniable historic centrality, confirmed by its powerful and still meaningful impact.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Francesca Pola

Charles Mayton

Via Angelo Masina 5
March 19, 2015–May 10, 2015

View of “Charles Mayton: Tableau Table Tavolo,” 2015.

Visitors to Charles Mayton’s solo show at the American Academy in Rome first encounter four paintings, all the same size. Two depict an enormous bunch of purple grapes that competes with two gigantic eyeballs to dominate the pictorial space. The two other paintings, installed between these works, employ two different forms of Abstract Expressionism, one tending toward a vague idea of spatial architecture constructed through various brushstrokes, and the other with brushstrokes that come together in a strongly gestural manner. Continuing through the exhibition, one encounters several overturned fruit boxes, whose bottoms become an ideal canvas on which the painter depicts grotesque-mask designs that seem to portray the god Bacchus. Other works have interweavings of white surfaces into which a wooden spoon is inserted, the concave end of which is densely painted, as if it were presenting a miniaturized version of large paintings.

Finally, there is another series of five paintings, abstractions again, except in one case, where there is a representation of mythological figures against a geometric background with strongly contrasting colors. Historical references jump out when one least aspects them. The works condense the history of painting in Rome, from classical times to the 1930s Scuola Romana of Scipione (aka Gino Bonichi) and Mario Mafai to the Pop art of Tano Festa and the Transavanguardia. It is as if Mayton has produced “condensers” capable of concentrating this millennial history through a linguistic triangulation of tableau, table, and tavolo (also the title of the show), so that the table is a work table but also the dining table on which painting is consumed.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marco Tagliafierro

Italo Zuffi

Viale Somalia 33
February 11, 2015–May 15, 2015

View of “Italo Zuffi,” 2015

Italo Zuffi’s reflections on the intellectual and social dynamics of art are on full display in his first institutional solo show, organized by Cecilia Canziani and Ilaria Gianni. In a video titled The Reminder, 1997, Zuffi is seen carrying out physical exercises to explore the space around him; Territorio (Territory), 1997, mines similar themes, as a photocopy, folded into eight parts, that alludes to the geometric scansion of the room captured in the video. Similar spatial investigations occur in Go away, 2003, in which two aluminum sawhorses appear in various arrangements, causing variations in visitors’ sense of equilibrium and proportions of the surroundings.

The artist’s role and relationships become central in three works, Una linea nell’arte italiana (A line in Italian art), 2010; Zuffi per Bonami (Zuffi to Bonami), 2010; and Esponenti (Exponents), 2010–15. The first is a group of aluminum plaques that commemorate Mario Sironi, Gino De Dominicis, and Roberto Cuoghi. The second, a performance involving scarves and steel cable, commented ironically on the role of chance in an artist’s career success: At the piece’s end, a gallery returned to Zuffi two CDs of his portfolio that may or may not have been passed along to curator Francesco Bonami. And the third is a photographic sequence that recounts the artist’s difficult relationship with an art dealer. Investigating much more than the systems through which art circulates, Zuffi’s other works range from blank keys, in Quello che eri, e quello che sei (What you were, and what you are) to Gli ignari (Those Who Are Not Aware, 2013–15), a surreal installation of ceramic pods that emit sounds.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Pier Paolo Pancotto

Donatella Landi

Viale Pietro de Coubertin, 30
May 15, 2015–June 2, 2015

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

Via Francesco Negri, 43
April 23, 2015–June 13, 2015

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

Tauba Auerbach and Charlotte Posenenske

Via dei Mille, 6
April 23, 2015–July 11, 2015

View of “Tauba Auerbach and Charlotte Posenenske,” 2015.

Entering into a dialogue both personal and creative, works by Tauba Auerbach and Charlotte Posenenske together investigate the notion of the threshold. Posenenske was recognized as an artist who sought out collaborative situations, and the actual configurations of the models that make up her “Series D Vierkantrohre” and “Series DW Vierkantrohre” (both 1967/2015) are sometimes entrusted to curators, collectors, or, as in the current case, to another artist choosing to interact with them. Embracing the alliance with Posenenske, Auerbach here reinstalled the industrial cardboard and aluminum structures with deference to the contours of the Roman cityscape that act as an inescapable frame. Their collaboration almost becomes a partnership in a game of bridge, with Posenenske as dummy letting Auerbach play her cards.

A circular and rotating movement imbues both Posenenske’s sculptures and Auerbach’s densely plotted and interwoven canvases (Transom/Trans Ray I, Bitmap Gradient Ray III, and Fret/Slice I, all 2015)—mostly white monochromes with layered geometries that create vertiginous shifts in forms and colors. The works are sensitive to their location, blending in with the crumbling floor and ceiling decorations in remembrance of past splendors. Repetition and modularity are common denominators, whether in the form of an industrial-democratic spirit in Posenenske’s case or a mantric reiteration in the work of Auerbach, whose surfaces feature diamond shapes, Greek fret designs, and optical motifs. What first appear to be two-dimensional works in fact preserve voluminous and sculptural formal structures in their rendering and methodology. The interplay between symmetry and asymmetry, fundamental to Auerbach’s aesthetic research, here grows from the interweavings and motifs that are interrupted then taken up again, like a binary language awaiting decoding.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marta Silvi

Adam Avikainen

via Sforza Cesarini 43a, Palazzo Sforza Cesarini
May 19, 2015–July 12, 2015

View of “Adam Avikainen: CSI: DNR,” 2015.

A lively dialectic between apparently dissimilar elements typifies Adam Avikainen’s work. The American artist confronts the pictorial through predominantly abstract themes but maintains an implicit need for narrative, which is often expressed through texts and photographs. His latest solo exhibition, “CSI: DNR,” short for Crime Scene Investigation: Department of Natural Resources, alludes to “bodies”—real or painted—presented as if involved in a violent, unresolved event.

The show is installed like a split screen. In the room to one side of the entrance, ten large-scale canvases are suspended in a modular and vertical installation, with one piece next to another tumbling down to the floor, where an abundance of material invites the public to walk. The colors in these works are magnetic—natural pigments are mixed with honey and mint, arousing the senses of smell and taste. Moreover, these works bring to mind the all-encompassing experiments of Pinot Gallizio, particularly Caverna dell’antimateria (Cave of Antimatter), 1959, in which he transformed the artistic gesture into an infinite reiteration, industrial in tone.

In the other room, 333 photographic images and an equal number of texts can be consulted. Here, micro- and macrocosm, human and terrestrial body correspond continually in Avikainen’s stream-of-consciousness writings as well as in emails he sent to heads of governments and other key figures, composed in an enigmatic and divinatory style. Throughout this show, Avikainen invites the viewer to accompany him on a journey along a temporal, diachronic line, where scientific and fictional data coexist as hypothetical solutions to contingent and universal questions.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marta Silvi

Piero Golia

Via Francesco Crispi 16
June 9, 2015–July 30, 2015

View of “Piero Golia: Intermission Paintings,” 2015.

Highly conceptual and provocative, with a particular penchant for mischief and irony, Piero Golia’s work always ends up making a strong statement. It’s fitting that in a city famous for the monument par excellence, visitors to “Piero Golia: Intermission Paintings” first encounter a small, irreverent, upside-down bronze cavalier (Upside down equestrian figure as public sculpture, 2013). The subversion of the equestrian sculpture alludes to, but doesn’t fully yet reveal, the conceit of this show.

On the walls of the gallery’s main space, a series of colored marble slabs stand out in archeological-seeming magnificence. Dazzling shapes, formed from ancient Rome’s most precious and sturdy building material, strike viewers with their iridescent shades. Only at close glance does the weight of these relics become apparent: The marble is in fact made up of perishable chunks of sparkly foam, offcuts of a giant replica of George Washington’s nose from Mount Rushmore that Golia created for Comedy of Craft, 2014–15, his earlier sculptural-performance trilogy.

In the deceitful essence of this exhibition, the monumental, in Golia’s hands, becomes ephemeral, and spectators find themselves face to face with an act of illusion. The key to the show lies in another work also titled Comedy of Craft, 2015, an architectural model of Gagosian Gallery’s oval room that contains an exact replica of the exhibition. The tiny marble relics here, however, are made of real stone. The permanent manifestation of the show—the physical memory—stands within what seems to be a temporary maquette. Discussing ideas of endurance and ephemerality, time and immanence, “Intermission Paintings” renders history illusory. Even the eternal city can mislead.

Ilaria Gianni

Jacopo Miliani, Fay Nicolson, Jackson Sprague

Via Giovanni Pascoli 21
July 9–September 5

View of “Jacopo Miliani, Fay Nicolson, Jackson Sprague,” 2015.

In this group show, Jacopo Miliani, Fay Nicolson, and Jackson Sprague reflect on the body and its expressive capacities through various connected means. The works benefit from an installation that emphasizes their dialectical character. See Miliani’s three sculptures—Cupid, Devil, and Adolescent (all 2015)—made [of knotted ropes cast in bronze, which represent a concrete translation of a muscular gesture. This is also underscored by the wooden bases that support the works, whose lumber’s striations echo those of the twisted rope. There are four 2015 canvases by Nicolson—Dream Job, Less Work, Work with Rhythm, and Overworked Rhythm—each of which incorporates painted stripes and prints of geometric hands and arms, whose soft gestural quality recalls an unknown dance. Last but not least, there are three sculptures by Sprague. The Artist’s Wife, 2015, is two-dimensional and hung from the ceiling, and Breathing Heads, 2014, is three-dimensional and on the floor. Both are made with painted wood, and bring to mind studies of the communicative potential of the face, executed via an ironic reinterpretation of Picassian post-Cubist work. Finally, Hard not to be clumsy when analyzing my impulses, my mind asks: is this right? and then it answers yes or no further examines the historical avant-gardes.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Pier Paolo Pancotto

Tracey Emin

Vicolo dei Catinari 3
May 9–September 5

View of “Tracey Emin: Waiting to Love,” 2015.

“Waiting to Love,” Tracey Emin’s first solo exhibition at Lorcan O’Neill’s new Rome gallery, is an homage to real love. The show presents twenty-four works—all making their debut—including sculpture, neon installations, embroideries, gouaches, and three large acrylic paintings on canvas. The paintings reactivate a relationship with the medium that the artist had consciously suspended in 2007, after her exhibition in the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale. These new pieces particularly bear witness to Emin’s long history with the reappropriation of a visual language, which, as in her other works, narrates scenes of life and sexuality while dismantling and subjectifying the tradition of the female nude.

In the main gallery, a neon work offering the phrase “The More of You the More I Love You” reigns over the paintings and three white bronze bas-reliefs of heroic and vulnerable nudes. At the center of the room, two summarily modeled plaster sculptures evoke mutilated and voluptuous bodies that are stripped of any malice. The show continues with three large-scale portraits of women; here, Emin turns to the ancient craft of weaving to reproduce on fabric, in only a few gestures, her typical drawings. A sequence of ten small selfies in gouache and two bronze works, Belligerence and Grotto, both 2014, conclude the exhibition. Emin, once a YBA “bad girl,” seems to have abandoned intemperance in a fervid expectation of more profound feelings—namely, love.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Maria Chiara Valacchi

Hilla Ben Ari and Alice Cattaneo

Via di Pallacorda 15
June 22–September 12

Hilla Ben Ari, Na’amah: A Tribute to Nachum Benari, 2015, video, color, sound, 14 minutes 17 seconds.

The exhibition at Galleria Marie-Laure Fleisch sets up a comparison between two languages that seem very different but share a functional and aesthetic viewpoint. While Hilla Ben Ari employs the expressiveness of the body and tells stories through images, Alice Cattaneo constructs abstract forms through materials and their reciprocal combinations.

Ben Ari shows Na’amah: A Tribute to Nachum Benari (all works 2015), an homage to her great-uncle who was an essayist and playwright. Issues of gender and other dynamics intrinsic to human relationships are described in the video without ever becoming pedantic. Projected on the wall, this work depicts individuals and groups forced into unstable and precarious positions or unnatural and uncomfortable configurations. Plotless, its story emphasizes bodies’ plasticity. A fly runs undisturbed over a tense forearm, a temporary stage has a plein air landscape as a backdrop, actors say their lines while assuming forced and improbable positions, and music absorbs noises and any surrounding suggestions. This all paints a surreal but tangible picture. Also included here is a second video, Drum, of a close-up of hands rhythmically caressing a percussion instrument.

In the same space, Alice Cattaneo transfers power, vulnerability, and insecurity to her untitled sculptures, imbuing them with life. The materials seem to resist attaining definitive form, and the way they join together gives a winking nod to Calder’s masterful mobiles, as if alluding to new, future forms. Her pieces seem about to lose their unstable equilibriums, designating the gallery as a fragile and delicate space.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marta Silvi

Jean-Luc Moulène

Viale della Trinità dei Monti, 1
April 30–September 13

Jean-Luc Moulène, Les Trois Grâces (The Three Graces), 2012, HD video, color, silent, ten minute loop.

Il était une fois” (Once upon a Time): Judging from its (slightly ironic) title, this solo exhibition by Jean-Luc Moulène alludes to the artist’s use of context, which is outstanding and laden with history. Numerous references connect the works on view, both preexisting and new, to the French Academy in Rome and to the splendid Renaissance villa that has housed it since 1803. Monocromi (Monochromes), 2015, sheets of bronze affixed to a wall, are the same size as certain standard sizes for historical European oil paintings; Les Trois Grâces (The Three Graces), 2012, a video based on the title’s iconography, echoes a third-century AD bas-relief located on the villa’s interior facade; La Pucelle (The Maiden), 2013, an assemblage of three figurative sculptures, establishes a dialogue with casts once selected by Balthus for the garden (he was director of the French Academy from 1961 to 1977); and so on.

Despite this central theme, the variety of materials, techniques, and registers is such that distracted viewers might be led to think they have wandered into the wrong wing of the building and are looking at a group show. Historical citations contrast with strictly contemporary references, such as in Tronches (Faces), 2014, twenty-four cement casts of rubber carnival masks, while figurative elements face off against abstract forms derived from geometric speculations, such as in Gnou (Wildebeest) and Samples (Onyx), both 2015. As is usual with this sophisticated artist, one wonders about the deeper connection among the works, each of which tends to be presented as a the solution—often admirably precise—to a enigmatic problem that changes in every piece. When asked in a 2008 interview what holds his work “together,” Moulène responded, quite enigmatically: “The obvious absurdity, horrible revelation, bursts of laughter.”

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Simone Menegoi

Cory Arcangel

Piazza Vecchia, Sala dei Giuristi
April 1, 2015–June 28, 2015

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

Francesca Grilli

Via Alabardieri 1
March 12, 2015–May 12, 2015

Francesca Grilli, Kepler 62h, 2015, intaglio printing on paper, 11 1/2 x 1'.

In Francesca Grilli’s first solo show at the Umberto Di Marino Gallery in Naples the artist presents five pieces she conceived during her residency at the American Academy in Rome, all focusing on the theme of anger. Gliese 581i, Gliese 581p, and Gliese 581m (all works 2015) are intaglio plates covered in ink and bile, the fluid produced by the liver, which here becomes a metaphor for fury. When the original chemical admixture is applied to the copper plates, it corrodes their surfaces (an allusion to the caustic effects of anger) into landscapes. The fantastical vista becomes heightened in Kepler 62h, a scroll print Grilli made by rubbing seven lined-up plates with the solution so that they formed one large sheet, on which esoteric signs and shadows seem to surface.

A similar atmosphere is found in Terra (Earth), a work made from vinyl paste and meteorite and inspired by a novelty record player known as the “enigma disc.” Now in the collection of the Discoteca di Stato in Rome, it was produced in 1913 for the centenary of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth; due to the contraption’s special structure, users placing the stylus on its record are unable to predict which of three tracks will play. Instead of music, though, Terra features a succession of recordings of natural phenomena we might associate with rage—a tornado, an erupting volcano, breaking ice. These moments of pathetic fallacy alternate with voices that recite I Ching prophecies, which symbolically frame the work’s enigmatic structure.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Pier Paolo Pancotto

Katharina Fengler

Via Cappella Vecchia 8
May 16, 2015–July 1, 2015

View of “Katharina Fengler: SUPERFOOD,” 2015.

“SUPERFOOD,” Katharina Fengler’s debut solo exhibition in Italy and the second show at this newly created annex of the Museo Apparente, is titled with a term coined in 1998 by writer Aaron Moss to identify a category of foods with strongly beneficial nutritional qualities. Fengler came up with the idea for this new body of work after a long trip to Ubud, Bali—a quintessential destination for those in search of wellness where one’s mind and body can be satiated by a luxuriant emerald-green landscape and by foods of the same tone. Fengler transposes this personal immersion into five large-scale green works, all executed in airbrush on Tyvek, a light material used for packaging art and food. Her paintings, which seem to bleed through the weave of their creased supports, take on a profound texture in which natural and digital aspects coexist and are concretized into oscillating and atemporal abstractions. The titles of the works—Endless Summer, Goblin, Green Fiend, Green Goddess, and Hulk (all 2015)—evoke names of purifying juices, further emphasizing the relationship that the artist establishes between her work and objects of consumption.

During the opening of the exhibition the artist served wheatgrass juice to visitors, from a glass dispenser on a white plinth—a fetishistic action that allowed the public to ingest the hues of the artworks they were viewing. “SUPERFOOD” is thus a total sensory experience as well as a metaphorical and covertly ironic analysis of the art world and artistic promises to surprise at all costs.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Maria Chiara Valacchi

Daniel Buren

Palazzo Donnaregina, via Settembrini, 79
April 25–August 31

Daniel Buren, Comme un jeu d’enfant (Like Child’s Play), 2014–15, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Comme un jeu d’enfant (Like Child’s Play), 2014–15, in a presentation curated by Andrea Viliani and Eugenio Viola in partnership with the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Strasbourg, is the first of three site-specific interventions Daniel Buren will create for this museum. Buren’s association with Naples dates back to 1972, when he had his first exhibition at Lucio Amelio’s Modern Art Agency. He then had a solo show in 1989, at the Museo di Capodimonte, and in 2004, he created a large-scale project for the redevelopment of the former Arin site (Arin is the city’s agency for water resources) in the Ponticelli. Buren has created this piece for the museum’s Re_PUBBLICA MADRE venue—so named to emphasize the concept of res publica, encouraging a direct, dynamic, and responsive relationship between space and the public.

Comme un jeu d’enfant is composed of overlapping archetypal forms in wood and colored steel and is inspired by the playful constructions of the German pedagogue Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel. Here, columns, tympanums, and architraves, placed in a regular and symmetrical sequence, unexpectedly transition from white to an explosion of complementary colors, suggesting the passage from a hypothetical empty sheet of paper to the practice of drawing.

Featuring arches lined with Buren’s hallmark black and white bands, each nearly three and a half inches wide, the work confounds the viewer’s perception and activates multiple viewpoints. Realized in collaboration with the architect Patrick Bouchain, it is a complex game and a homage to the instinctive depth of a child’s world, as is Buren’s use of his familiar stripes—impersonal and adaptable—which he employs to reveal the intrinsic charm and nature of the objects on which he places them.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Maria Chiara Valacchi

Ian Cheng

Via Modane, 16
April 23–October 11

View of “Ian Cheng,” 2015.

A “smart story” is how Ian Cheng describes Emissary in the Squat of Gods, 2015, the latest of his live simulations and the centerpiece of this exhibition. Neither a movie nor a video game, yet partaking of both, this never-ending auto-generative animation indebted to Japanese film director and manga artist Hayao Miyazaki is smart in more ways than one: It combines artificial intelligence with a slick presentation.

Placed aslant in relation to the wall on which the two-channel simulation is projected, a large white podium, whose single step viewers can sit on, bears the twin projectors, speakers, and cables. Two screens of different sizes, displayed side by side, present the same ecosystem, characters, and story from two vantage points: The large one offers a bird’s-eye view of a proto-community faced with the constant threat of an active volcano, while the small one zooms in on certain areas of this desolate landscape—its dusky violet backdrop conjuring volcanic ash and the dawn of time—and privileges particular story strands, such as the rise of consciousness of the eponymous emissary.

Consciousness does not exist in isolation or independently of language. In this fable of origins illustrating the inherently social nature of consciousness, the first faltering steps toward the acquisition of verbal communication made by our distant forebears are vividly portrayed, both visually (in the shape of white runic characters signposted here and there or gliding along the screen in clusters) and orally (as anguished monosyllabic utterances growing in complexity).

Agnieszka Gratza

Cy Twombly

Santa Croce 2070
May 6–September 13

Cy Twombly, Untitled (New York City), 1968, oil-based house paint, wax crayon on canvas 68 x 85".

Cy Twombly was the greatest American painter of the twentieth century, and the greatest painter after Picasso, period. Such seemingly hyperbolic assertions are necessary, and even understated, in that they can only infer the myriad ways in which Twombly’s century could not wholly contain him. His works are as enduringly elegant in their wretchedness as ever, and thus an exhibition of the artist’s work, no matter how large or small, is always a welcome event.

This current one, housed in the airy rooms of a baroque marble palace on the Grand Canal, brings together a career-spanning selection of the artist’s paintings, works on paper, and a sculpture, with the earliest work dating from the 1950s. Among the flashier highlights is the large triptych Ilium (One Morning Ten Years Later), 1964–2000. What appears to be its pasty foundation is, upon inspection, just thin enough to hint at but not fully reveal the dark muck of underpainting. On the topmost layer, the triumphant anarchy of Twombly’s graffiti-esque scrawls reigns, resembling the inner door of a bathroom stall frequented exclusively by poets.

Fans will be equally pleased to see some of the artist’s greatest hits—such as a large four-panel painting from his 2008 “Rose” series—as well as a selection of rarely exhibited items, including an untitled series of hot-pink and violet acrylic dabs on paper dating from 2005. Even one of his early so-called chalkboard paintings, Untitled (New York City), 1968, is on display, this one comprising a series of long skinny cursive S’s and 8s—show-off-ish, sure, but also dazzling in its curled elegance.

Travis Jeppesen

Enej Gala

Centro Espositivo Sloveno San Marco 3073
June 13–September 20

View of “Enej Gala,” 2015.

A large window in this space opens onto a small Venetian street, from which even the most distracted pedestrians stop to look at Enej Gala’s large sculpture inside, titled Hyrach, 2015. This solo show’s installation evokes hayloft structures used in the artist’s native Slovenia for drying grass and other forage crops. Normally these are built from a series of dry poles braced by horizontal planks, but in this case the artist has used a variety of materials to fashion his—including silicone and oil paint—so that the structure in question looks like a three-dimensional painting. Throughout the exhibition, Gala is seeking a dialogue with the contemporary Slovene writer Aleš Šteger, inspired by the poems in the latter’s Knjiga reči (The Book of Things) (2005) to work between word and image to investigate how knowledge and wisdom; irony and shrewdness; and superstition or naïveté have been passed down over the course of history through both stories and visual art.

As the show unfolds through numerous installations, including sculptures that sometimes have the appearance of animals, Gala never abandons his connection to nature or his relationship to the pagan symbols that characterize his native cultural heritage. This young artist displays firm knowledge and surprising perspicacity in the way he incorporates many artistic references from Bruegel to art brut. The numerous paintings displayed here include a diptych, If there is land . . . there is home, 2015, where there are lines that bring to mind a forest and a swamp but which, on closer examination, appear to be more like fragile and unstable boundaries.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Marco Tagliafierro

Minjung Kim

Via Garibaldi 1643
May 5–September 27

Minjung Kim, You and Me, 2013, mixed media on mulberry paper, 7 x 6".

The title of Minjung Kim’s solo exhibition, “The Light, the Shade, the Depth,” is indicative of the simple yet potent evocations that her ink-wash paintings on paper conjure. The clear highlights among those here are her renderings of mountains. Kim captures the essence of stillness in Mountain, 2012, one of the more masterful works, in which craggy formations emerge in the top half of the painting as smoky, ghostlike emanations that seem to blend into one another before becoming gradually denser as they move down the plane, eventually culminating in blackness. In a smaller painting from 2008, also titled Mountain, the smoke seems to hover over the mountains, whose forms are more rigidly announced through a spidery outline.

In her more abstract works, Kim shifts away from the light, the shade, and the depth to attain a different result. The tiny drawing You and Me, 2013, executed on thin mulberry hanji paper and measuring just under seven inches on its longest side, is the one that won me over. The center is a swirly mess of thread-thin black lines punctuated by miniscule cigarette burns, while the top right contains a dark-gray smudge, a sort of moon-bird belching into the twilight ether.

Travis Jeppesen

Sean Scully

San Marco, 2906
May 9–November 22

Sean Scully, Landline Brüke 5.14, 2014, oil on linen, 85 x 76 x 3".

There is a soothing calm to Sean Scully’s way with color—his paintings glisten with a new-car sheen. This current exhibition, “Land Sea,” focuses on the painter’s output from the past seven years, with more of an emphasis on the sea than land—an apt choice considering the show’s location in Venice. It is easy to be persuaded, as well as delighted, by the sludgy brushwork of paintings like Blueland (all works cited, 2014), sexy in its stilled sloppiness, which ideally would have had its colors scooped up from the water of the Grand Canal, shimmering directly beneath the palazzo here. That is, until you go outside and realize that the water is actually green, not blue. Still, if the paintings are convincing enough to cause this slip of memory, it says something in their favor, no?

Nearby, the oil-on-linen work Landline Brüke 5.14 is a medley of horizontal blues with two well-placed swaths of yellow toward the top and bottom of the canvas, as if thrown in to give these blankets some well-deserved punctuation. Even when Scully’s paintings are at their most earthy—as in the two gigantic paintings on aluminum, The Gatherer and Slope—you still want to wrap yourself in them.

Travis Jeppesen

Jacob Hashimoto

Lungadige Galtarossa 21
May 16–September 12

Jacob Hashimoto, Never Comes Tomorrow, 2015, wrought iron, wood, plastic, cardboard, stickers, dimensions variable.

The title of Jacob Hashimoto’s new site-specific piece for his solo show in Verona, Never Comes Tomorrow, 2015, seems to allude to the inventive, cyclical nature of his work. Yet while remaining faithful to his signature style, Hashimoto is always able to find a new way of working, without repeating himself. Thus the pieces in this exhibition feel at once recognizable and surprisingly new. The show presents in sum a monumental, immersive installation of suspended wooden cubes, wrought iron, plastic, cardboard, and stickers, and new works from his well-known series of work developed from kites (created with bamboo, Dacron, paper, nylon, acrylic, and pigments), which are inspired by Japanese tradition and are placed in dialogue with some previous works.

If these wall pieces are also influenced by hard-edge California painting, with patterns that bring to mind both the graphic image and the objective nature of the work’s physical presence, the aforementioned large central piece draws inspiration from Sol LeWitt’s cubic modules via a large, irregular grid structure that simultaneously swallows up and expands on its spatial substance. The piece seems to follow an allusive, almost science-fiction impulse that can be found in other works in the show, which are inspired by star systems.

Lightness, immateriality, suspension, a dialectic between reality and artifice, luminosity and transparency: These are all characteristic elements of Hashimoto’s work, seen here in the accumulation of delicate structures, in the multiplication of nearly immaterial grids. Hashimoto’s work is a sort of evocative Minimalism, in the sense that he modulates artificial landscapes that appear to reproduce themselves by themselves, designating horizons of a future that is already present.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Francesca Pola