I-RATION by INVERNOMUTO – AR/GE KUNST
Tomorrow, April 4 2014, ar/ge kunst Gallery Museum presents the exhibition I-Ration by Invernomuto (Simone Bertuzzi and Simone Trabucchi), a new phase of the Negus project initiated in 2011.
The title I-Ration is an English-Jamaican word meaning ‘creation’ and is associated with an ecstatic state on the part of the subject experiencing such a moment. Starting from the appropriation of this key Rastafarian expression and almost embracing and validating the fact that ‘Rastas reserve their right to think, know, name, reinterpret, and define their “essence and existence”, in non-traditional categories,’ Invernomuto continue to write their own narrative in which overlaps and slippages of portions of history connect Ethiopia, Jamaica and Italy. This narrative unfolds around the figure of the Ethiopian king Haile Selassie I, the Italian colonial past, and related personalities such as Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (a seminal musician in the reggae and dub tradition).
The exhibition consists of a series of new productions with past interventions reconfigured for this occasion. The result is a discourse that spans the multiple phases of the Negus project and suggests possible directions for future development.
Invernomuto’s interest in memory and processes of hybridization is central to Zion, Paesaggio (2014): a reproduction of a staircase-shaped monument erected by the Italian army outside the imperial residency in Addis Ababa (the present University) during the fascist colonial campaign. After the defeat of the invaders, the fourteen stepladders, which symbolized the lifespan of the regime, were ‘reduced’ to the function of a plinth for Ethiopia’s iconic symbol, the Lion of Judah. Invernomuto underline this gesture of reappropriation by producing a landscape where memory and the perception of the exotic are determined by the dimension of time.
MEDO SET (2014) is a banner inscribed with a cut out text by Lee Perry. The text was conceived for a ritual/performance staged by Invernomuto in Vernasca (2013) and was performed by Lee Perry himself.
The apotropaic potential of ritual and the symbolic value of the monument converge in a unique immersive environment where documents, documentaries and sculptural presences are choreographed asynchronously (Negus, 2011; I-Ration, 2014; Negus – Lion of Judah (excerpt), 2014).
Symbols from the visual landscape of Ethiopian history – symbols that acquired new meaning within the social, political and religious context of the Rastafari movement – appear in all the works in the exhibition and are combined with mementos and materials taken from personal archives. In this way, old National Geographic covers and foulards from airline companies and tourist clubs enter the same semantic field of relics that tell the story of the Italian colonial campaign in Ethiopia in the 1930s (when the Rastafari movement began); of the trident star (emblem of Haile Selassie I and of the automobile manufacturer Mercedes Benz); and of the Lion of Judah (symbol of Ethiopia and the Rastafarian people). This semantic field expands and resonates in public space through symbols that once glorified fascist colonial policy and still exist even now in the city of Bolzano.
According to the scholar Carole Yawney, a Rastafari is a ‘constellation of ambiguous symbols which today has the power to focalize and even mediate certain socio-cultural tensions that have developed on a global scale.’ Invernomuto take on this definition and adopt it as a possible perspective: a mode for going back to confront colonial rhetoric and reposition it within a complex grid of movements which criss-cross temporalities and geographies that are perhaps not as distant as they seem.
Invernomuto was founded in 2003 by Simone Bertuzzi and Simone Trabucchi. Emphasizing the collapse and subsequent mixture of languages, Invernomuto produce works without a set format, such as the editorial project ffwd_mg. Their research ranges from the production of single-channel video and the design of live-media performances to the curating of events and special projects.
Recent solo exhibitions include: B.O.B. (Galleria Patricia Armocida, Milan, 2010), Dungeons and Dregs (Grimmuseum, Berlin, 2010) and Simone (Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Ferrara, 2011), Marselleria (forthcoming, 2014). Recent group exhibitions and festivals include: Ars artists’ residence show (Fondazione Pomodoro, Milan, 2010); Terre Vulnerabili (Hangar Bicocca, Milan, 2010/2011); Nettie Horn Gallery (London), Italian Institute of Addis Ababa, Milan Film Festival (2013).
In 2013 Invernomuto were finalists for the Furla Award (Bologna) and won the MERU ART*SCIENCE Award for their production of The Celestial Path, presented at GAMeC, Bergamo. Simone Bertuzzi and Simone Trabucchi also pursue individual practices in the field of music, performing under the names Palm Wine and Dracula Lewis respectively. They live and work in Milan.
ar/ge kunst Gallery Museum – Via Museo 29, Bolzano
April 5 – May 31, 2014
Opening: April 4 2014 – 7pm
SAVE THE DATE
The project by Invernomuto will continue in September at Museion – in collaboration with ar/ge kunst – in the context of the Media façade series Il corpo sottile, curated by Frida Carazzato (from 4 September).