“Portrait of Jennie” at Kunstraum Walcheturm, Zürich

Der Tagesbogen, Courtesy the artist


Kunstraum Walcheturm hosts Marco Fedele di Catrano and Vitaly Patsyukov project and book launch Portrait of Jennie.

Taking its title from a novel by the American author Robert Nathan–in which the main character, an artist, faces the impossibility of drawing a portrait of a young girl due to her death–Portrait of Jennie is born within a shared space between the artist Marco Fedele di Catrano and the curator Vitaly Patsyukov, as a follow up of a solo exhibition conceived by the artist with the same title, held in 2015 at CCI FABRIKA, in Moscow. The project is based on the impossibility to portrait reality in its whole visual manifestation. It opens up questions about our constant necessity to give space to an image-overloaded existence. In our contemporary era, each image belongs to multiple different contexts and often unrelated times and spaces. It opens up possibilities to create a wide range of narratives. These narratives behind the images easily define manipulative strategies which disempower our ability to change our surroundings.

The artist’s book by Marco Fedele di Catrano and Vitaly Patsyukov, published by NERO, is the result of the ongoing project Portrait of Jennie. Drawings and texts by Vitaly Patsyukov get interspersed with images produced by the artist. A shared space starts to exist.

The installation Der Tagesbogen, by Marco Fedele di Catrano at Kunstraum Walcheturm, Zurich, refers to an astronomical phenomenon while metaphorically pointing out the idea of disappearence. The gravity of plasterboard walls–built over the atelier of the artist and displayed in the spaces of Walcheturm,  stops on objects and artworks in the studio forcing a fragile equilibrium. During the twilight, out of the visible angle of the light, only the contours of the objects remains visible. Yet their visions and contours are what the artist attempts to fix. In between artworks, fragments, and research material, spread in the room and on the tables, the interwoven space made out of older plasterboard walls–partly coming from a previous work by the artist at Kunstraum Walcheturm, and fences, hiding parts of the view, interrupting and blurring the vision. Like in the work Exchange, resulting from the intervention the artist did on the walls of the American Academy in Rome, in 2008. Shaped in the form of stars, as negative of that first intervention, they define a new space by revealing in their materiality traces of that antecedent act. Only the lower part of the work is visible to the viewer, while the upper side stays behind a forthcoming wall, hold by a shelf. The process of overcoming the matter and then the disappearance of the matter reflects a problem that runs through all the work presented. In Mickey Mouse has no nose, a simple electrical cable runs on the wall, before outlining on the floor a figure with a supposed missing nose, recalling the hidden side of our cultural projections.

The project will be accompanied by a panel discussion, taking place after the book launch. Conceived in its expansion from a center to the periphery, both in its metaphorical as in its material growing, the city becomes the subject on which the panel discussion, between Zurich and Geneva will be focused on, after having already started in October in Moscow. The panel discussion will result as an integration and discussion of different points of views by artists, curators, theorists and more in general figures who have dedicated a part of their work to the city. The discussion will be moderated by Lorenzo Benedetti and include Paloma Ayala, Marco Fedele di Catrano, Patrick Huber, Ivan Isaev, Vitaly Patsyukov, Una Szeemann, Karine Tissot.
The title La città invisibile (The invisible city) refers to the novel Le città invisibili, written by Italo Calvino (1972), in the form of a suggestion for a rediscovery and a new mapping. Through the eyes of Marco Polo, possibly living today, talking to an imaginery Kublai Kahn, as within the written words of Calvino, we look to the city in a time-lapse that separates today from the year 1972, when the book was first published. Imagined as a common zone in which to act and where the art constantly redefines its meanings, the city becomes a place where the relation between space and image creates a line of possible and radical change, between imagination and reality. The post-truth city sees its borders virtually extended and its exchanges intensified. Nevertheless, and, besides its growing, the city itself seems locked. The images it refers to move within outlines strictly determined, influenced by dominating structures that within the city itself find their best market place. Living in a time of contemporary media politics, we get exposed to manipulative images and standardized pictures of reality, which create  defined behavioural protocols for us as citizen. Portrait of Jennie will then move on from Kunstraum Walcheturm, Zurich, to the Villa Bernasconi, Geneva, for a third event, after having started in October in CCI Fabrika, Moscow.


Marco Fedele di Catrano and Vitaly Patsyukov
Portrait of Jennie
Book Launch and opening: 7 December, 6:30pm
Panel Discussion and performance by Stefano Benini will follow up.
The exhibition Des Tagesbogen is open 7–17 December 2017

Kunstraum Walcheturm | Kanonengasse 20, Zürich
+41 43 3220813

Book launch and panel discussion (moderated by Karine Tissot)
8 December, 7pm | Villa Bernasconi. Centre d’Art, Geneva