Jimmie Durham “Labyrinth” at Fondazione Adolfo Pini, Milano

15 April 2018

Labyrinth, Jimmie Durham, Fondazione Adolfo Pini, Milan, 2018
Photo Credits Andrea Rossetti


From 10 April to 29 June 2018, Fondazione Adolfo Pini presents Labyrinth, a site-specific project created by artist Jimmie Durham and curated by Gabi Scardi.

Jimmie Durham is one of the main artists of our time. He is an intellectual, essayist and poet, as well as a visual artist. Since the 1960s, his work has highlighted the system of conventions in which we live, in relation to our ideas, behaviours, history and its interpretations. Questioning these conventions means opening oneself to doubt, highlighting the multi-faceted nature of reality, allowing a multiplicity of possible visions to come to light.

Many of his works consist of arrangements of natural or industrial materials, grafted one onto the other. Such materials usually escape our attention or are too far below any of our value to be taken into account; therefore, these works stand as statements on the nature of things and their value. Some of Durham’s installations are made from found or created objects: these objects encompass everyday life, tell stories, and tell us who we are. Indeed, his activity is based on his will to give back to objects the possibility to show their own essence; deconstructing any superstructures surrounding them, and hence deconstructing the fundamental concepts of consumer culture.

This framework includes the artist’s focus on the theme of architecture, an element that has always been central to his work. Over the years, Durham has wanted to undermine the assertiveness of architecture, its monumentality. Object of his criticism is the sense of stability which makes an individual certain and peremptory, taking her away from doubt by bridling her critical thinking.

For Fondazione Adolfo Pini, the artist has created a new, site-specific project, working on the existing space and its structure. In particular, Durham brings out what is normally “inside” the body of an architectural object; showing its materials, revealing what hides under its coating: “viscera”, “entrails”, what has been dismissed; that is, Innards. By extension, the artist addresses the question of what is given space to and what is hidden, what is said and what is omitted. The project combines a video from 1994, The Man Who Had A Beautiful House, shot by Jimmie Durham in Mexico. We see a man, elegantly dressed, who is walking in a natural environment while describing a house that is not there; but that is everywhere you want to it to be. A house that is a concept and a dream, which could also be a castle, with stone corners and brick walls, with rooms, a kitchen, utensils, fabrics, chairs arranged in a circle. The man’s words are poetic. His gestures exemplify the story by exhibiting some of the objects he mentions. The video is part of an exploration of the idea of living as a primary reference for individual and social identification and as a vehicle for aspirations and desires, visions of the world.

After presenting its first three site-specific projects, The Missing Link by Michele Gabriele, Materia prima by Lucia Leuci and Memory as Resistance by Nasan Tur, with this new exhibition, Fondazione Adolfo Pini continues its itinerary into contemporary art, under the guidance of Adrian Paci.


Labyrinth, Jimmie Durham, Fondazione Adolfo Pini, Milan, 2018
Photo Credits Andrea Rossetti


Labyrinth, Jimmie Durham, Fondazione Adolfo Pini, Milan, 2018
Photo Credits Andrea Rossetti


Jimmie Durham
Curated by Gabi Scardi
10 April–29 June 2018

Fondazione Adolfo Pini | Corso Garibaldi 2, Milan
Opening hours: Mon/Fri, 10am–1pm, 3–5pm
+39 02 874502