7 May – 25 September 2011
Collezione Maramotti – Via Fratelli Cervi 66 – Reggio Emilia
Essential Art is not a group show, nor a theme show. Its aim is to bring together a pool of artists belonging to the same generation (almost all of them are the same age) who, on the contemporary art scene of the latest ten years, have developed similar poetics, although never creating a common group.
Federico Ferrari (1969) has conceived and articulated its poetics: by creating the definition ‘Essential Art’ he has been trying to point out a shared way of feeling, which, beyond all differences in style, material and compositional procedures, enables us to witness the rise of a new and, at the same time, immemorial attention for the genesis of the artistic gesture, in a radical and essential mood.
Essential Art shows exactly this spoliation of art making, which pushes itself as far as its initial gesture, reaching the very nakedness of the appearing artwork, of the appearing world.
Each one of the eight artists invited to participate in the exhibition shows, like Ferrari does in his essay, a different expression of this approach, manifesting the manifold feeling of an art in search of its essence.
Karla Black’s (1972) large surfaces – suspended or on the ground – signal a new ‘cosmetics’ of the world (see for instance her papers soaked in make-up powder), and counterpoint the demiurgical cosmogony of Gianni Caravaggio’s (1968) works, where matter seems to be imploding upon itself.
We also see the geometrical incandescence of Ian Kiaer’s (1971) art/architectural works being challenged by the primeval and direct works by Thea Djordjadze (1971).
In the same way, Helen Mirra’s (1970) stories, lived and stored in the traces of an endless journey, find an echo in the fragility and the graceful, precarious balance of Alice Cattaneo’s (1976) sculptures.
And finally, the inorganic and organic matter of Francesco Gennari (1973), where death and life merge together, reveal secret affinities with Jason Dodge’s (1969) intimate and poetic work, in search of a thread to weave a new history in our daily existence.
The exhibition is conceived as an experience through this multiplicity of approaches – both from a practical and a poetic point of view – to everyday life, to the most essential quality of what happens to each and everyone of us.
No wonder all these artists conceive their gesture mainly three-dimensionally, in physical matter, in a tangible life that eludes all forms of theory and all forms of flight into virtuality, to open up, instead, to an existential meaning which is to be found in things themselves, in time, for time and with time.
Essential Art is a primal, initial gesture, performed by a generation of artists and intellectuals who refuse both the avant-garde violence of tabula rasa and the tiring, epigonic ‘post-modern’ attitude which replicates itself identically everywhere and every time, according to the business strategies of the cultural market; its aim is to set forth the need for a new ethical – and freedom oriented – course in the art world, as well as in the world at large.
The bilingual catalogue accompanying the exhibition, published by Silvana Editoriale, is structured in eight chapters, each of which is dedicated to one of the eight artists participating in the show. For these ‘solo’ sections in the catalogue, the artists have been asked to provide a selection of images to illustrate their work, and to make a one page ‘statement’ – no matter in which form – about their idea of Essential Art. The book/catalogue also includes a theoretical essay by philosopher Federico Ferrari.
With this exhibition, Collezione Maramotti further carries on its project activity, exhibiting artworks made specifically by guest artists, which then become part of the permanent Collection in order to merge together acquisition practices with a view to the expansion of the collection with the practice of public viewing. ‘Essential Art’ will then tour to Frankfurter Kunstverein in Frankfurt, Germany (www.fkv.de), from 4th November 2011 to 1st January 2012, marking the beginning of a new project of joint productions for Collezione Maramotti.
Image above: Alice Cattaneo, Untitled, 2011, iron, enamel, foamboard, cable ties, scotch tape, nylon threads, two elements: 170 x 230 x 310 cm/240 x 175 x 150 cm, variable dimension Courtesy: Collezione Maramotti © Alice Cattaneo Photo: Dario Lasagni
I trust the liar. With pleasure, tea, 2011, detail
Courtesy: Collezione Maramotti © Thea Djordjadze Photo: Dario Lasagni
Immagine seme [Seed Image], 2011
black Belgian marble, plaster dust 143,5 x 148,7 x 2,5 cm
Testimoni di uno spazio antico [Witnesses of an Ancient Space], 2011
silver-plated bronze, variable dimension and pieces, detail
Courtesy: Collezione Maramotti © Gianni Caravaggio Photo: Dario Lasagni
Hourly directional field recordings, Massachusetts, 2010
oil on linen, 155 x 155 cm, detail
Courtesy: Collezione Maramotti © Helen Mirra Photo: Dario Lasagni
What To Ask Of Others, 2011
polythene, chalk dust, thread 140 x 300 x 30 cm
Persuader Face, 2011
chalk, paint, sugar paper, cm 1x790x770, detail
Courtesy: Collezione Maramotti © Karla Black Photo: Dario Lasagni