Invitation to the Artwork is an exhibition cycle consisting of nine episodes of the duration of a month and a half each, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva and presented at Il Ponte Contemporanea gallery in Rome. Featuring four artists per show the project involves both young and well-known international artists, open to research and experimentation. Running approximately 2 years and born with the precise intention to represent the artwork (and not the artist) as the fulcrum of the project, the cycle set off at the end of March 2009 with a first exhibition hosting works by Nam June Paik, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Cristiano Pintaldi and Maurizio Cannavacciuolo. Followed by the second episode hosting artworks by Nino Longobardi, Vettor Pisani, Myriam Laplante and Maria Pizzi.
Coming now to its third show the four artists’ works invited to act upon the gallery premises are: Betty Bee, Jimmie Durham, Allan Kaprow and Ugo Untoro.
One room for each artist and only one artwork for each room, a remarkable aspect of the project lies in that, during each show, one of the four gallery rooms is assigned to an audio work. The project’s main character is in fact being open to different forms of art communication, all of which, although reunited in the same context, are not obliged to relate with one another. Public’s awareness of the space is enhanced by the way the pieces are installed and by their interaction with the environment. It is therefore in this way that the viewer is able to draw a net of the possible existing connections between the works on show, and to live a personal, unique and maybe even intimate experience of art. Moving away from following absolute truths (interpretations criteria, usually historical, chronological or based on specific topics belonging to the art curator). Public’s interest is furthermore motivated by having the chance to get close to artworks especially created for the space in which they are set, or which are coming from private collections of difficult access. At the end of 2010 a Roman museum will host the project’s final exhibition, showing a selection of the most important and meaningful artworks displayed during the nine episodes and introducing Invito all’ ‘Opera’s catalog , which will be then presented to all the other institutions involved in art popularization.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
“Push and Pull”
The forerunner of Assemblages, Happenings and Performative arts, as well as the founder of the 1960’s Fluxus movement, Allan Kaprow (August 23, 1927 – April 5, 2006) has dedicated his artistic career to the creation of environments aimed at engaging the audience in physically interacting with the works, intended as living experiments that constantly mutate. The purpose of these Happenings is to integrate the practice of art within the common experience of everyday life. The artist induces the participants to interact with his environments by stimulating their senses through the use of sounds, scents, touch and visual gestures, the sensorial. In his own words” The line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible”. The exhibition will feature a grand cage filled with hay. The open door will allow the public to enter the cage and interact with the work as in a playground. Among the precepts that substantiate his work in the fluxus and new Dada context are his Among his “Untitled Guidelines for Happenings” are worth citing:
(A) The line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible.
(B) Therefore, the source of themes, materials, actions, and the relationships between them are to be derived from any place or period except from the arts, their derivatives, and their milieu…
(C) The performance of a Happening should take place over several widely spaced, sometimes moving and changing locales. A single performance space tends toward the static and, more significantly, resembles conventional theater practice.
(D) Time, which follows closely on space considerations, should be variable and discontinuous. There need be no rhythmic coordination between the several parts of a Happening unless it is suggested by the event itself: such as when two persons must meet at a train departing at 5:47 PM…A picture, a piece of music, a poem, a drama, each confined within its respective frame, fixed number of measures, stanzas, and stages, however great they may be in their own right, simply will not allow for breaking the barrier between art and life. And this is what the objective is.
The installation was created site-specifically for the 2006 exhibition with Jannis Kounellis at RAM. Jimmie Durham stages an aluminium ladder partially concealed by a white blanket. On top of the blanket is a large polished onyx stone, scratched on the sides. Thousands of wine goblets glass fragments will be scattered on the floor. During an intimate performance; The artist shattered a hundred of goblets, recording the sound of the artistic experiment, will be in the installation integrated from another room as the a memory feedback. The broken glass addresses the spiritualism and the occultism practices as the recipient of the restrained energy released from the stone-monument, transforming it into something “other”, although deprived of negative meaning. The Cherokee culture of the artist permeates the work confronting the stereotypes of the Western mentality that the industrial manufacture of the glasses embodies. The deposited stone, apparently motionless representing instead mutation and active energy. “ It is like the stone expresses the desire to fly as to break the glasses and return.” The artist addresses once again the transformation of matter. The matter cannot be destroyed, only its function and form can be erased.
Ugo Untoro ( Purbalingga, Central Java, 1970), painter, sculpture , video maker and performing artist, is one of the greatest artist active in both South Eastern Asia and Asia. Hailing from a street back- ground related to the boundless nature of graffiti art, his signature style is not necessarily pleasant, but rather raw and spontaneous. Permeated with irony and existential struggles. Untoro’s coarsed and magnetic works are tridimentional poems that shiver established corpus of social values and believes. The site-specific installation realized by the artist for “Invitation to the work” presents a double intervention where a cement monolith (seemingly) enclosing the drowned body of a horse embarks in a usual dialogue with carved graffiti realized on the gallery wall. The horse as Untoro’s alter ego, evokes a modern version of the legendary minotaur, embodying the passage between the human and the divine, between the physical and the spiritual. The artist’s intervention epitomizes the transition of a metamorphosed humanity in which the work, the space, the artist and the public, all engage in a common and shared journey within the most recondite and incomprehensible ravines of our innerself. Untoro allegorically, epitomises both the wild horse and the horsebreaker, he represents simultaneously the solitude of the artist and the army struggling for battle in which restricted and unbounded desires and passions are unleashed. His work is the Trojan horse entering the realm of human madness.
The Black Christ (photographic print 170×242) was realized during the artist’s sojourn in the united States. The work represents a rupture in the established conventions of Christian iconography. Inspired by Italian black sculptures from the XIIIth century, venerated and transported during religious processions, the “Black Christ” operates a a visual contamination with various other iconographical sources such as the 1980’s pop star Madonna’s Black Christ, (from the controversy “Like a prayer”’s videoclip) as well as the contested movie “Color of the Cross” by Jean-Claude La Marre, that featured an African American version of Jesus. In actualizing themes of esclavage and racism the artist addresses themes that still affects contemporary society although in different forms. As to signify the conspiracy of silence, that throughout history, keep these issues actual and unsolved, the artist makes the specific choice to stage her representation of the saint facing the wall of the chapel-like space, forcing the sitter to a disturbing backward and partial perspective.