American Academy in Rome
A group show compiled by CURA.
curated by Ilaria Marotta and Andrea Baccin
Artists: Artie Vierkant, Vanessa Safavi, Bunny Rogers, Alessandro Piangiamore, Abinadi Meza, Cynthia Madansky, Adam Kuby, Corin Hewitt, Elias Hansen, Keith Hennessy, Francesca Grilli, Carin Goldberg, Martino Gamper, Anna Franceschini, Luca Francesconi, Andrea De Stefani, Gabriele De Santis, Tomaso De Luca.
29 January – 1 March, 2015
from friday to sunday
from 4pm to 7pm
or by appointment
When Allen Ginsberg, writer and poet of the Beat Generation, photographed his friend Harry Smith – painter, archivist, anthropologist and film-maker – in 1985 at the Breslin Hotel in Manhattan attempting to turn milk into milk, he portrayed in a concise image an entire generation called to face major changes and struggles, through the subversive gesture of an impossible alchemy. At times, the impact of an artistic action can assume its own revolutionary force, even if only transitory, fleeting, light. According to Bachelard, poets and alchemists are those who translate into images the spell that the image itself casts on the psyche – a spell that becomes stronger with the poets and alchemists’ deepening knowledge of the basic elements that determine moods, and the ability to manipulate, process, transmute them.
Under this reverie of alchemical connections, milk revolution brings together the work of fellows from the American Academy in Rome and that of a selection of non-resident international artists, outlining an unsystematic, anti-narrative, fluid path, an open device, which contravenes the common sense of a concise thought and amalgamates temperaments and moods associated with changes of state, metamorphosis, the temporal span of the work, in an anarchical opposition of elements pitted against approval and control. In the abstract dimension of the exhibition space, the mutant and regressive process acts as a counterpoint to an aestheticized, timeless and suspended ambivalence, probing whims of resistance, autonomy and escape, but also empathy and unpleasantness, fascination and revulsion for the elements.
The exhibition therefore aims at defining a microsystem in which the mutation of matter, the flow of a dripping, the unpredictable path of wax, elements in a perpetual state of flux, the liberating gesture of a repetitive brushstroke, the impalpable transparency of tulle, the unexpected patterns of faux marble, the frenzied sound coming from a remote place, a wild raptor acting instinctively become a representation of an imagination called to explore the hidden folds of the human being and the “fragile nonsense of always being oneself, constantly becoming something else.”
Photo: Harry Smith, painter, archivist, anthropologist, film-maker & hermetic alchemist, his last week at Breslin Hotel Manhattan, January 12, 1985, transforming milk into milk.” Photograph by Allen Ginsberg – photo © Allen Ginsberg Estate