The Aspects of the Body - Viewing of In Mostra at Artissima 2016
Established as one of the regular additions to the Artissima art fair, In Mostra special project was invented as a secluded exhibition, aiming to promote the quality and importance of the collections from around Turin and the region. Curated specially, this art show brings together pieces selected according to the curatorial theme, which revolves around the artistic exploration of the body. Already the title of the exhibit – Body. Gesture. Posture, announces the angle realized by the curator Simone Menegoi, whose vision was to examine the matter of the body in art through gesture and posture. A definitely demanding subject of vast nature was brought to life in a relatively small space by the bold decisions of the curator. Truthfully, such an exhibition could sit well in a large space, a museum perhaps, including a broader selection of artworks to highlight certain moments from the history of art. However, the limits imposed by the space at Artissima served as an incentive for the curator to make this particular array, occasionally glancing over the fence of the theme, into more corporeal matters.
The Space of In Mostra
The exhibition Body. Gesture. Posture is installed well, using a clever circular – radial solution, where the central arena hosts larger-scale, focal pieces of the show, circled by the corridor and nine separate chambers branching out. Both corridor and the chambers serve as smaller thematic units, where nine aspects of the main subject are described. The movement of the visitor is also important, since the entrance and the exit are clearly marked, while the selection of artworks, although small in number comparing to the vastness of the theme, spans from the 19th, across the 20th century, delving into the 21st and the present. Considering the fact that all of the pieces on display have been borrowed from local and regional collections, the curator Simone Menegoi executed the exhibition excellently. Furthermore, the display delivers another message, speaking of the traditions of collecting, highlighting the preferences of Turin’s most prestigious art institutions. As such, In Mostra supports the Artissima art fair as a conceptual background, providing a certain support for the displayed works on sale.
Still, the feeling remains that such a theme could be transferred to a broader space, which might be an idea for the future.
Contemplations on the Posture and the Gesture
The show itself is very engaging. It pulls the observer immediately, by drawing them to the center of space, where a general idea of the concept can be understood. The piece stealing attention immediately was created by Sarah Lucas, whose “Nice Tits” from 2011 sculptural work emanates the contemporary perceptions of a female body. The impact of the bold representation is balanced by both “Untitled” sculpture from 2015 by Heimo Zobernig and Adriano Aloatti’s “Nudo in Piedi” from 1952, which both bring in a more traditional idea of sculpture and views on body, with evident traits of the era they were created in.
Nine radial chambers render topics in a particular order, from Sculpture/Body/Sculpture, they continue onto thematic units entitled Pygmalion, Back to Back, The Gendered Gaze I, II and III with Evolution and Water Motor in between, concluded by Fetishes. Each of the segments concentrates on specific approaches to the artistic explorations of the body, encompassing works in all media formats – from installation and textile, over photography and video, to classical painting. The works on display give a good, although limited, overview of the body contemplations in Italian art of the 20th century, with several international highlights, with pieces by artists such as Carlo Mollino, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Marisa Merz, John Bock, Hans Schabus, Ugo Mulas, Carol Rama, Erwin Wurm, Vanessa Beecroft, Pierre Molinier, Francesca Woodman, Franz West, Giuseppe Penone, Mimmo Jodice and even Man Ray, among other notables. Concentrated in smaller units, the messages are strong and require time to contemplate, focusing on performative sculpture, idealism, gender issues, movement, and close-up details and fetishes. The only interactive piece at the exhibition from the Evolution segment, Piero Gilardi’s “Tiktaalik” from 2010 engages a viewer directly, thus employing the very body of the visitor and adding a level of historical thinking reaching much further to the past, to the era of our ancient reptile ancestors.
How We Look at the Body?
At the end of the viewing, the visitor finds himself in the central arena again, rethinking the aspects of the exhibition, with a clear [and literal] impression of a well-rounded artistic presentation. As such, Body. Posture. Gesture curated by Simone Menegoi makes an ideal addition to its mother, Artissima, providing additional and non-commercial contextual support to the already thoughtfully curated art fair.
Feature images: Man Ray – From The Series Les Mains Libres, Solitaire, 1971. Plaster Cast, 2 Elements, 40 X 15 Cm, Each. Courtesy Private Collection; Piero Gilardi – Tiktaalik, 2010; Apparatus 22 – The Elastic Test, 2016; Mimmo Jodice – Atleti di Ercolano, 1985; Marisa Merz – Scarpette, 1968; Unknown artist – Female figure; Images courtesy of Artissima and Widewalls