Practicing Memory (Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto, Italy)

Practicing Memory graphic identity by Chiara Figone, after Watching over the Reichstag, 2010, by Société Réaliste.

On 25-26 June 2010, during the 13th edition of Arte al Centro (Art at the Centre), the annual international festival that focuses on the sphere of art in the ongoing transformation of society, Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto will be opening:

Practicing Memory – in a time of an all-encompassing present

25 June – 30 September 2010

Opening:
Friday 25 June, from 3 pm onwards

Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto
via Serralunga 27, Biella
Italy
www.cittadellarte.it

Practicing Memory – in a time of an all-encompassing present
group exhibition curated by Matteo Lucchetti

With: Francesco Arena, Rossella Biscotti, Beatrice Catanzaro, Chto Delat, Michelangelo Consani, Danilo Correale, Dora Garcia, André Guedes, Shilpa Gupta, Rabih Mroué, Nikolay Oleynikov, Wendelien Van Oldenborgh, Mirko Smerdel, Société Réaliste, Stefanos Tsivopoulos and Vangelis Vlahos

In a world in which national narratives and their links with the present have been replaced by the construction of a supposedly global memory made of collective media events, with all their emotional impact, what value can be given to work carried out by artists on the mechanisms that occur between oblivion and memory? How is it possible to create short circuits in contemporary flows of history, which are dominated by the detachment needed to ensure the blindness with which the present is understood? Practices linked to memory are part of a process that is under way. Here the value they acquire is that of “memory systems” – as Leonardo Sciascia, in his Teatro della Memoria, defines the way in which Giordano Bruno conceives his method of creating visual codes linked to memory. And it was again Sciascia who described how an age in which memory is no longer exercised is an age destined to become a “totalising and totalitarian” present.

The present time, to which the exhibition spaces are devoted, and its relationship with the past constitutes the initial moment of reflection on the concept of “practising memory”, around which the exhibition revolves. In a contemporary scenario in which present-day rhetoric takes up such a large part of the flow of communication, the construction of individual and collective memory is suggested as a necessary practice within the constant social and political process which takes place between memory and amnesia. Practicing Memory investigates the potential for interaction opened up by art with regard to this process, problematising some of the key concepts that form part of any disquisition on memory.

The shared backdrop against which most of the works on show project their own research are ascribable to a European context, which needs to be seen not just in geographic terms but also as regards the scenarios it involves. These include the postcolonial legacy, the post-soviet dimension, great national narratives and processes of a monumentalisation of memory towards what is referred to as the “planned loss of history”. The European continent and its historical, social, and cultural heritage is thus repeatedly quoted and brought into question within its own historiographical dimension. Running parallel to this there is another category of reflections which contrast with the circularity of the concatenations of macro and micro narratives. This takes place through the inclusion of analyses which reveal the critical aspects that emerge within the process of creating memory. This leads to the idea of accessibility and participation in drafting a public memory, directly linked to the antagonistic effect of counter-memories. The concept of repetition as a fundamental mechanism of the exercise of memory and, again, the individual stories of the multitude – of the masses who are never the subject of history, and who are as fragile as straws and never present in their own historical age, as Masanobu Fukuoka puts it.

The works chosen vary from videos to installations, to wall paintings and performances, all the way through to the work on the exhibition display by the French collective Société Réaliste.

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Filed under art exhibitions, contemporary art

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