Fondazione Merz


Alfredo Jaar. Abbiamo amato tanto la rivoluzione


texts by Nanni Balestrini, Luigi Fassi, Claudia Gioia, Beatrice Merz
pages: 264
format: 14,5 x 21 cm
date of publication: November 2013
binding: hardback
language: Italian/English
isbn 9788877572578

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The catalogue is published on the occasion of Abbiamo amato tanto la rivoluzione (‘We loved it so much the revolution’) exhibition by Alfredo Jaar held at Fondazione Merz from 5th November 2013 to 2nd February 2014. “Alfredo Jaar has chosen the reflection (in both senses of the word) of history from the 1960s and ‘70s. He travels some way with Mario Merz, builds a picture gallery and invites the works of some artists with whom he feels some kinship in this adventure, and illuminates memory so that it A deliberate act of will by the artist, with an invitation to modify our perception of things. The luminosity of the words written in neon indicates the fragile border between truth, the non-linear progress of thought and the need to prepare oneself to cross over. Jaar leads us physically to cross a landscape of glass detritus. A landscape that at first sight is desolate, which rises and falls with sudden flights of light and reflections. Thanks to the glass, the landscape also has the liquidity and transparency of water and, in a blink of the eye, we can travel from the surface to the seabed and then return to the surface. Whether immersed or emerging, the landscape nevertheless suggests an image of abandonment, of destruction and rubble, and the idea of having to enter this area without knowing where to go is a disturbing one. This disturbance is needed to suggest questions: on what rubble are we walking? Is this the rubble of the past or the rubble of a present that has already decayed? The answers may be found along the way, but meanwhile we can try to think that this rubble is also our oblivion, our night, our experience that is obscured. Mario Merz’s crocodile with its luminous wake of numbers climbs the wall, a biological symbol of an unstable passage and conquest of a new reality. The flashes from the reflecting glass echo the luminosity of the Fibonacci numbers, whose mathematical progression saves us from the fleeting nature of time. And a new slogan (Mario Merz, Sciopero generale azione politica relativa proclamata relativamente all’arte, ‘National strike associated political action proclaimed relative to art’, 1970) is ready to risk the total darkness of a secret room which we reach almost by chance following the way across the rubble. The darkness accumulates but cannot mitigate the sense of urgency that the words convey: the magical and luminous use of the word reflected in the black water and reflects the unsayability of its truth. Like a new declination of the platonic myth of the cavern, the reflections that now assail us from all sides push to reactivate memory, to see those “remains” that have value, bring them back to the surface and reactivate the present itself in that rubble that transfigures, that filters the distance of time”. (Claudia Gioia)

This catalogue photographically documents the exhibition and thus offers vivid insight into artist’s work, whose interior pathway is told in words by the exhibition’s curator Claudia Gioia, accompanying texts by Beatrice Merz, a poem by Nanni Balestrini and an interview by Luigi Fassi.