Fondazione Merz

Giorni felici? (Happy days?)

group show, curated by Agata Polizzi


5 December 2023 – 3 March 2024 @ ZACentrale, Cantieri culturali alla Zisa, Palermo


The artists: Yuri Ancarani – Per Barclay – Silvia Giambrone – Joanna Piotrowska – Genuardi/Ruta – Chen Zhen

What happens when all our habits, objects, people and even certainties vanish? Taking our cue from reading The Clothes They Stood Up In (2001), the short novel by Alan Bennett, as brilliant as it is cruelly disorienting, we can grasp a simple but necessary question from the paradoxical irony of the story: is this really the life we want?

Our domestic space, public roles, daily life, relationships, habits; everything is called into question, even subsistence itself on this earth.

Such a scenario subverts the illusion of chasing happy days. We are instead left hanging at the question. Looking around, we see an unhappy humanity, forgotten wars, others we never wanted to see, a suffering planet, a material and intellectual poverty that is prevalent and assumed as normality, a withering of emotions that is frightening.

While Bennett with cynical sarcasm describes the alienation in the hyperbole of sudden emptiness, Giorni Felici? tries instead to imagine that it is time to answer the question starting from one’s own conflicts and limitations. The self is a marginal element when commensurate with the collective, but it is also the minimal constituent element that can bring about change on a grand scale.

The interpretation of Giorni Felici? has been entrusted to artists Chen Zhen, Yuri Ancarani, Per Barclay, Joanna Piotrowska, Silvia Giambrone and Genuardi Ruta.