Fondazione Merz

Scusi non capisco

voices, sounds and reflections from contemporary arts

Scusi non capisco (‘Excuse me, I don’t understand’) comprises a review of events during which the public is invited to listen and interact with exceptional guests from a number of different artistic backgrounds. The format includes meetings in their presence or live on social media.

The project seeks to meet the need of the general public to understand better the languages ​​and thinking behind works of contemporary art.

The staff of the Fondazione is very attentive to its visitors’ requests and has for a long time noted the sense of confusion visitors sometimes betray when confronted with the works on display, while at the same time remarking that these same visitors rarely ask for more information to arrive at a greater understanding able to go beyond the bare bones of a guided tour in the museum.

It seemed fundamental to us to see the problem in the following terms: art has to express ideas, feelings, emotions, thoughts; it must give a possible interpretation of the realities we live in; it must construct privileged points of view to learn to look without prejudice; it must give tools of knowledge, and it must open up to the world.

A place like a museum can provide the right venue in which to recognise our personal sensitivity and help us adopt the right attitude in order to understand better. Each of us, if stripped of the many prejudices that invalidate openness to any world other than our own, can and must try to understand, including in the ways of art.

This can take place if it is a person who is known and respected in everyday life – a doctor, a politician, a journalist – or celebrated by the media, someone popular on television in the cinema or theatre, to confirm this difficulty we have; people who, admitting that they do not understand what they are looking at in a museum of contemporary art, can contribute to including us in the otherwise unspeakable condition of our presumed artistic ignorance.

Nobody loves his own ignorance, but it is important to recognise it, not to fear it but turn it into knowledge. If it is not just anybody to say “Excuse me, I don’t understand”, this has the effect of a secret shared and the impact derived form its public declaration. It can happen to everyone, absolutely everyone, not to understand what they are looking at, but the sense of initial inadequacy needs to be followed by curiosity, possibly stimulated by those who are esteemed and accepted as a public figure.