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Torino: Juszkiewicz, Natalia LL, Waliszewska, Ziółkowski
November 5, 2014 - January 11, 2015
SHIT AND DIE
Palazzo Cavour, Torino
An exhibition produced by Artissima
Organized by Maurizio Cattelan, Myriam Ben Salah and Marta Papini
In contrast to last year’s experience, which featured a “spread out museum” with five different exhibitions in the major contemporary art institutions of the city, the 2014 edition of One Torino sets up a new premise. This year, Artissima’s collateral exhibition focuses on one single presentation, housed in the suggestive venue of Palazzo Cavour.
Artissima Director Sarah Cosulich Canarutto invited “retired” artist Maurizio Cattelan to curate the show. He accepted the challenge—trying his hand at the exercise for the second time since the 4th Berlin Biennial in 2006 that he organized with Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick—and formed a team involving two young curators: Palais de Tokyo’s Myriam Ben Salah and longtime collaborator Marta Papini.
“An exhibition is never easy to define in a few lines without seeming terribly artificial or slightly pedantic: far-fetched shortcuts and strained interpretations tend to distort the initial intention, provided always that there was one in the first place. Consequently, it might be easier to define this particular, provocatively titled exhibition, saying what it is not, before trying to give a glimpse of what it is.
SHIT AND DIE is not a themed show: it is not a congregation of works dealing with faeces and death.
SHIT AND DIE is not a prospective show taking the temperature of the contemporary art scene. It doesn’t feature artists chosen according to their age, or their nationality, or any objective criteria. It features artists chosen in the most subjective manner according to their existing works or to the capacity they’ve had to produce one responding to a specific context.
SHIT AND DIE is not a show about curatorial innovation; it is neither an experimental exercise nor a formalist statement.
SHIT AND DIE could be defined as a contextual experience: its point of departure is the city of Torino, which provided the characters, stories, objects and atmospheres that have become the primary material with which to elaborate a visual tale.
SHIT AND DIE has a strong title. Yes, it is a provocation, as every statement dealing with “taboo” subjects might be. But it is not only a provocation. It is also a loan from an artwork: One Hundred Live and Die (1984), by Bruce Nauman. The work is not in the show but could have been. The title is one of the many subjective references that fed the contingent ideas around the exhibition—collateral damage in a way. It sums up life reduced to its simplest and most universal elements, which is exactly what the show is about. Torino, its history and its stories are treated like signs that, when translated through the syntax of contemporary art, shape into a wider statement on the complexity of human beings and the torments of life.
The exhibition is divided into seven sections. Each section is related to a specific object that functions as a thematic anchor and that was sourced from both established institutions and uncanny collections in the city. Among them are Olivetti’s residential units in Ivrea; the Museum of Criminal Anthropology “Cesare Lombroso”; the Museum of Human Anatomy “Luigi Orlando”; Casa Mollino; the Museum of Risorgimento; the Gaia Collection; GAM Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea; the MUSEION Foundation/Enea Righi Collection; the Ettore Fico Foundation; and the Aldo Mondino Foundation.
Artworks have been chosen to interact with these objects, sometimes through deliberately fortunate affinities and sometimes through more elaborate reflections. In both cases, the interaction between objects and artworks creates extra levels of meaning that forge a narrative: at times it seems arbitrary and non-exhaustive and at others it shapes as a cohesive tale inhabited by Torino’s characters—historical and contemporary—and by their obsessions, their fears, their vices and fetishes that are, in the end, our obsessions, our fears, our vices and fetishes.
Thus the space turns into a surrealist dream—or nightmare—where Contessa di Castiglione rubs elbows with Nietzsche’s ghost, while more than 60 artists occupy what used to be the house of Camillo Benso Conte de Cavour, invisible but still present head of household.”
The exhibition features five site-specific projects including more than 20 specially commissioned works.
The list of artists includes Lutz Bacher, Davide Balula, Will Benedict, Lynda Benglis, Guy Ben-Ner, Julius von Bismarck, Thomas Braida & Valerio Nicolai & Emiliano Troco & Aleksander Veliscek, Vittorio Brodmann, Valerio Carrubba, Contessa di Castiglione, George Condo, Martin Creed, Enzo Cucchi, Eric Doeringer, Tracey Emin, Valie Export, Stelios Faitakis, Lara Favaretto, Roberto Gabetti & Aimaro Oreglia d’Isola, Tim Gardner, Ramin & Rokni Haerizadeh, Petrit Halilaj, Jonathan Horowitz, Dorothy Iannone, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Chao Kao, Myriam Laplante, Zoe Leonard, Natalia LL, Sarah Lucas, Tala Madani, Carlo Mollino, Aldo Mondino, Nicolas Party, Yan Pei-Ming, Florian Pugnaire & David Raffini, Carol Rama, Markus Schinwald, Jim Shaw, Dasha Shishkin, Roman Signer, Alexandre Singh, Sylvia Sleigh, Claire Tabouret, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille, Andra Ursuta, Iris Van Dongen, Maurizio Vetrugno, Francesco Vezzoli, Aleksandra Waliszewska, Matthew Watson and Jakub Julian Ziolkowski.
SHIT AND DIE is also a catalyst for external projects:
A documentary film, Sèance, realised by artist Yuri Ancarani in collaboration with Museo Casa Mollino, explores the eclectic character, architect and designer Carlo Mollino from an “occult” point of view, highlighting Torino’s affiliation with magic. During Artissima the film will be projected at “La casa del riposo guerriero” (the warrior’s rest house), Mollino’s house/museum in Torino, which was never inhabited but which still resonates with his passion for the occult. Sèance was produced by Sky Arte HD (first broadcast by Sky Arte on Tuesday 4 November at 8.30 pm).
The second collateral project involves photographer Ari Marcopoulos, who created a special photographic shoot backstage at SHIT AND DIE during the intense days spent preparing the exhibition. His photographs have immortalised the concreteness and ambiguity of this project through images that capture the creative chaos that accompanies the making of an exhibition, from unpacking the works of art and bizarre objects to the energy and people involved, revealing the mysteries of Torino as well as those of the human condition. Ari Marcopoulos’s photographic project will be collected in a special zine distributed at Palazzo Cavour during the days of the fair and subsequently published as an insert in the catalogue. The Ari Marcopoulos project is produced with the participation of OWENSCORP.
A book, published by Damiani, is available on the occasion of the show. It is neither catalogue nor mere exhibition commentary, but rather an extension of the exhibition, like an additional room, featuring original texts by art critics and writers, exclusive contributions from artists and an array of references that helped construct the show.
A Tumblr blog, which is a prequel mood board to the exhibition, realised by assistant curator Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti: shitndie.tumblr.com
The show will open to the public during Artissima, on November 6, 2014.
It will be on view until January 11, 2015.