curated by Alberto Salvadori
On April 18, the Marino Marini Museum in Florence will inaugurate “Lift your head, give me the best side of your face”, the first solo exhibit in Italy by American artist Gavin Kenyon (1980), unanimously recognised as one of the most intriguing figures on the current international art scene. His work centres on sculpture, in abstract works possessing a biomorphic quality. Drawing inspiration from the area he grew up in, the forests of Upstate New York, Kenyon’s bulbous sculptural forms in cement, wool, and other organic materials are rooted in George Bataille’s concept of Informe (1929).
Curated by Alberto Salvadori, the exhibit is comprised of 13 new works created by Kenyon specifically for this unprecedented Florentine project, works which will be housed in the Marino Marini Museum crypt. Produced in Italy, the sculptures constitute a key juncture for Kenyon, as formal combinations fusing elements typical of his work, such as the untamed nature of shapes and the inherent anarchy of free matter to discover its own form despite breaking with rules of construction—while considering as well the formal symbolic conventions of Renaissance architecture as represented in the Museum crypt space.
Over the past year, inspired by architecture and classical sculpture, Kenyon has been experimenting with new forms, forms that recall arches and columns yet are reinterpreted in line with his trademark biomorphic sensibility. These monumental sculptures, like others he recently created for public spaces in the United States and Italy—from his first museum solo exhibit Reliquary Void at MOMA PS1 in New York to Four Sentinels at Milan’s Corso Indipendenza gardens, both in 2014—alter our perception of space by creating new focal points and perspectives. Kenyon is able to unite the poetic with the grotesque. His works result from the pressure of wet cement in fabric, vinyl, and faux furs moulds, sewn together and painted in the final stages, and which once hardened take on ambiguous features reminiscent of the work of Lynda Benglis or Louise Bourgeois. Alluding to anatomical shapes with their often human characteristics and organic forms similar to soft tissue, these at once seductive and repelling sculptures appear alive, a result of the constant tension and opposition between representation and abstraction, masculine and feminine. As the artist himself recounts, the works are born from a desire to experiment with new materials, to be able to find a surface area with a natural look but that was complicated to sculpt in terms of achieving human body-like contours. In this quest, one linked so intimately with the metaphor of the body, Kenyon reveals a keen interest in the dimensional scale of those objects we confront ourselves with daily.
Special thanks to the Galleria ZERO…in Milan for their collaboration.
This exhibit was made possible thanks to collaboration with the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art, as part of the Tuscan regional project “Cantiere Toscana Contemporanea”.
Gavin Kenyon (Binghamton, 1980) is an American artist who lives in New York. In recent years, he has held solo exhibits at MoMA PS1, New York; Galleria ZERO…, Milan; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; Ramiken Crucible, New York. In 2014, he participated in the Gwangju Biennale and completed an important commission for New York’s High Line Park.
Ph Dario Lasagni
20 February - 9 May, 2015
The exhibition is dedicated to the most recent phase in the history of artists’ books. These are works of art that borrow the format and the particular modes of distribution and consumption of the book; they are not books replicating works of art, but works of art that exist exclusively through the format of the book.
All the books selected are either self-published or participate in a minor economy of small independent publishers. Their modes of production and circulation, as well as the conditions under which they are housed and experienced, create and reinforce their content.
Following those Following those at Corvi-Mora Gallery in London and at Arists Space in New York, this is the third exhibition curated by Gregorio Magnani’s ongoing archive of recent artist’s books. In Florence the books selection underscores the various ways in which books occupy, condense, infiltrate, activate, explode, or are inhabited by space.
Books-as-sculptures, books that occupy other books’ space, or are invaded by the space surrounding them, guide us in this exploration of the most recent development of the book as a medium of artistic expression.
Books by: Anonimo, Kasper Andreasen, Diana Artus, blisterZine, Daniel Gustav Cramer, Mariana Castillo Deball, Michael Dean, Arnaud Desjardin, Johanna Drucker, Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidson, Karl Holmqvist, Takashi Homma, Brian Kennon, Louis Lüthi, Sara MacKillop, Kristen Mueller, Sophie Nys, Asher Penn, Chiara Pergola, Simon Popper, Lucy Powell, Alessandro Roma, Karin Ruggaber, Christoph Schifferli, Izet Sheshivari, Rachel Simkover, Erik Steinbrecher, Mladen Stropnik, Derek Sullivan, Nik Thoenen & Lorenzo le kou Meyr, Peter Tillessen, Erik van der Weijde, Jean-Michel Wicker
ph Dario Lasagni
curated by Alberto Salvadori
20 February - 9 May 2015
The What Education for Mars? cycle by Italian artist Valerio Rocco Orlando is an attempt to experiment with an alternative model of knowledge transmission and relationship in international art schools. As Bruno Latour, in his book “Laboratory Life” (1979), analyzes scientific discoveries through the study of the relationships between the scientists and their families, What Education for Mars? questions the contemporary school-system through the relations among students and between students and teachers. Paraphrasing “Power is not a thing but a relationship” by Michel Foucault, we can intend education not as a sum of contents but as the interaction between two or more subjects with different roles. So, defining the outspread of knowledge within the school as a dialogue among different individuals, what alternative model can we propose?
In 2011 Valerio Rocco Orlando conducted a first series of workshops in a number of high school classes in Rome producing a video installation composed of portraits, interviews and conversations amongst students imagining how to build a better school. In 2012 this work was exhibited at the XI Havana Biennial and a second production was developed at ISA, The University of Arts of Cuba. In 2013 the third installment from this cycle was produced at The Valley School in Bangalore, India in collaboration with the Krishnamurti Foundation.
In 2015, the whole cycle will be presented as a three-channel installation at the Museo Marino Marini in Florence, in a solo show curated by the museum director Alberto Salvadori. In addition, within the exhibition space and for the entire duration of the show, Valerio Rocco Orlando, together with the Education Department, will activate a workshop open to the students of the schools of Florence, a process of collective participation aimed at creating a new artist's book.
What Education for Mars? was realized with the support of ALA, Nomas Foundation, Ministero per i Beni e le attività culturali, Rome; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam, Bienal de la Habana, Havana; Krishnamurti Foundation, Bangalore.
ph Antonio Angelucci