Alessandra Mammì

  • Fiorella Rizzo

    In this installation, 22 upright steles made of red earth (sometimes tinted black) enclosed a sort of sacred, resonant space, like hermetic and indecipherable monoliths left behind by some ancient culture. The theme was the visualization of the mystery that surrounds the number 22, the emblematic cipher common to signs and symbols of diverse civilizations. There are 22 letters in the Latin and Hebrew alphabets, 22 books in the Old Testament, 22 chapters in the Apocalypse, 22 tarot cards, 22 prayers in the Avesta, 22 signs in the Syrian alphabet, 22 things that God generated during the six days

  • Bizhan Bassiri

    A lava stone suspended above our heads symbolically opens the exhibition. Symbolically, not only because it suggests a lump of undifferentiated matter from which the vertical black sculptures are wrought, but because, like destiny, it is a sword that hangs over us—the unpredictable fate upon which we all depend. The title, “Cervello” (Brain; all works 1990), supplies yet another layer of symbolic meaning. It refers to neither mind nor reason, but specifically to the physical organ and primary origin of every thought and sensation.

    Bizhan Bassiri was born in Teheran, but has lived and worked in

  • Marco Formento and Ivano Sossella

    “The gallery . . . has the pleasure of informing you that in agreement with Marco Formento, one of his pieces will be on view for the entire season.” This message is repeated on each invitation, for every gallery that has hosted Formento’s work. (It would be misleading to say “shown” instead of “hosted,” since the exhibition of the work precedes the opening.) The project begins with the announcement and follows every aspect of the art system—the distribution of the work, its viewing, and its sale.

    Without any subversive intention or pronounced ideological agenda, Formento and Sossella revive the


    THE 44TH BIENNALE has left many visitors with mixed feelings. Director Giovanni Carandente had the laudable goal of returning the institution to the artists, and imposed no central theme for them to conform to as the exhibition’s core. But though it’s true that the prepackaged themes of the ’80s Biennales were realized all too predictably, in this version one misses a critical idea, if only as something to disagree with. In the Central Pavilion, in the place of a strong critical or historical subject, is the “Ambiente Berlino”show, a display of (West and East) Berlin artists. Unfortunately this

  • Alessandra Mammì

    RAUSCHENBERG A NOI, Noi a Rauschenberg” (Rauschenberg to us, we to Rauschenberg) is the title borne by the Soviet Pavilion at the 44th Venice Biennale, the site of an extremely timely exhibition that focuses on an (obviously beautiful) piece by Robert Rauschenberg, around which rotate the works of six young Soviet artists (Guram Abramischvili, Andrej Jachnin, Aleksandr Jakut, Evgenij Mitta, Ajdan Salachova, and Sergej Volkov). Self-conscious in its irony, the show conveys the new political situation and mood, the détente that has occurred, the (cold) peace that now has swept away every suspicion

  • Stefano Arienti

    Behind this pair of shows lies a diary, a canvas-covered cardboard box in which Stefano Arienti gathered some 50 images he likes. Actually the diary is a multiple of 100, each an apparently disorganized accumulation of postcards—famous works of art (from Rubens to Salvador Dali, from Gauguin to Velázquez), Carlo Carrà’s “metaphysical muse” in puzzle form, portraits of rock stars, Disney cartoon characters, and a series of works by young contemporary Italian artists.

    Arienti is one of a generation of artists that tries to stop or to span the uninterrupted flow of images that informs every perception,

  • Felice Levini

    Where do angels live? Above our heads, in the skies of our cities. With an installation that recalls Wim Wenders’ Berlin angels, Felice Levini has imagined them suspended in the sky above Rome, sketching them in black on white at the center of a cloth outlined by the skyline of the Eternal City, and then stretching the cloth across the ceiling. One might say that those wingless shapes flying above the city are not angels, but really humans, the outlines of acrobatic parachutists, fixed and stopped in a timeless space that Levini creates with an ambiguity that refers as much to the craziness of

  • Claudio Pieroni

    Claudio Pieroni’s installation here, Pulpito (Pulpit, 1989), was deceptive. At first glance it brought to mind a dialogue between the artwork and the space, as well as the cold, minimal language that characterizes the last generation of Italian artists. But the piece was a trompe l’oeil, like many that Pieroni uses in his work. The large structure (a pulpit in iron supported by imposing columns and topped by a large grating covered with stones) might recall the euphoria of neo-Minimalism, just as the column of metal screens—filled with river stones—might bring to mind both a certain poverismo

  • Vettor Pisani

    Well beyond conceptualism, metaphors, and metalinguistic and metaphysical tensions, the work of Vettor Pisani has always been a sort of critical conscience of the most advanced artistic research. Pisani has had the virtue of adding questions to questions, of overturning all assumptions, of doubting even the possibility for art to reflect on itself. Thus, after having criticized numerous myths, after having declared every reconciliation impossible(especially arte povera’s desire for a harmonious encounter with nature), Pisani has reached a point where he is attempting to contradict himself,

  • Marco Bagnoli

    The title of this latest installation by Marco Bagnoli, L’anello mancante alla catena che non c’è (The missing link in the chain that isn’t there, 1989), can easily seem like a veritable declaration of poetics. It can also provide the interpretive key to the entire installation, which occupied (or better, interpreted) the powerful, severe space within this wing of a Florentine fortress. The “chain” is perhaps that logical, positivist, evolutionist one that has separated scientific knowledge and esthetic experience, removing them from a single organic philosophical system. And the “link” is


    Einstein’s discovery of the cosmos is the infinite dimension, without end. . . . What must I do to go further? . . . I make a hole, infinity passes through it, light passes, there’s no need to paint . . . everyone thought that I wanted to destroy, but it’s not true: I have built, not destroyed, that’s the point.
    —Lucio Fontana

    MAURIZIO MOCHETTI’S WORK BEGINS where Lucio Fontana’s left off: at the cut Fontana made in the canvas, the gateway to another space. Mochetti acknowledges this in his Fontana - Fontana, 1987, the title of which is almost a dry declaration of his poetics. At first the work

  • Enzo Cucchi

    In the catalogue essay for this exhibition, Amnon Barzel suggests a comparison between Enzo Cucchi and halo Calvino. It is certainly not the central point of his text, nor the only interpretive route to be taken, and yet this comparison can become a key to the entire show, particularly if one bolsters Barzel’s intuition with a reading of Calvino’s posthumously published Lezioni americane. Sei proposte per il prossimo millennio (American lessons. Six memos for the next millenium, 1988). In one lecture particularly, which is presented as an homage to the concept of lightness in art, Calvino