Francesca Pasini

  • Stéphanie Nava

    Stéphanie Nava’s “Considering a Plot (Dig for Victory)” was a garden of innumerable drawings and various agricultural objects. There were no flowers pictured, only vegetables, since the artist was inspired by the small urban gardens promoted in the 1940s in England by the “Dig for Victory” campaign to combat wartime food shortages. The artist’s imaginary garden invaded the entire room and was delimited by wooden barriers and, in some stretches, by thin cords; within these enclosures, drawings faithfully reproduced many varieties of vegetables. Some of these sheets progressed in a slight curve,

  • Marcella Vanzo

    Marcella Vanzo’s fourteen-minute double video projection, Summertime (all works 2007), focuses on two very different seasonal Mediterranean migrations: Illegal immigrants from North Africa arrive on the shores of the Italian island of Lampedusa, while tourists land on the beaches of the nearby Greek island of Zakynthos. The projection begins with a panoramic view of an empty beach on Zakynthos, a rusted shipwreck in the background; the image fills both screens. The notes of Janis Joplin singing George Gershwin’s “Summertime” blend with the noise of the sea and the sound of cicadas in the sun.

  • Gilberto Zorio

    The five-pointed star has been a recurring image in Gilberto Zorio’s work since the early ’70s, and recently it has taken the form of a tower with a star-shaped plan. This show featured (and took its name from) La tolda silenziosa (Silent Deck; all works 2005), a pair of such towers made from white cement blocks, which completely modified the viewer’s perception of the space, suggesting an imaginary universe where celestial bodies become “habitable buildings.” One tower had a staircase leading to the roof, from which one could admire the spectacle that unfolded below. And it was a true spectacle.

  • Maurizio Vertrugno

    Entering the gallery, the viewer was blinded by the light reflected from a wall covered in silver fabric and embroidered with threads of the same color. The images they formed turned out to be symbols associated with Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, of all people—leaves, snakes, and spirals that wrap themselves around the names of the band members, decorations that brought to mind the elaborate initials of illuminated manuscripts. On top of this wall covering were fourteen “paintings” of various sizes, these too created in embroidery but on white fabric and derived from photos shot by the

  • Massimo Bartolini

    Massimo Bartolini’s work is tied to nature, understood as inhabited, traveled, and experienced—imbued, in other words, with that totality of emotional, biographical, and cultural elements that we typically connect instead with houses, streets, and urban spaces. Bartolini “mixes” a physical architecture with an imaginary body, a literal evocation of the earth with references to science and technology. This is explicit in an untitled sculpture (all works 2004) in which water in a basin is stirred by irregular waves. But while the movement is produced by mechanical means, the effect is of something

  • Monika Sosnowska

    The labyrinth is often a metaphor for an inner psychological state. Monika Sosnowska, born in Ryki, Poland, in 1972, uses it to evoke Eastern Europe during the Soviet era. In constructing her “buildings” inside other buildings, she pushes the imagination toward shut-in situations of intimacy or personal solitude. Her environments, seemingly without exit, reveal the impasse of a blocked reality, where one enters and sinks into oneself, as in the corridor she constructed at the 2003 Venice Biennale or in her labyrinthine sequence of rooms at Manifesta in 2002. These possess an immediate connection

  • Marco Papa

    History is strewn with talents who emerge and then recede into the shadows. Marco Papa has chosen the story of Gene Anthony Ray to exemplify this phenomenon. After being selected to portray the character Leroy in the film Fame (1980), the talented young African-American dancer became a star and traveled the world. Indeed, there was real overlap between the identities of the character in the film and the person who played the role—a story typical of the creative desire for expression that in the ’80s seemed like a powerful antidote to the political and social critiques of the previous decade.

  • Miroslaw Balka

    Miroslaw Balka’s exhibition was titled “Element der Exaktheit” (Element of Exactitude), and the aspiration to an unattainable exactitude is precisely what unified the various works: Their titles referred to their precise measurements in centimeters, and yet some slight deviation always annulled the rule. Balka’s sculptures were paired with projections of white light that evoked the disk of the moon, but the encounter between the luminous circle and the three-dimensional structures was problematic and finally unresolved. This was particularly evident in 91 x 78 x 50, ø30 x 40 + Mooned (all works

  • Grazia Toderi

    Views of the theater are a recurring theme in Grazia Toderi’s work, and her latest video projections investigate two historical examples and one current update, namely, the television spectacle, represented by the TV quiz show Rischiatutto (Risk Everything), which was extremely popular in Italy in the ’70s.

    Shown in Pesaro, Orchestra, 2003, was dedicated to the town’s Gioacchino Rossini Opera House, while Il mondo privato (The Private World), 2003, was about the Teatro di Verzura in the nearby Villa Caprile. “Verzura” means “greenery” in Italian, and the theater is constructed out of hedges and

  • Claudia Losi

    Imagine a gallery filled with a throng of animals making love. Claudia Losi has. Her Atti d’amore (Acts of love), 2002–2003, consists of sculptures of manta rays, snakes, dogs, dragonflies, and more, all made of gray felt and hung from elastic strings that give them the appearance of flying and also emphasize their erotic movement, their purely biological sexuality, in contrast to the human species, whose sexual relations are regulated by cultural and social norms.

    All Losi’s work involves sewing and embroidery. She is not the only contemporary artist to use this traditional women’s craft, of

  • Adrian Paci

    Adrian Paci’s videos concern the emotional nature of origins. An Albanian, he has lived in Italy for five years but has maintained, both conceptually and sentimentally, his primary ties of family, friends, and culture. In his earlier works Albanian Stories, 1997, and Apparizione (Apparition), 2000, he focused on generational relationships. In the former his young daughter recited fairy tales, and allusions to real war were mixed with a battle played out by toys. In Piktori, 2002, Paci told the story of a painter friend who lives in Albania and reproduces famous paintings, forges diplomas and

  • Kendell Geers

    With thirteen installations and sculptures—most but not all executed for the occasion—and twelve photographs, South African artist Kendell Geers addressed the theme of power and the ambiguous boundary separating individual and collective responsibility. The show's title, “Mondo Kane,” is also that of a piece from 2002 consisting of a cement cube entirely covered with pieces of glass, evoking control and enclosure. The form symbolizes the “white cube ”exhibition venue, and the punning title, which conflates the name of the 1962 Italian “shockumentary” Mondo Cane (meaning “beastly world”)

  • Francesco Vezzoli

    Francesco Vezzoli “writes” a very specific history of feelings, from which there emerges a tie between personal emptiness and the need to dramatize one's inner life. Through the lens of movie-star fandom, this artist based in Milan and Rome reinterprets certain great stars of the twentieth century—among them have been Joan Crawford, Audrey Hepbum, Anna Magnani, and Edith Piaf—in such a way that they partially lose their femme fatale qualities in favor of a feminine aura that is, in a broad sense, maternal. This is structured within a theater of sentiments that refers both to film

  • Clegg & Guttmann

    BOOKS LINED UP on shelves can elicit strong emotions. There is the desire to know and the pleasure of availing oneself of a cultural accumulation that has already taken place. The idea that one need only extend a hand to delve into all sorts of histories, arguments, and romances offers great stimulation as well as solace. Libraries both private and public—and bookstores too—electrify and at the same time intimidate. At any moment one can encounter the mind of a writer from any epoch. This is comforting, but it also gives cause for uncertainty, as the effort required of the individual

  • Manuela Cirino

    This exhibition of a set of thirty-five drawings along with a video and two sculptures had a subdued title—“Secondo tentativo” (Second attempt)—but great narrative richness. At a time when visual thinking seems to have become predominant in every form of expression, it is interesting that Manuela Cirino’s art couples figuration with a narrative format. Perhaps this is in response to modem systems of communication (photography, video, Internet), since visual synthesis is now seen not only in terms of artistic expression (painting, sculpture, etc.) but also in terms of everyday behavior. To use

  • Naoto Kawahara

    Painting is very popular among today’s young artists, but in an idiom rather different from that of the various revivals we’ve witnessed since the ’70s. It’s no longer about invoking aura, daring to stand alongside the great figures of the century, or breaking “the hated form of real things,” as Malevich put it. Instead, there is an effort to retain photographic framing without losing the pleasures specific to the slow consummation of a picture, not to mention those associated with tactility. But there’s something else: The return of painting does not signal a debate over the prevalence of a

  • Roberta Silva

    As communication spreads via the Internet and computers, the resistance to declaring one’s emotional horizons crumbles. This is not “postmodern neo-romanticism,” but rather the freedom to give shape, symbol, interpretation to the tie between mind and body, sentiment and reason. In recent years some astute theoretical interpretations have appeared in feminist thought with regard to this subject, and now the visual arts are announcing that women and men need figures and signs to give a name to this change. Knowledge means knowing the emotions, keeping them in a form that neither sanctifies nor

  • Markus Raetz

    FOR MARKUS RAETZ, the dream of art is to discover ever-new images, even within a single form. Fulfilling that dream in this exhibition, he offered an experience something like being inside a kaleidoscope. The key to the exhibition lay in a room hidden off to one side. Abstract shapes cut out of thin iron sheets hung from the ceiling; on the floor, two electric hot plates had been placed on a gray wood base. Gradually, as one moved, a myriad of portraits appeared, conjured through various systems of anamorphosis. The heat given off by the hot plates moved the wires holding up the suspended shapes,

  • Liliana Moro

    At the heart of Liliana Moro’s recent show was an electric toy motorcycle. Slightly raised from the floor so that its rear wheel turned, Soffio (Blow), 1999, not only gave the exhibition its title but also introduced the possibility of speed and movement into the static space of the gallery, an incongruity that taps into childhood fantasies of breaking the rules. Intertwined with the sound of the bike’s motor, one could hear a guitar solo lifted from a ’70s rock song, a juxtaposition that perhaps proposed the vehicle’s and the music’s rhythms as twin velocities.

    Another kind of music could be

  • Alessandra Tesi

    Contemporary, site-specific art in Italy can’t help but collide with an aggregation of artistic signs from the past; and when that happens, the boundaries between past and present are often blurred. Such was the case with Alessandra Tesi’s installation in Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, a Renaissance hospital still graced by fifteenth-century frescoes. Tesi’s intervention, entitled La Croce Verde (The green cross), 1998, played on both the art of fresco painting and the building’s historical function as a place for healing the body.

    On the ceiling of one of the hospital’s long, gray, windowless