Giorgio Verzotti

  • Douglas Gordon

    Three different interventions made up this Scottish artist’s recent exhibition: some neon writing, a photographic installation, and a video installation. The neon piece, Unfinished, 2011, installed in the gallery entrance, carried the words JE SUIS LE NOMBRIL DU MONDE (I am the navel of the world). The neon was fractured right in the center, and fragments were visible on the floor. While it was turned on, the words were difficult to read, and thus it became a metaphor for an active subjectivity that is nevertheless conscious of its own limitations.

    The other two works were perhaps exemplifications

  • Pae White

    The new works that made up Pae White’s recent exhibition, “A piece of the almost grey sky . . . ,” had each been assigned an allusive and ironic title. Two large tapestries with white backgrounds, coming after those enormous ones with black backgrounds seen at the 2010 Whitney Biennial, are called Milan Hazy 1 and Milan Hazy 2 (all works cited, 2011), the English words recalling through assonance the Italian name for the inhabitants of Milan: Milanesi. The images were originally photographs of coils of smoke, to which White gave plastic relief and visual consistency while maintaining their

  • Jean-Baptiste Maitre

    A young French artist based in Amsterdam, Jean-Baptiste Maitre is engaged in a project that might be described as the deconstruction of the modernist text. Not Necessarily Words, 2010, the work that gives his solo show its title, appeared, at first glance, to be a piece of writing in yellow neon, inexplicably turned off; then one realized that it was a skillfully molded ceramic bas-relief. The artist told me that his intention is to compare the manual nature of a traditional artistic process with the industrial techniques that were introduced into art by avant-garde practices in the 1970s.

    Another

  • John McCracken

    The Manica Lunga, or “long sleeve,” of the Castello di Rivoli takes its name from its shape. It is a long, relatively narrow wing of the building—a corridor studded with windows. Although the exhibition space is usually difficult to handle, it might nonetheless be almost perfect for John McCracken’s sculptures. Brightly colored and almost sparklingly vivid, positioned in the space with great freedom, they make the Manica Lunga look as if it were inhabited by creatures from another dimension, similar to the cosmic realm of the aliens to which the artist alludes in his work and which he

  • Gabriele Di Matteo

    In the inventory of the Prado in Madrid, Velázquez’s Las Meninas used to be called, rather, a “family portrait,” and this is how Gabriele Di Matteo titled his exhibition: “Quadro di Famiglia.” Five large replicas of the celebrated painting were exhibited on the walls, each the same size as the original but fragmented into sixteen square modules that, together, make up the famous scene—the presentation of the Infanta Margarita during a sitting for a portrait. More precisely, four paintings repeated this scene, while the fifth showed the modules in scattered order, a sort of re-creation in

  • Eva Marisaldi

    Eva Marisaldi’s recent exhibition was dominated by two new works, both 2010: a large sculpture, Post It, and Underlines, a video made in collaboration with Enrico Serotti, who also wrote the music, which lent the show its title. Both were inspired by a short film on YouTube in which some entomologists in Brazil discover a gigantic ant colony. By injecting into the anthill a liquid that then solidifies, the scientists obtain a cast of this large excavation carried out by the insects, a complex system of spaces forming channels and spherical cells. The idea of this type of construction project,

  • Philippe Parreno

    Rirkrit Tiravanija’s exhibition at Pilar Corrias was meant to close on December 1, 2010, but it continued; the artist’s name remained up on the wall next to the door. But now it was written not in red but in white on white, like ghost writing. In fact there were some slight modifications to the show, not by Tiravanija but by Philippe Parreno, achieved without removing anything. Among them was a phantasmagoric addition that was fully revealed only at night: Parreno added a three-handled entrance door equipped with a sensor so it opened automatically every time someone approached. Above the door

  • Joseph Kosuth

    In this exhibition, Joseph Kosuth’s newest work, “Texts for Nothing”: Samuel Beckett, in play, 2010, occupies the first floor of Lia Rumma’s new space in Milan. The other two floors contain older works, dating as far back as 1965—evidence of the American artist’s long collaboration with the Italian gallerist, whose first exhibition of Kosuth’s work took place in 1971.

    To make his large new installation, Kosuth examined Samuel Beckett’s “Texts for Nothing” (1958), transcribing brief excerpts from it into white neon letters, some in English, others in Italian, which he mounted on the uniform

  • Corrado Levi

    The title sounded mysterious, “Quasi, autoamori di Johnny, e una poesia” (Almost, Johnny’s Self-Loves, and a Poem), but it perfectly illustrated the content of Corrado Levi’s show, which opened shortly after the artist’s large-scale retrospective at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bergamo, some twenty-five miles outside Milan. At Peep-Hole, however, there was only a very short poem and a string hung across the room lengthwise, from one wall to another, to which twenty-seven sheets of paper were attached. The same configuration, sans poem, was repeated in a smaller adjacent room,

  • Sean Shanahan

    For years Sean Shanahan’s work has been based on monochrome applications of oil paint on MDF surfaces; its most important characteristics are the color and the format of the support. The color is always the end result of various tones being mixed until a particular and unique shade is attained. This “individualization” of the work through laborious chromatic research contrasts with the choice of standard formats. The depth of each work—in the case of five paintings in this exhibition, four centimeters, or 1 5⁄8 inches—is always cited in its caption, along with its height and width since, due to

  • Gabriel Kuri

    “Soft Information in Your Hard Facts” was the title of this exhibition, which brought together twenty works Gabriel Kuri made over the past seven years. Some had been conceived specifically for the Museion building, which the artist had modified for the occasion. The exhibition was installed on the top floor, which was separated into three distinct zones. Climbing the stairs, the visitor first arrived in a large empty space formed by the construction of two white, apparently solid walls. Yet one immediately noticed two small interventions at the center of each wall, facing each other: a small,

  • Terre Vulnerabili

    After a massive reconstruction, this Milanese foundation reopened last June with large-scale installations by Christian Boltanski and Carlos Casas, introducing “Vulnerable Lands,” a four-part exhibition that officially begins in October.

    After a massive reconstruction, this Milanese foundation reopened last June with large-scale installations by Christian Boltanski and Carlos Casas, introducing “Vulnerable Lands,” a four-part exhibition that officially begins in October. Engaging some thirty artists in all—including Italy’s own Mario Airò and Massimo Bartolini, as well as Carlos Garaicoa (Cuba), Christiâne Löhr (Germany), Gelitin (Austria), Mona Hatoum (Lebanon/UK), and Nari Ward (Jamaica/US)—the institution has invited twelve to initiate works that will be not just curated but “cared for,” conceptually

  • Ursula Mayer

    For her second solo show in Rome, Ursula Mayer chose a classical theme—the story of Medea—on which she proposed a series of thematic variations. The exhibition was divided into two parts, one consisting of a 16-mm film, Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, 2009 (which also lent its title to the show), and the other a group of separate works that nonetheless seemed to comment on the film’s themes.

    The film is a double projection: On the left, we see details of an ancient bas-relief depicting Medea, the enchantress who killed her own children to take revenge on her husband, Jason, after he renounced

  • Otto Zitko

    In an Otto Zitko exhibition, one usually expects a wall drawing that covers the entire interior of the space, and this is precisely what occurred here (with Untitled, 2009) in the artist’s first solo show in Italy. Yet this time there was also something else that made the show even more interesting. In a room separate from the wall intervention (except for traces high up and on the ceiling), the artist exhibited a portfolio of ten lithographs titled Pythia, from 2008. Nine of the lithographs present tangles of marks; one is a female portrait. According to the ancient Greeks, Pythia sat on a

  • “The Big Game: Art Forms in Italy 1947–1989”

    Three museums in as many northern Italian cities have combined forces on a large exhibition devoted to arts in Italy during the cold war.

    Three museums in as many northern Italian cities have combined forces on a large exhibition devoted to arts in Italy during the cold war. Comparing developments in visual art throughout this period with parallel transformations in design, architecture, cinema, and literature, each exhibition site is slated to correspond to a different tranche of the era—1947–58 at Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Lissone; 1959–72 at Rotonda della Besana, Milan; and 1973–89 at GAMEC, Bergamo. Featuring the work of more than one hundred artists, designers,

  • Gilberto Zorio

    Gilberto Zorio’s exhibitions always provide an effective confrontation with space: The artist constructs new works or environments that interact with their architectural envelope. In the large hall of the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna (mambo), Zorio has created the most recent installment of his series of “Towers,” begun in 1976—constructions, made from light, aerated concrete blocks, in the shape of a five-pointed star. Here, the shape of Torre Stella Bologna (Bologna Star Tower), 2009, can be perceived only from the museum’s second-story windows above, which look out from a corridor onto

  • Daniele Puppi

    Daniele Puppi’s most recent exhibition in Italy was entitled “Zero” because it was intended to mark a turning point in the artist’s work, a kind of new degree zero. Real space has always been Puppi’s point of departure, but this time there were no more video installations, no more images—only the space of Vistamare’s ten rooms, which occupy an entire floor of a building in the center of Pescara.

    Here, viewers found themselves face-to-face with the gallery itself, illuminated solely by the daylight that filtered in through the windows—at night a weak light was added—making it possible to see

  • Gianni Colombo

    This exhibition of nearly one hundred pieces, Colombo’s largest retrospective to date, features early paintings, ceramics, and tactile reliefs; important motor-driven wall pieces; and reconstructions of six disorienting “environments” created between 1964 and 1993, the year of his death at age fifty-six.

    Gianni Colombo, a leading Kineticist and cofounder of Gruppo T, cut his teeth in mid-’50s Milan alongside Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni; his work soon invited the participation of the viewer in a radical, witty attempt at providing a complete sensory experience. This exhibition of nearly one hundred pieces, Colombo’s largest retrospective to date, features early paintings, ceramics, and tactile reliefs; important motor-driven wall pieces; and reconstructions of six disorienting “environments” created between 1964 and 1993, the year of his

  • Liliana Moro

    In what was the final show at Emi Fontana’s Milan space, one of the gallery’s “historical” artists, Liliana Moro, exhibited four new works. Proceeding from the entrance toward the back of the exhibition space, one came upon Flo, VI, Ru (all works 2009), three orange sculptures in the shape of suppositories that take their name from characters in the short play Come and Go (1965) by Samuel Beckett, an author congenial to Moro’s hermetic spirit. All That Fall, a collage of photos clipped from newspapers, also refers to Beckett through its title. Then there were two untitled works: One consists of

  • Francesco Vezzoli

    Francesco Vezzoli’s exhibitions are always a mix of high and low—apparently banal but in reality dense with sophisticated citations—or at least they have a knack for calling on the right references at the right moment. For “Greed, a New Fragrance by Francesco Vezzoli,” the large oval room of Gagosian Rome was converted into a luxury showroom, with an almost perfect transformation of the environment that recalled the installations of Guillaume Bijl. The walls were entirely draped in red velvet, and at the center of the gallery was an enormous perfume bottle, called Greed, the Perfume That Doesn’t