Giorgio Verzotti

  • Biennale of Architecture

    The Giardini di Castello and the Corderie dell’Arsenale—the traditional exhibition spaces for the visual arts section of the Venice Biennale—were used for the first time for the architecture section. The layout echoed that of the art exhibitions: the Corderie contained “Schools of Architecture,” young architects who, like the artists in the Aperto, presented new directions in architecture; the Italian pavilion contained, in addition to national figures, theme shows, in this case the results of an international competition, “A Gate for Venice,” and another, invitational competition for the

  • “No Man's Time”

    “No Man’s Time” presents the work of 20 international artists: 19 plus Martin Kippenberger, here celebrated as the master. The installation of the show grew from a labyrinth of small spaces constructed in one wing of the museum. Here, each artist exhibited small-scale works, while in the other spaces they were free to make large-scale installations. This was the least successful part of the show, because the large-scale pieces seemed to work to the detriment of the young artists, too easily pushing them toward exaggeration and redundancy. Angela Bulloch’s “television” installation, Slide Projection

  • Simon Linke

    The contemporary art magazine is an integral part of today’s art system. As an instrument that disseminates the discourse on art, it makes art known. In order to exist, the work of art must participate in the system, and so it must be able to move within all the areas where the system is articulated: in the artist’s studio, the gallery, the museum, and finally the magazine. By convention, everything that fails to become involved with this translatability into critical text and photographic reproductions—everything that fails to conform to the existing circuit laid out by the system—fails to be

  • Remo Salvadori

    On the occasion of his first museum retrospective, Remo Salvadori modified the gallery to facilitate the presentation and interpretation of his works. He changed the continuous curved walls into angular and rigid ones. The first large gallery ended with a narrow, funnel-shaped passage that opened onto a second triangular space, and finally merged into another large hall. The form of the triangle dominated the space, and the arrangement of the works, which “spangled” the walls and the floor in greater or lesser density; seemed to spiral into the installation Qui non si misura il tempo (Here one

  • Alberto Garutti

    Alberto Garutti’s abstraction, while formally cold, implies his personal history, his life, his experience. His most recent works are a series of monochrome white sheets of paper, studded with mechanically made holes and set in heavy metal frames. If a line connected all the holes, the result would be a very schematized image of a piece of furniture belonging to the artist. These sheets of white paper are, in reality, pieces of wallpaper, and despite their being framed and placed beneath glass, they still bring to mind the domestic site.

    This show also included one large piece that stood in

  • Gabriele de Matteo

    Gabriele De Matteo’s work is concerned with the photographic enlargement of found images. He takes illustrations from books and enlarges them, deleting the text and emphasizing, through the image’s large dimensions, what remains of the relationship of interrupted meaning. The image, now lacking anything that might restore it to a broader context, loses its informational function and becomes a sort of free-floating element. It is an open text, made more ambiguous by the residual captions, and referring to a nonexistent totality that, in the end, can no longer be analyzed.

    Here, De Matteo has taken

  • PIERO MANZONI'S LIFELINES

    There are no beginnings in the brief life of Piero Manzoni (1933–1963); there is no period of development.1 From his first contact, about 1954, with avant-garde artistic circles in Milan, he exhibited an unconditional and fully conscious militancy, displaying the temperament of a protagonist who, knowing that he lives in a period of change, wants to intervene from within.

    Crucial to this understanding was a recognition that the avant-garde is supported not only with works of art but with declarations of poetics, with polemics, with manifestos. Manzoni wrote his first manifesto, Per la scoperta

  • Ange Leccia

    Ange Leccia refers to his works with objects as “arrangements.” Unlike the term “installation,” arrangement implies a nondefinitive, ephemeral disposition of elements. Leccia expresses a sense of order based on symmetries and on correspondences between elements, and this structural precision gives rise to a new universe of meanings. Indeed, one might say that by combining objects, Leccia proposes orders aimed less at establishing a new system, than at intervening conceptually with existing ones.

    Whether large or small, most of the objects Leccia chooses—televisions, projectors, suitcases,

  • Jean-Marc Bustamante

    Jean-Marc Bustamante’s pieces consistently problematize the spatial. Sometimes they are conceived in relationship to a specific space, as in the recent exhibition at the Haus Lange Museum in Krefeld, in other instances they refer to a more abstract space, as in this solo exhibition. In Krefeld, in a house designed by Mies Van der Rohe and later transformed into a museum, the artist adapted the architectural materials of the interiors—the wood of the floors and baseboard moldings, the cement of the walls—with grooves alluding to bricks, in order to foreground their relationships to the rooms they

  • DOPPEL JEOPARDY

    IN EARLY AUGUST I had to accompany a large painting by Pellizza da Volpedo, entitled Fiumana (Crowd, 1895), from the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan to the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, where it was included in a historical show dedicated to Bismarck. In these days of German unification—and here Berlin reunification—it was perhaps ironic that Bismarck, who first unified Germany and mollified the proletariat through a series of social reforms as well, was the cause of my trip. Fiumana is the first version of Pellizza’s most famous work, Il Quarto Stato (The fourth estate, 1901), which became in

  • WHAT WILL BECOME . . . : THE 44th VENICE BIENNALE

    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

  • Giorgio Verzotti

    THE VENICE BIENNALE ought to be an exhaustive summary of the latest and most interesting developments in international art, and it never is. One knows this. So why get angry with it, and the best way to see the show without getting angry is to ignore its subdivisions of exhibitions and pavilions, to ignore the meanings it actively proposes, and to use the relationships among the many works there for one’s own ends. In fact there are a number of unexpected thematic affinities in the 44th Biennale, even among very different artists, and there are also interesting differences in the way that the

  • Philippe Cazal

    Philippe Cazal represents a new French neo-Conceptualism, which focuses analysis less on the specific language of art, than on the system that legitimizes the very existence of art as a specialized activity. In comparing the art system with information systems in general, these artists acknowledge the differences, but more importantly they emphasize analogies. If the mass media remove experience from the realm of the real, transforming reality into spectacle, then these artists foreground the unreality of the spectacle through an ironic transmigration of signs.

    In 1982 Philippe Cazal entrusted

  • Keith Sonnier

    Though this pair of exhibitions was primarily dedicated to Keith Sonnier’s latest work, the Halle Sud portion included several pieces from the ’60s. It was during this period that the artist introduced his signature materials including neon and glass, and it was interesting to see his “antiform” investigations once again. The spare materials and the neon installations that alluded to form without making it explicit have now been replaced by a dialectic between defined form-structure on the one hand, and its radical transgression on the other.

    Though Sonnier delineates precise geometric forms, in

  • Ugo Mulas

    With this retrospective, the city of Milan paid homage to its greatest photographer, Ugo Mulas. Mulas was born in 1928 and died in 1973. Even during his student years at the academy, he was in touch with the art world, and it was in the work of painters and sculptors that he sought an answer to the question he always posed: how to define the work of the photographer. This exhibition, organized by Germano Celant, covered all his activity, from 1953 until the year of his death, and gave a chronological view that documented all the “themes” he addressed.

    Mulas was above all a great portraitist, but

  • Ketty La Rocca

    Ketty La Rocca, who died prematurely in 1977, was one of the most distinctive Italian artists of the ’70s. The interdisciplinary nature of her work places her amid events, typical of the decade, that oscillated between visual poetry, installation, and performance. The pieces selected for this retrospective showed the broad scope of her work. La Rocca first appeared on the art scene in the mid ’60s with collages made from newspaper images and words. Freely put together, the combinations resulted in fresh viewpoints that work ironically to undermine the tranquilizing messages of advertising. Here