Maria Chiara Valacchi

  • picks April 14, 2020

    Yael Bartana

    Yael Bartana’s exhibition “Patriarchy is History,” which convenes bodies of new and previously unseen work across the gallery’s three Milan venues on Via Stradella, walks an emotional tightrope, elaborating the Israeli artist’s political stakes and her interest in how ritual and collective memory shapes social identity. Patriarchy is History, 2019, a neon sculpture that spells out its title in icy-blue, mixed-case font, belongs to the series “What if Women Ruled the World,” 2017–, an interdisciplinary examination of women and power. In the second space, a 2019 video titled The Undertaker rehearses

  • picks February 07, 2020

    Louisa Clement and Georg Herold

    This pairing of young and veteran German conceptualists has something of a student-teacher dynamic—the roles belong to Louisa Clement and Georg Herold, respectively—even if experiencing the gallery’s two floors feels less like learning a lesson and more like witnessing a beautiful waltz through an often ugly concern: namely, what makes us human. Titled “Area Caproni U8OPIA”—an homage to the aircraft that brought them to Milan—the show, their first in the city, sees both artists approach this lofty question with wit and spryness, through nearly forty works in media including photographs, sculptures,

  • picks December 09, 2019

    Vincenzo Agnetti—Autoritratti Ritratti, Scrivere—Enrico Castellani Piero Manzoni

    This exhibition addresses portraiture as a profound subtraction, a situation in which one extracts in order to restore. Curator Giovanni Iovane has enriched his selection of Vincenzo Agnetti’s works, which are spread over the gallery’s three floors and all date to between 1959 and 1981, by including graphic pieces by Enrico Castellani and Pietro Manzoni, whom Agnetti became friends with in the 1960s. Of the twelve of Agnetti’s displayed felt pieces, centrally inscribed with precise, direct writing, some are extremely rare—see Ritratto di amante (Portrait of Lover), 1970, in red and gold, and

  • picks October 13, 2019

    Patrizio Di Massimo

    On the cover of a Rolling Stone issue from 1982, Steve Martin is captured in a giddy jump in front of a Franz Kline painting, camouflaged in a white tuxedo smeared with black paint. Viewers to this exhibition first encounter Self-portrait as abstract painter (After Annie Leibovitz) (all works 2019), for which Patrizio Di Massimo has re-created the shoot, only this time, Kline’s characteristic black brushwork is rendered in a Pepto-Bismol pink, a favorite hue of the painter’s, which he uses to thwart gender tropes. Conceived and made over the past five months, these nine baroque tableaux range

  • picks July 23, 2019

    “Ceramics”

    Cups, sugar bowls, pitchers. These household vessels—enormously scaled by Julian Stair and arrayed on the ground floor—provide a winking initial view of this two-part exhibition, the first iteration of “Ceramics,” an annual project devoted to the multiform potential of pottery in the twenty-first century. Stair’s objects of daily sensory life abandon their original function in favor of a process of abstraction that turns them into pure, sensuous sculpture. Stair magnifies the power of close-reading our world, teasing out equivalences between usefulness and futility.

    Upstairs, “Verso Nuovi Canoni,”

  • picks April 24, 2019

    Thomaz Rosa

    The nine paintings by Brazilian artist Thomaz Rosa on view in this Milan loft space are so varied in size and workmanship that they don’t look like they were all created by the same hand. Rosa references his seemingly haphazard research process in the show’s title, “Intorno Alla Mia Cattiva Educazione” (About My Bad Education), which he borrowed from a 1974 song by an Italian progressive rock band, Alusa Fallax, that he discovered on YouTube. Instead of developing an easily identifiable, personal stylistic cipher, Rosa annotates art-historical homages with the imponderability of chance and

  • picks January 22, 2019

    Eva Marisaldi

    After being closed around three months for renovations, the PAC in Milan has reopened with “Trasporto eccezionale” (Oversize Load), an Eva Marisaldi survey curated by Diego Sileo: a complex journey into this Bolognese artist’s world recounted through thirty-six works dating back to 1993. The “cargo” proceeds, room after room, through memories of trips—both actual and internal, from Africa to Europe to Japan—and references ranging from Emily Dickinson to Truman Capote. Most beguiling are soundscapes composed by the artist’s partner and collaborator, Enrico Serotti. These include Nastronave (

  • picks November 30, 2018

    Jorge Macchi

    The Argentine artist Jorge Macchi’s sixth exhibition here, “Suspension Points,” presents nearly thirty installations, paintings, and sound pieces. Most are shown for the first time, and all are harmonizers of addition and subtraction, presence and void. As the show’s title hints, the works evoke the paradox of an ellipsis inserted between words (silence, omission), delighting in a perceptual buffering powered by playful, rigorous tensions that belie simple forms.

    The diptych Suspension points 03, 2018, an acrylic on paper, depicts, on one panel, the image of an Italian building defined by the

  • picks August 11, 2018

    Diego Marcon

    Resembling a page from a twisted children’s coloring book, the site-specific work that comprises Diego Marcon’s debut institutional solo exhibition begins at the bedside of a sick little girl. The wall composition, curated by Edoardo Bonaspetti and titled La Miserabile (Wretchedness), 2018, unfolds into a highly involved vigil starring sixteen enigmatic figures—other adolescents who try to brush up against the afflicted girl, scrutinize her, or distract themselves with meaningless actions such as looking under the bed or playing with a doll. The room delineates an ambiguous space between sanctity

  • picks May 23, 2018

    Roman Signer

    This survey of Swiss artist Roman Signer comprises thirty-four works that highlight the artist’s concept of “action sculpture,” a mode that combines empirical creation with the intrinsic potential of the object’s nature. The show begins on the villa’s exterior porch. Planschbecken mit Schwimmflügeln (Wading Pool with Water Wings), 2018, an inflatable pool full of water and floating plastic water wings—starkly superimposed against the circular geometry of the mosaic floor paving—establishes an immediate relationship with the architecture of the site. This piece opens up a central sequence that

  • picks March 26, 2018

    “In the Reading Room of Hell”

    “In the Reading Room of Hell,” an exhibition curated by publishing platform NOVEL and loosely inspired by Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño’s 2004 dystopian novel 2666, takes language beyond a mere communicative function to construct a surreal and beautifully confused plot. The project orchestrates twelve different artistic processes, to form a narrative short-circuit that ultimately exceeds the gallery’s two floors, with three large posters installed throughout the lagoon city.

    The show opens with Elaine Cameron-Weir’s aerial work wave form walks the earth, 2017, framed by the large, windowed

  • picks March 05, 2018

    Katharina Grosse and Tatiana Trouvé

    For the fourth and final event in “UNE,” a series of intergenerational exhibitions promoted by the French Academy, curator Chiara Parisi has constructed a dialogue between the massively scaled pictorial work of Katharina Grosse and the symbolic, graphic production of Tatiana Trouvé. Selected for their generational proximity and a shared approach based on the alteration of material and context, the artists interweave works from the past with new interventions, all installed in four contiguous areas of the Mannerist villa Medici.

    The show opens with Trouvé’s sculptures Somewhere in the Solar System

  • picks February 22, 2018

    Erin Shirreff and Elia Cantori

    The works of Erin Shirreff and Elia Cantori, shown at separate Banca di Bologna locations for two exhibitions curated by Simone Menegoi, have something in common: an investigation of the cosmos and the darkroom. Two new works by Shirreff are installed at the Palazzo De’ Toschi, where an underlit, sacred atmosphere welcomes viewers and draws their attention to a video projected on a large, double-sided screen, Son, 2018, which reveals a view of nature determined by perceptual disorientation, beginning with the title, a homophone of the word sun. The artist, fascinated by the total solar eclipse

  • picks December 11, 2017

    Vlatka Horvat

    For her first exhibition in Italy, Croatian artist Vlatka Horvat has installed eleven works across the gallery’s two floors. “Surroundings” pays homage to the horizon, as both a spatial boundary and a goal to which one can aspire, ideologically and physically. The show’s natural path opens with two wooden tables created in 2016, titled Set Right (Table Leg) and Set Right (Tabletop). Reduced to structural skeletons, they boast delicate additions of ribbonlike cardboard, attached with white adhesive tape, as if to conjure missing parts. At Some Length, 2017, is a straight line at eye level, more

  • picks November 16, 2017

    Nick Mauss

    Nick Mauss’s third exhibition with this gallery, arranged throughout both of its Rue de Braque locations, features works that deal with reflection, both literally and metaphorically. In the shadowy arena of Campoli Presti’s ground-floor space is the video installation The Moment (all works 2017). From a projector hung close to the ceiling, an image of a hand drawing an enigmatic sign is cast onto a mirror hanging from a wall. From there, the image is reflected onto the wooden floor, creating a subtle holographic effect while transforming the symbol into a viaticum for artistic creation. We also

  • picks August 29, 2017

    Hiroshi Sugimoto

    In the deliberately dim light and cozy ambience of two large contiguous rooms at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has installed twenty photographic prints from his “Theaters” series. The exhibition, curated by Filippo Maggia and Irene Calderoli, marks the debut of this new series, created over the past three years, which focuses on the interiors of large Italian theaters chosen for their distinctive architecture. The characteristically black-and-white images are the result of advanced photographic techniques and extended exposure times, which captured

  • picks August 21, 2017

    Karl Holmqvist and Klara Liden

    In a large Roman apartment on Via dei Mille, the Indipendenza gallery hosts “Lavoro” (Work), a collaboration between Karl Holmqvist and Klara Liden. This project, originally exhibited in 2016 at the Kunstverein Braunschweig, now includes a new combination of works, some on view for the first time, as well as older installations and videos, such as Nhite Woice, 2015, in which Holmqvist and Liden improvise a synchronized dance. The dialogue underlying the exhibition, activated by twenty-nine works overall, opens with the interaction between Linden’s emblematic Poster Painting, 2012—layered, painted

  • picks August 17, 2017

    Micol Assaël

    Micol Assaël’s solo exhibition “Lettura Di Un’Onda” (Interpretation of a Wave), curated by Bruno Corà and Valentino Catricalà, presents new work across the entire top floor of the Palazzo Belmonte Riso. The Roman artist activates a discrete dialogue with a large permanent installation by Jannis Kounellis composed of old wardrobes suspended from the ceiling. In three adjacent rooms, Assaël has installed four works made from paper and magnets that hang on accordion folding supports which are mounted on horizontal planks built from old windows (typical of working class Sicilian architecture) and

  • picks June 13, 2017

    Yoko Ono and Claire Tabouret

    From the entrance of the Villa Medici, throughout its rooms, and even through its outdoor space, an extended juxtaposition of installation works by Yoko Ono and paintings by French artist Claire Tabouret leads viewers along a complex path. The show creates a dialogue between Tabouret’s new paintings of female figures—with watery backgrounds and energetic, gestural strokes—and Ono’s conceptual, participatory works. Ono’s video SKY TV, 1966–2017, consisting of thirty screens showing live transmissions of Rome’s skies—sets the stage for a counterpoint between her Painting to be Stepped On, 1960–2017,

  • picks February 07, 2017

    Pieter Vermeersch

    Belgian artist Pieter Vermeersch’s second solo show at this gallery’s Paris location comprises seventeen abstract paintings, all Untitled, 2016, made on canvas and marble. They do not readily blend into the architecture of the space—a strategy the artist has employed before.

    The show opens with a series of large chromatic fade-outs on canvas. Each painting has been defaced with scratches: meditative gestures that seem to function as indices of the body. In another room of the gallery, two paintings with more rigid monochromatic gradations, created to mirror each other, have been partially obscured