Simone Menegoi

  • picks March 23, 2012

    Rob Johannesma

    Rob Johannesma’s solo Italian museum debut is split between the Museo Marino Marini and AR-GE Kunst in Bolzano. (The latter show closed on March 17.) For the exhibitions, Johannesma’s created a monumental ink-jet print, both titled World-Wielding, 2011. The point of departure for the piece is a news photograph of a skull and other human remains on a meadow, shot in 1995 near Srebrenica, a site of a massacre during the Bosnian War. Johannesma digitally rephotographed the original image (a small newspaper clipping) hundreds of times and then used small portions of his shots to re-create the original

  • picks March 03, 2012

    Hubert Duprat

    With his limited output and its equally rarefied exhibition history, Hubert Duprat has received critical acclaim over the years as a sequestered alchemist of sculpture. He is known above all for incorporating a wide range of unusual materials, which he often examines in depth, exploring everything from their physical properties and vulnerabilities to their status in the history of material culture. Unlike other artists who share a similar perspective (Simon Starling, to name just one), Duprat chooses closed, “classical” forms that concede little or nothing to the narrative dimension.

    His current

  • picks January 05, 2012

    Simon Starling

    Exhibitions curated by artists who use appropriation pose interesting problems. The most compelling regards status: What is the boundary between a show curated by an artist consisting of works by others, and a show in which an artist appropriates others’ work as part of his practice? Although appropriation is not at the core of Simon Starling’s work, he often incorporates design objects and sometimes works of art in their own right into his pieces. Responding to the invitation to create a project at the Fondazione Merz, Starling has selected, in addition to his own works, a heterogeneous

  • picks December 13, 2011

    Éric Poitevin

    Éric Poitevin casts the same detached, apparently neutral eye on all his subjects. As far as studio shots are concerned, he applies a uniform scheme (monochrome background, no shadows, figure centered in the frame) to photographs depicting everything from the carcass of a slaughtered ram to a weathered tree trunk to the naked body of an elderly woman. One intuits that these decisions are driven by not only visual principles but also, we might say, moral ones: What his images exhibit is a refusal to establish a hierarchy among the natural kingdoms. In photograph after photograph, what first seems

  • picks December 01, 2011

    Bill Bollinger, Michael E. Smith, Yael Bartana

    In the late 1960s, Bill Bollinger was considered by most critics as a leading post-Minimalist artist––his works were featured in the most illustrious shows at the time, such as the 1970 MoMA exhibition “Information.” Yet when Bollinger died prematurely in 1988, his work had already slipped into relative obscurity. This year, curator Christiane Meyer-Stoll, in collaboration with Rolf Ricke, organized Bollinger’s first traveling retrospective (it has visited the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, ZKM/Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, and the Fruitmarket Gallery). In doing so, Meyer-Stoll overcame

  • picks November 22, 2011

    “Beyond the Fragile Geometry of Sculpture”

    This group show poses a few significant questions for contemporary sculpture such as: What is the relationship between volume and surface? Is there a dialectic that can be forged between a figure and its physical support? The exhibition’s title is borrowed from Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 thriller Don’t Look Now, in which a fictitious book called Beyond the Fragile Geometry of Space makes a quick cameo. The protagonist of the film is an art conservator who specializes in mosaics, a medium that entails a detailed involvement with materials and alchemies for the production of images.

    Eva Berendes’s large

  • picks November 14, 2011

    Barry Flanagan

    Sometimes the fame of certain artists is unfairly bound to a single body of work, and curiously enough, it may not always be the best work in their repertoire. Barry Flanagan is known above all for the bronze sculptures he made beginning in 1980, depicting humanoid hares that leap, dance, and play the tambourine. “Early Works 1965–1982” opportunely points out that the “bunny” phase was preceded by fifteen years of some of the most interesting sculptural experimentation in the United Kingdom, while also reminding us that Flanagan was the only English artist included in both “When Attitudes Become

  • picks October 31, 2011

    Athanasios Argianas

    In 1979 Umberto Eco defined the literary text as a “lazy machine,” a device that requires the active participation of the reader to produce meaning. The sculptures of the Athens-born, London-based Athanasios Argianas are static “machines” that function conceptually, in some sense, as examples of Eco’s theory—and not without a touch of irony. Song Machine 21 (thrice two, once one) (all works 2011) consists of a long, looped band of brass that snakes around a series of slender metal wall supports. Engraved into this curving metal band is a circular text, over one thousand words long, that obsessively

  • picks October 17, 2011

    Piero Fogliati

    Despite two appearances at the Venice Biennale (in 1978 and 1986) and his 2003 retrospective in Turin, Piero Fogliati remains a relatively unknown artist, nearly absent from the market and unfamiliar to the wider public. Thus it is surprising and pleasing to see that a new Milan gallery is presenting “Subtile,” a selection of his older works, including seven kinetic sculptures that produce sound and light effects, almost all created between 1966 and 1976. A group of drawings on view, made between 1973 and the present, make the show even more delightful.

    Much early kinetic art has not aged well;

  • picks October 17, 2011

    Reto Pulfer

    Reto Pulfer’s work is best defined as painting, though it isn’t painting exactly. The thirty-year-old Swiss artist’s arrangements of dyed fabrics are not quite installations, either; they are more like paintings that extend in three dimensions, intolerant of the closed form of the conventional canvas but tied to the compositional principles of the medium. Indeed, Pulfer often thinks about his works in terms of figure and ground, and even its canonical materials (painted and drawn canvas) are borrowed from painting. His work is a form of abstraction with a subtly imaginative disposition, quiet

  • picks June 17, 2011

    Peter Buggenhout

    The sculptures of Belgian artist Peter Buggenhout must be carefully sterilized before being exhibited. The smallest are left for several days in industrial refrigerators; the larger ones (which can be several meters wide) are treated repeatedly with chemical disinfectants. The reason is clear at first glance. The works in the series “The Blind Leading the Blind,” 2007–11, are covered in a thick layer of dust and filth; those of “Gorgo” (Gorgon), 2011, are made of materials that include blood, hair, and animal innards. They have the appearance of abandoned carcasses and chaotic accumulations,

  • picks May 23, 2011

    Rolf Julius

    “I long thought about how one can create rooms where one can withdraw and find rest, where one can see, hear, and concentrate, where one is shut off from the external world and yet takes part in it,” wrote Rolf Julius in his 1987 essay “Room of Stillness.” Room of Stillness II, the second in a series of planned installations by the artist, has been materialized in one of the two galleries of the e/static cultural association in Turin. Unfortunately, it is also the last such space by the artist, who died this past January at the age of seventy-one. Room of Stillness II is a unified composition

  • picks April 18, 2011

    Michael E. Smith

    The ground-floor gallery that houses part of Michael E. Smith’s latest exhibition is dark, with only a few neon lights left on to illuminate the works. Two videos offer a bit of supplementary light: an extreme close-up of a fish––pathetic, perhaps dying––in an aquarium; and a blurred, indecipherable image projected through the metal frame of a fan. In the shadows, the atmosphere of deterioration, entropy, and regression that characterizes Smith’s work––a milieu that speaks to the urban reality of Detroit, the artist’s hometown––takes on a sinister intensity. A sculpture made from a piece of a