Veronica Santi

  • picks November 22, 2020

    “Le muse inquiete (The Disquieted Muses)”

    If, in our contemporary moment, the word “muse” bears the gendered connotation of a passive source of inspiration for artistic genius, the term reacquires its original identification with active creativity in “Le muse inquiete (The Disquieted Muses). When La Biennale Meets History.” Here, the mythical daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne become metaphors for the Art, Architecture, Cinema, Theater, Music, and Dance sections of the Venice Biennale, whose history is recounted through more than a thousand objects, obtained principally from the extensive Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts (ASAC).

  • Tomás Saraceno

    Each of the nine spaces of Tomás Saraceno’s exhibition “Aria” (Air) is introduced by one of the thirty-three cards making up the artist’s Arachnomancy Cards, 2018. Previously presented at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the work is inspired by nggàm, the practice, developed by the Mambila people of Cameroon and Nigeria, of using spiders for fortune-telling. Subverting the roles of critic and curator, these cards introduce a magical element into Saraceno’s practice; the prophecy foretold by the spider and its web (an extension of its senses) guides us in our understanding of the exhibited works.

    Under

  • Urs Lüthi

    Over the course of the 1970s, Urs Lüthi used the photographic self-portrait to imprint his face upon the public eye. Armed with a camera and a cutting sense of humor, the artist fragmented and reconstituted his own representation until it had seemingly expanded and dissipated into infinite other identities and fleeting narratives, while still retaining the ability to deliver a gut punch: Despite the serial nature of the project, these images emphatically reclaimed an emotional space that went beyond Conceptual art and the cerebral realm.

    In the 1980s, amid the exhaustion of the unbridled rigor

  • picks February 27, 2020

    Franco Vaccari

    Eyes wide-open, challenging our increasingly bland, flattened, and frenetic reality, Franco Vaccari transforms the spaces of P420 into a “cavern of memory” populated by his own dreams. Entering, viewers discover his visions one by one. In the dark gallery, lights turns on as one approaches the individual works, revealing fragmented images charged with emotion.

    Migrazione del reale” (Exodus of the Real) largely consists of photographs of notebooks in which the artist has recorded his dreams every morning since the early 1980s. Placing them at a remove and further reworking them, as if trying to

  • Berlinde De Bruyckere

    Within the minimalist architecture of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Berlinde De Bruyckere’s solo exhibition “Aletheia” offers an extraordinary progression, beginning with the artist’s formidable sculptural technique in wax, before taking a clear step in the direction of immersive and environmental installation.

    Drawing its title from the Greek word for truth or disclosure, the exhibition derives its formal vocabulary from a skin traders’ workshop the artist visited in Anderlecht, Belgium. The show commences in the hallway, with Nijvel I <em>and Nijvel II, both 2019 (and titled

  • picks April 18, 2019

    Prateep Suthathongthai

    Contrary to the common pattern of rural populations migrating to big cities for work, Prateep Suthathongthai moved from Bangkok, where he was born, to Maha Sarakham province, in the northeastern region of the country known as Isan. This area was a major site of the United States’ anti-communist efforts against Laos during the Cold War, and, subsequently, a setting for the country’s rapid urbanization and Westernization. With the distance of belonging to the generation born after this period, Suthathongthai began collecting and faithfully reproducing publications—some of which were part of the

  • Josep Grau-Garriga

    Experimenting with materials in an ambiguous and disturbing manner, Josep Grau-Garriga (1929–2011) pushed the art of tapestry into new territory. His work is marked by his human and civil commitment—which put him in conflict with the Franco regime in Spain—and by his personal dedication. This first solo show in Belgium, with tapestries and drawings spanning nearly forty years, provided a full overview of the Catalan artist’s pioneering oeuvre.

    Born in Sant Cugat del Vallès, near Barcelona, Grau-Garriga’s promising career in textile art took a decisive turn when, in the late 1950s, he went to

  • picks January 31, 2019

    Domenico Mangano & Marieke Van Rooy

    High up on a wall like metopes on a Greek temple hang ten images that serve as a focal point of “Sonnet Cycle,” the latest exhibition by artist duo Domenico Mangano and Marieke van Rooy. The series, “The Pure Truth about Strange People” (all works 2018), is the result of a photographic bricolage created across three phases. First, the artists collected digitized miniatures taken from the thirteenth-century Dutch poet Jacob van Maerlant’s book Der naturen bloeme (The Flower of Nature). A sort of medieval Wikipedia, the manuscript provides a catalogue of exotic animals, plants, and people based

  • Rosa Barba

    In the fledgling gallery Vistamarestudio, Rosa Barba presented “Pensiero Spaziolungo” (Longspace Idea), a constellation of works that seemed heterogeneous at first glance but that all interrogated the conceptual and material elements of language and cinema by way of astronomy. In dialogue with the work of the American astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868–1921), Barba employed neon, video, glass, canvas, felt, projectors, filmstrips, and screens, addressing themes that, while not new in her practice, here attained an intimacy that is perhaps without equal in her most recent production.

    The

  • picks May 25, 2018

    Robert Kushner

    “I just want to be a good visual seducer.” So Robert Kushner declared in a 1981 interview. And as we see in his current exhibition here, “Reverie: Dupatta-topia,” the artist—a pioneer of the Pattern and Decoration movement—confirms his approach to ornament as a specific way of seeing and moving through the world. In these canvases and panels, Kushner refrained from adding paint to his surfaces until the gilding and fabric collaging were finished. Though the works recall some of Kushner’s earliest pieces, what we see before us feels utterly new.

    In Large Red Dahlia, 2017, outlines of the flower

  • picks April 06, 2018

    Bradley Eros

    In “All that is solid melts into eros,” Bradley Eros modifies a famous phrase from the first chapter of the Communist Manifesto, adding human life to the concepts of natural philosophy that Marx uses to explain societal changes and political systems. Through elementary forms and ephemeral objects created with common materials such as ash, foil, and paper, Eros restores ideas of nature and natural processes, where culture had prevailed with arrogance.

    Eros’s pieces, hymns to impermanence, are continually reshaped through spare, playful, and ritualistic actions (viewers are also encouraged to aid

  • picks February 16, 2018

    Laurel Nakadate

    There is a different Laurel Nakadate on view in this exhibition. The woman here—no longer a catalyst in extreme social experiments, as she was in a number of well-known earlier projects—is a mother who reflects on her own family and personal history.

    In “The Kingdom” (all works cited, 2018), the series that gives the show its title, thirty-four digital photomontages depict Nakadate’s infant son inserted into vintage photographs of the artist’s mother, who died shortly after his birth. The little boy, traversing space and time, appears in a variety of scenarios: resting peacefully in his grandmother’s