Critics’ Picks

View of “Altri Venti - Ostro,” 2020–21.

View of “Altri Venti - Ostro,” 2020–21.

Rome

Bruna Esposito

Studio Stefania Miscetti
Via Delle Mantellate, 14
October 22, 2020–March 31, 2021

Having previously explored the dangers of climate change through sound, odor, and taste, here Bruna Esposito turns her attention to an increasingly ubiquitous contraption once largely shunned in Italy, an object of both luxury and distrust: the air conditioner. The first installment in a cycle of exhibitions about sustainability, “Altri Venti - Ostro” raises questions about this appliance’s excessive energy consumption and the pollution wrought by the gases it emits (the show’s title borrows a word for the warm Mediterranean wind, and is to be followed by “Altri Venti - Scirocco,” “Altri Venti - Libeccio,” and “Altri Venti - Grecale”). What will happen, this installation asks, if we refuse to sacrifice our personal comforts for the survival of the planet?

Esposito’s response is frugal in form and radical in content. At the center of the gallery, she has mounted a simple gazebo of bamboo and rope. The front support poles rest on the floor on two old boat propellers, props that have, along with industrial fans, appeared in earlier works by the artist. Toward the back of the structure, a long bench provides a place for visitors to relax and reflect. The trio of 12-volt rotary fans that cool down the room are fueled by energy generated by small photovoltaic panels, which receive light through the gallery’s glass ceiling. Esposito hopes that this low-tech and sustainable solution, already on the market, will soon more freely disseminated, especially in hot, sunny countries prone to electrical blackouts. Unlike the energy market, her approach deals in impalpable elements: light, air. Here, the caress of the fresh breeze tugs us toward a more ideal future, and the whir of the fans slackens time to a gentler rhythm.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.