Critics’ Picks

Eugenio Tibaldi, Seconda chance, fontana (Second chance, fountain), 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.


Eugenio Tibaldi

Museo Ettore Fico
Via Francesco Cigna 114
October 28, 2016–January 29, 2017

Eugenio Tibaldi is an anomalous migrant. Born in Piedmont, he moved to the outskirts of Naples to acquaint himself with what he saw as the “most plastic and mobile” region of Italy. His work often favors so-called peripheral zones: places of stagnation that nonetheless afford greater freedom. In this show, which inhabits the entire upper area of the museum, viewers confront an original artistic and anthropological investigation of the Barriera di Milano neighborhood of Turin, where the museum is located. At the show’s entrance is a beaded curtain that bears the phrase “L’ideologia è la falsa coscienza…” (Ideology is false consciousness…). The phrase dissolves as visitors pass through, then recomposes when they disappear beyond the curtain. The show’s title, “Seconda Chance” (Second Chance), refers to the second life of objects that the region’s inhabitants have sold or donated to the artist. A kitchen cabinet contains jars of Nutella taken from Tibaldi’s house; equipped with glass slabs, they are transformed into elegant if improbable wine chalices—an astute self-portrait of sorts.

A massive, grid-like structure of pipes and scaffolding extends through the space, never touching the floor or walls except through the objects in question, which have been modified into what one might call auxiliary readymades and are interspersed among the structure and its resting points. The framework’s solidity, the artist seems to suggest, invariably passes through human presence, history, and memory. As it turns out, the grid depicts a captivating mental map of the neighborhood where the artist stayed and wandered for months. The result is something between a Situationist psychogeography and an impassioned collector’s accumulation of junk. Ultimately, the show becomes a second chance for visitors to inhabit a physical place the artist left some years ago, but also a second chance for objects to find new form and new, unpredictable significance in the world.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.