Critics’ Picks

View of “L’Inarchiviabile” (The Unarchivable), 2016

Milan

“L’Inarchiviabile”

FM Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea
Via G.B. Piranesi 10
April 8–June 15

Curated by Marco Scotini in collaboration with Lorenzo Paini, “L’Inarchiviabile” (The Unarchivable) is an exhibition of over two hundred works by nearly sixty artists that allows viewers to fully appreciate the ’70s Italian art scene—rife with practices that defied categorization due to their specific ephemeral and performative natures, and with operations implicitly aimed at the classification and inventory-taking of often elusive forms and actions. The exhibition is organized into ten chapters that trace heterogeneous points of inspiration and reflection.

In Photomatic d’Italia (Photo Booth from Italy), 1973–74, Franco Vaccari collects photo-booth strips shot at sites all along the Italian peninsula, turning the booth, which reached that country in 1962, into a democratic and revolutionary means of telling stories through images. In Tutto (Everything), 1973, Giovanni Anselmo applied self-adhesive letters to canvas, spelling out the titular word, its letters spilling over onto the wall as if part of a field of activity that could no longer be contained within a pictorial surface. In Misura mano sinistra (Left Hand Measurement), 1971; Tre palmi quadri (Three Square Palms), 1972; and Spalla-medio (Average-shoulder), 1973, Paolo Icaro proposes alternative methods for taking stock of space, employing his own body parts (hand, thumb, shoulder) as units of measurement.

For A scatola chiusa (Leftovers), 1975, Gianfranco Baruchello gathered what remained on his worktable at the end of each day, collecting it in series of identical Plexiglas boxes; the results are archives of superfluous and nonselective memory governed by happenstance (in contrast, for example, with the experiments of Joseph Cornell, who composed his boxes as deliberate collections of experiences, imagination, and mental connections, or Marcel Duchamp, whose Boîte-en-valise offered a miniaturization of his creative world). In Tentativo di formare quadrati invece che dei cerchi intorno a un sasso che cade nell’acqua (Attempt to form squares instead of circles around a stone that falls in the water), 1969, Gino De Dominicis recapitulates and describes the aspiration to the infinite and to utopia that embraces an entire era.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.