Critics’ Picks

View of “Italo Zuffi,” 2015

View of “Italo Zuffi,” 2015


Italo Zuffi

Nomas Foundation
Viale Somalia 33
February 11–May 15, 2015

Italo Zuffi’s reflections on the intellectual and social dynamics of art are on full display in his first institutional solo show, organized by Cecilia Canziani and Ilaria Gianni. In a video titled The Reminder, 1997, Zuffi is seen carrying out physical exercises to explore the space around him; Territorio (Territory), 1997, mines similar themes, as a photocopy, folded into eight parts, that alludes to the geometric scansion of the room captured in the video. Similar spatial investigations occur in Go away, 2003, in which two aluminum sawhorses appear in various arrangements, causing variations in visitors’ sense of equilibrium and proportions of the surroundings.

The artist’s role and relationships become central in three works, Una linea nell’arte italiana (A line in Italian art), 2010; Zuffi per Bonami (Zuffi to Bonami), 2010; and Esponenti (Exponents), 2010–15. The first is a group of aluminum plaques that commemorate Mario Sironi, Gino De Dominicis, and Roberto Cuoghi. The second, a performance involving scarves and steel cable, commented ironically on the role of chance in an artist’s career success: At the piece’s end, a gallery returned to Zuffi two CDs of his portfolio that may or may not have been passed along to curator Francesco Bonami. And the third is a photographic sequence that recounts the artist’s difficult relationship with an art dealer. Investigating much more than the systems through which art circulates, Zuffi’s other works range from blank keys, in Quello che eri, e quello che sei (What you were, and what you are) to Gli ignari (Those Who Are Not Aware, 2013–15), a surreal installation of ceramic pods that emit sounds.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.