Critics’ Picks

Jason Dodge, Cut a Door in the Wolf, 2021, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view. Photo: Piercarlo Quecchia.

Jason Dodge, Cut a Door in the Wolf, 2021, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view. Photo: Piercarlo Quecchia.

Rome

Jason Dodge

MACRO - Museo D'Arte Contemporanea Roma
Via Nizza, 138
November 11, 2021–March 16, 2022

In many cultures, the figure of the wolf is associated with primordial needs. Cut a Door in the Wolf, which seems to have been inspired by the idiom “keep the wolf from the door,” is the title conceived by poet CAConrad for Jason Dodge’s installation at the Museo MACRO. It consists of a single site-specific work that covers the entire ground-floor gallery with an assortment of debris including scraps of fabric and plastic, ink pens, teaspoons, pieces of sponge, batteries, lottery cards, and shredded paper. Viewers must struggle to make meaning from this mélange. Amid the carpet of rubbish, certain presences register more clearly than others. For instance, arranged above and below some tables in the far section of the room are large heaps of palm leaves, which continue to dry as the days pass. Amid the fronds, numerous stacks of wrapped bars of Ivory soap tumble from their cardboard boxes. In one corner of the irregular-shaped gallery, ten freestanding fire extinguishers act as inert spectators, guardians at the ready. Imagined as a body in transformation, the exhibition includes participatory performances by CAConrad and the choreographer Alix Eynaudi, who, on selected days, interact individually with the space and the public, creating new perceptual meanings and assemblages within the installation.

Aby Warburg and Walter Benjamin have taught us to value the fragment, the find, the marginal detail representing the waste, residue, and remains of a civilization. With this exhibition, Dodge makes explicit the connection between micro and macro landscapes: As if holding life under a magnifying glass, he transforms residual reality into a metaphor for the whole from which it derives.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.