Critics’ Picks

View of “Krištof Kintera,” 2017.

View of “Krištof Kintera,” 2017.

Reggio Emilia

Krištof Kintera

Collezione Maramotti
Via Fratelli Cervi 66
March 19–July 30, 2017

Exhibitions of such a high caliber are rare. Marking the decade that’s passed since the Collezione Maramotti opened its spaces to the public, Czech artist Krištof Kintera has created a hymn of sorts to humanity’s abilities, the “systematic treatment of art” offered by technology (when considered for its etymological roots, technē and logia), and the detritus and waste that are now an unavoidable part of life on earth. Kintera’s show extends beyond the exhibition space into the city of Reggio Emilia. He has, for instance, replaced plants in the Musei Civici’s Wunderkammer, created by eighteenth-century biologist Lazzaro Spallanzani, with man-made flora that is easily as lifelike as the surrounding samples.

Within the Collezione Maramotti, the artist, in collaboration with Richard Wiesner and Rastislav Juhás, stages a very performative installation that seems to unfold in two acts. In one area, Laboratorio dell’artista (Artist’s Workshop), 2017, didactically reveals the artist’s process: Kintera’s Prague studio, including its odors, colors, and sounds, has been transplanted here and is open to the public. Materials derived from technological devices have been collected, catalogued, and meticulously named according to shape, color, and size. And in another area, Systemus Postnaturalis, 2017, is presented as a carpet of copper mesh and artificial plants—a postatomic urban landscape, perhaps—with a tentacled network of woven branches extending horizontally. In the work, the obsolescence of technology meets a toxic aesthetic: Synthesized nature triumphs in comparisons to nature itself, offering a new paradigm of beauty.

Between these two spaces, in the foyer, Electrons Seeking Spirit, 2017—a battering ram made from copper wiring—acts as a ring that conjoins heaven and earth, the natural and artificial, bringing together what Kintera has called “the unwanted beauty of technology” and “the unwanted beauty of nature.”