Critics’ Picks

Mircea Cantor, Future Gift, 2014, marble, concrete. Installation view.

Mircea Cantor, Future Gift, 2014, marble, concrete. Installation view.


Mircea Cantor

Magazzino Roma
Via dei Prefetti, 17
May 29–July 26, 2014

Mircea Cantor’s latest exhibition, titled “Ti do la mia giovinezza” (I Give You My Youth), is symbolic of what art and life are capable of expressing. The youth the artist addresses here is not described as personal data, but rather an intellectual dimension that serves as a common denominator for all the works on display.

The installation Cantor conceived for the Kunsthalle Budapest in 2008, which was made up of seven cement volumes of various sizes that depict the contours of gift boxes, is seminal to this show’s grouping, titled Future Gifts (all works 2014), of twenty-one sculptures of equal size and shape in different colors and materials that are scattered on the gallery’s floor. A ribbon, knotted and tied in a bow, in white Carrara marble, black Marquiña marble, or concrete defines each sculpture’s outer shape, while the interior, which would normally include the square gift box, is here left empty. The vacant volume is meant to contain possibility—an idea, a dream, hope—that will someday perhaps materialize and occupy the abandoned space.

The video Regalo (Gift) also refers to the future. In it, a young boy repeats the words “I can’t give you anything,” disarmingly stating the limits imposed by his age and, at the same time, his already developed understanding of the concept of giving. This latter idea is also present in the sculpture L’AM della mia vita (The AM of My Life), in which an ancient coin from the time of Theodosius II (5th century AD) balances on an iron bar of a curved gate. As the abbreviation “a.m.,” from the Latin ante meridiem for before noon, in the title indicates, this work, too, connects back allegorically to the golden age of life and to the artist’s ability to offer it up to those who follow his creations.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.