Critics’ Picks

View of “Micol Assaël,” 2017.

View of “Micol Assaël,” 2017.


Micol Assaël

Riso, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 365
June 20–September 10, 2017

Micol Assaël’s solo exhibition “Lettura Di Un’Onda” (Interpretation of a Wave), curated by Bruno Corà and Valentino Catricalà, presents new work across the entire top floor of the Palazzo Belmonte Riso. The Roman artist activates a discrete dialogue with a large permanent installation by Jannis Kounellis composed of old wardrobes suspended from the ceiling. In three adjacent rooms, Assaël has installed four works made from paper and magnets that hang on accordion folding supports which are mounted on horizontal planks built from old windows (typical of working class Sicilian architecture) and held up by sawhorses befitting construction sites. Actual books, deconstructed and rebound in accordion format, are stretched open with the help of two sturdy covers made of 120 small magnetic blocks, and intermittently punctured and interrupted by small sections of power cords. The complex electrical configurations accompanying each book shift into the two-dimensionality of eleven ink drawings the artist created over the years. Each unique work features three elements that are signatures of Assaël’s work: physical matter, sound, and light. The latter is intentionally natural, so the time of day affects one’s experience of the work. In an aural installation, noises sampled throughout the city during the show’s preparation—the pattering of water drops, a seagull’s cry—subtly radiate outward from the cavities of two fireplaces, almost creating a necklace of sonic events along the exhibition path. Assaël invites visitors to imagine a wave: a vehicle through which energy propagates, ephemeral yet capable of uniting luminous, acoustic, and electromagnetic elements.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.