Critics’ Picks

View of “Soleil Politique,” 2014–15.

View of “Soleil Politique,” 2014–15.

Bolzano

“Soleil Politique”

MUSEION of Modern and Contemporary Art Bolzano
Piazza Piero Siena Platz 1
September 27, 2014–January 11, 2015

Soleil Politique” features a heterogeneous mix of works and documents that include two wooden Christ figures from the fifteenth century, studies by architect Carlo Scarpa for the renovation of the Museo del Castelvecchio, and a 1972 collage by Marcel Broodthaers that also gives the show its title. The conceptual core for these diverse works—patiently selected by curator Pierre Bal-Blanc over a three-year period—is a Foucauldian idea of architecture as both a reflection and a tool of political power and social hierarchies. Bal-Blanc investigates this idea, using as a case study Südtirol’s capital city of Bolzano, which is historically tied to German linguistic culture and was subjected to a forced Italianization under Fascism. Bal-Blanc has taken documents tied to the city’s history and has associatively arranged them alongside works by artists (ranging from Isidoro Valcárcel Meina to Roman Ondák, from Robert Breer to Pratchaya Phintong) who propose subtle acts of sabotage against the hegemonic logic symbolized by architecture, particularly that of museums.

The same principle of criticism and dissent that inspired the works shapes the exhibition as a whole. The show crowds the foyer, the ground floor, and the basement portions of the building, without making any distinction between exhibition spaces and service areas. The top floor of the museum, will remain empty and accessible, transformed into a belvedere, from whose windows the public is invited to look out at the city. It is a subversion of the museum’s spaces that Bal-Blanc casts as artistic intervention, positioning “Soleil Politique” in a fascinating no-man’s-land between exhibition and artwork, critical reflection and creation.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.