Bergamo, Italy

Meris Angioletti

Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea

At a recent lecture in Milan, the physicist Nicola Cabibbo spoke of “new possibilities offered in the study of the invisible within matter. . . . Anything that can be measured—atmospheric pressure, stock market prices, the fever of a sick person,” he explained, “can be transformed into an image.” It is precisely this relationship between the invisible and its representation that is central to the works of Meris Angioletti, who ably engages the tension between contemporary artistic research and the exact sciences. The artist is interested in translation, depiction, and site-specificity, mixing archival documents, aesthetic visions, and literary fictions to reveal a fascination as much with typography as with perception, transforming space into a container of subjectivity.

Angioletti’s art has always had its origins in physically decisive elements: Previous works were sired specifically in the underground vaults of the city of Milan (in Il paradigma indiziario [The Circumstantial Paradigm], 2009, produced by the Careof nonprofit art space in Milan) or the tower in Tu_bingen, the last place where the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin lived (in Aussicht [Prospect], 2007); now, for instance, a treatise on detective novels by Siegfried Kracauer is the basis for 6 S. Kracauer, Il romanzo poliziesco. Un trattato filosofico (6 S. Kracauer, the Detective Novel. A Philosophical Treatise) the first of three works, all from 2009, presented in Bergamo in the exhibition “Ginnastica oculare” (Ocular Gymnastics), in which the artist reflects on the mechanisms of memory. On the first floor of the museum, the artist hung the printing plates used for a book of three stories by Edgar Allan Poe. The texts were printed in superimpositions and the pages appear as a tangle of indecipherable typographic characters, with the exception of the final page, which coincides with the beginning of the story. All the pages of the book were printed on top of one another on the first page; all but the original last page were printed on the second page; and so on: A layer has been removed from every page, so that at the end of the process, a series of clues and the narrative structure of the book are revealed.

From reading, one moved on to listening: 28 marzo 2009: Hotel Hilton, Milano, 2009, is a sound piece, available on an audio guide, that refers explicitly to the day when and place where the recording was made. The artist asked Gianni Golfera, a man endowed with a prodigious memory, to memorize and repeat a sequence of two hundred integers that occur after the decimal point in pi. The exhibition concluded with a work titled 14 15 92 65 35 89 79 32 38 46 26 43 38 32 79 50 28 84 19 71 69 39 93 75 10, 2009, a video projection of mimes. Their motions turned out to be representations of the mental images that Golfera says he used in order to memorize the sequence of numbers—a letter for every number, an action for every letter—the mnemonic device revealed by a visual analogy for the sound sequence.

Despite the complexity of her project, Angioletti succeeds in controlling the relationship between language, sound, and image. She also clarifies the correspondence between psychic mechanisms and the work’s structure, which performs like clockwork, but whose combinations of image and word mesh with the dynamics of the human mind. And so the triple structure of the exhibition reflects not only the traditional theatrical division of three acts or the cinema’s simultaneous layering of screenplay, sound track, and action, but also the tripartite practice of psychoanalysis, the alternation of utterance, listening, and the reconstruction of a mental image.

Paola Nicolin

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.