rome

Hans Haacke, Blue Sail, 1964–65, veil, fan, 11' 2“ x 10' 6”. From “Tapis volants” (Flying Carpets).

“Tapis volants”

French Academy of Rome, Villa Medici

Hans Haacke, Blue Sail, 1964–65, veil, fan, 11' 2“ x 10' 6”. From “Tapis volants” (Flying Carpets).

What could a viewer make of the Oriental carpets, arranged on the ground like Carl Andre sculptures or on the walls like allover paintings, and of the videos exhibited, one next to the other, in the spaces of the Villa Medici? After initial disorientation, a visitor understood that “Tapis volants” was not simply an exhibition of carpets, but rather, as the name of the show and installations by Hans Haacke (Blue Sail, 1964–65) and Zilvinas Kempinas (Flux, 2009) confirmed, one of flying carpets. In other words, the question of movement was central no matter the medium on display. The films shown (in digital-video transfers) ranged from the historical avant-garde (Hans Richter, Rhythmus 21, 1921–24) to 1960s experimentation (Paul Sharits, Stan Brakhage), and from the 1920s abstract works by the neuropsychiatrist Émile Malespine to the technological sublime of James Whitney (Lapis,

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