The exhibition Retrospettiva a luce solida (Retrospective on Solid Light) looks at the work of Fabio Mauri (born in Rome in 1926, died in 2009), a master of the neo-avant-garde movement in the second half of the 20th century. His artistic output – focused on exposing the mechanisms of ideology, exploring the languages of propaganda, and analysing collective imagination and the structures of media storytelling, first and foremost in films – ranks him as one of the greatest, seminal contemporary artists at an international level.
His works – paintings, drawings, sculpture, installations and performances – examine European history through the so-called ‘Short Century’ with all its conflicts and contradictions, finding their intellectual and emotional fulcrum in a subject that is specifically European in its ideology, and in the intrinsic relationship between the historical and ethical dimensions or the tension and conciliation between the personal and collective spheres.
Distancing himself from his original affinity with his contemporaries’ exploration of Pop Art, Mauri was able to pursue a radical line of research, entirely independent even from the mainstream of Italian contemporary art. His research was unique and personal, an attempt to represent thought itself, revealing the very mechanisms of perception (examples include how manipulation works or the initiation rites of an image-obsessed society), fostering memory’s potential, systematic removal or manipulation.
Organised in close collaboration with the Fabio Mauri Studio, the exhibition at MADRE is the most comprehensive to be staged on the artist in the last two decades. It includes more than 100 works, actions and documents, in a layout that transforms the whole museum into a critical experience with a multiple structure where each work is viewed in the light of the project that inspired it. Thought becomes physical and the white cube of the gallery blends into a theatre stage or the black box of cinema. From the research and display point of view, the exhibition incorporates the concept of ‘solid light’, which appears in some of the titles of his works, in which, using the Futurist work Lampadine (Lightbulbs) with its solidified rays as inspiration, Mauri embodied the rays linking the projector to the cinema screen, and thus translated the idea that all components of existence have a ‘reality’, real causes and consequences, as does thought, our imaginings and ideology. This conviction, which Mauri subsequently conveyed using screens, projections and performance, became a metaphor of the relationship between mind and world, between reality and memory, between history and stories.
For this exhibition, the gallery is transformed into a film-show and a stage production and the audience becomes an active part, subject/object of this narration, their presence punctuated by artworks, actions and documents.
Saturday 26 november 2016
Monday 06 march 2017
via Settembrini 79
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Laura Cherubini, Andrea Viliani