an art exhibition conceived as a visual poem

Andrea Rossetti, with permission from the MAXXI Foundation

From the windows of one of the rooms that house photographer Thomas Demand’s tribute to stylist Azzedine Alaïa, you can see what’s left of the church of Santa Maria Paganica, a lofty example of medieval architecture, destroyed by the tragic night of 2009, when an earthquake in L’Aquila the wiped out human life and artistic wonders in a matter of moments. Visiting MAXXI’s satellite headquarters in Palazzo Ardinghelli offers a lively confrontation with the inevitable changeability of life, where memories are combined with contemporary experiences; a place that, among white plaster, frescoes and vaults – skilfully restored to the memory of new and minimal structural lattices – frames the pulsating pole of the cultural activity of the city of Abruzzo.

afterimage, Maxxi the eagle

Massimo Grimaldi, Scarecrow (portraits). Afterimage exhibition, MAXXI L’Aquila

Andrea Rossetti, with permission from the MAXXI Foundation

The new exhibition was inaugurated on July 2 (until February 19, 2023), with the title Afterimage, it seems to pay homage to the fragility of the intangible but at the same time significant moments that permeate all our existences; a reasoning about how these can stimulate the phenomenon of the so-called “residual image” and how it interacts with our memory.

afterimage, Maxxi the eagle

Oliver Laric, Sleeping Figure, 2022. Afterimage Exhibition, MAXXI L’Aquila

Andrea Rossetti, with permission from the MAXXI Foundation

It is precisely this particular visual event – which gives the retina a shape that remains outside its immediate catch, such as the impression of light after the flash – that brings the curators, Alessandro Rabottini and Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, to reflect on the duration and transience of the image through the work of 26 contemporary artists divided into four narrative chapters; “The Material and Memory”, “The Changing Image”, “The Revealed Body” and “The Interior Architecture” are the sections that, along fifteen spaces, lead the development of nine new site-specific projects, created for the ‘apartment’ of Francesco Arena, Benni Bosetto, June Crespo, Thomas Demand, Oliver Laric, Hana Miletic, Luca Monterastelli, Dan Vo and Domenique White, put into dialogue with works by Francis Alÿs, Stefano Arienti, Mario Cresci, Paolo Gioli, Massimo Grimaldi, Bronwyn Katz, Esther Kläs , Tala Madani, Anna Maria Maiolino, Marisa Merz, Luca Maria Patella, Frida Orupabo, Pietro Roccasalva, Mario Schifano, Elisa Sighicelli, Paloma Varga Weisz and He Xiangyu, directly selected from the museum’s collection.

afterimage, Maxxi the eagle

Elisa Sighicelli, Untitled. Afterimage exhibition, MAXXI L’Aquila

Andrea Rossetti, with permission from the MAXXI Foundation

An itinerary that starts outside the museum with the work Boulder with the last 5 days by Francesco Arena (opening photo); a monumental gray stone of five tons, which the intersection of a small core to introduce rolled newspapers in – promptly replaced by museum staff – immediately introduces us to the theme by comparing the intact time solidity of the cliff with the transience of daily information. The entrance staircase is the background for the hung sculptures by Benny Bosetto, which pays homage to the ancient and original jewelery tradition of adorning the unborn child with promising chains, introduces the close comparison between the screens, the embers and the disappearance of Tala Madani, Mario Schifano and the sculptural project commissioned to Oliver Laric, who in 3D technology scans and reworks a Roman archaeological find of a hermaphrodite, which at the time was emasculated to match the aesthetic lines of the time. In this exhibition, the photograph is masterfully examined by Elisa Sighicelli, who always plays with perceptual ambiguity, puts us in front of the image of a window with a surface altered by a stream of water, or by Thomas Demand, who covers an entire room with the images. of many cardboard tubes, stacked to mimic an old curtain. Always in the same language the disturbing portraits of Mario Cresci or Paolo Gioli, who in 1972 with the series fotofinish (made with a 35mm camera), somehow anticipated modern computerized images and again Massimo Grimaldi’s study of aesthetic beauty, which consists of distorted physiognomies like the many modern photo retouching apps. The comparisons are sometimes deliberately silenced, and in the silence of these spaces, real little personal ones, they celebrate the solipsistic unique character of some writers; that is the case with the grand installation of Marisa Merz and Stefano Arienti, but also the youngest artist in the collective, Dominique White.

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Benni Bosetto, Saturniidae. Afterimage exhibition, MAXXI L’Aquila

Andrea Rossetti, with permission from the MAXXI Foundation

The elegantly installed exhibition manages to trigger living and unexpected relationships between already acquired and consciously created works, in a resolute alternation between fixed and voids, silences and dialogues that are not limited to a recording of time, but examine changes through images. of aesthetic perception, more and more fleeting, globalized and inconceivable from its context of creation.

afterimage, Maxxi the eagle

Dan Vo, Untitled. Afterimage exhibition, MAXXI L’Aquila

Andrea Rossetti, with permission from the MAXXI Foundation

During the presentation’s press conference, two other important innovations promoted by MAXXI L’Aquila were also announced, one dedicated to the city’s future and one to its memory: NXTan exhibition of four projects aimed at rebuilding the structure in Piazza Santa Maria Paganica – where the work was successful Dandalò devised by Atelier Remoto, an open pavilion consisting of a stage and a pergola of swaying lights, designed to accommodate events and concerts, “an opportunity for citizens to reflect on possible social, cultural and spatial interactions” – and “L’Aquila Fenice “, a podcast available in six episodes on the spotify platform, which through the voice of Alessandro Chiappanuvoli leads us to the discovery of a place reborn thanks to its inhabitants who stubbornly rediscovered its beauty after the catastrophic event of thirteen years since.

Afterimage
MAXXI L’Aquila
until February 19, 2023
maxxilaquila.art

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