PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea in Milan presents MEA CULPA, the first extended Italian anthology dedicated to conceptual artist Santiago Sierra. Santiago sierra was born in Madrid in 1966, where he lives and works. He has undertaken projects in many countries including Argentina, Algeria, Korea, Poland, Cuba and Iceland. He studied Fine Arts at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid and at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg as well as at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City. For almost thirty years now his work has been moving on the rough grounds of criticism to the contemporary socio-political conditions.
As the bearer of the dark truth of our time, Sierra is often stigmatised for his intense and ambiguous performances. Nevertheless, their visual language, their complex and energetic symbolism and the fact that they are plunged into the reality of people give them a rare emotional impact. The works of Sierra have been shown in important museums and institutions worldwide; in 2003, he represented Spain at the 50th Venice Biennale. The exhibition at PAC brings together for the first time the most iconic and representative political works by Santiago Sierra from the 1990s to date, together with the documentation of many of his performances over the world, new productions and reactivations of past installations and actions. Santiago Sierra has carried out provocative actions around the world. Influenced by the formal language of the minimal and conceptual art movements of the 1960s and 70s, Santiago Sierra’s work addresses the hierarchies of power and class that operate in our modern society and everyday existence. Sierra became well known for his actions in which underprivileged or marginalised individuals were hired to perform menial or pointless tasks in exchange for money. underline the situations of labourers’ exploitation, isolation, and repression within capitalist structures. By transforming individuals into consumer goods, Sierra also highlights current socio-political issues while challenging the intrinsic mechanisms of reality. As a result, the essence of his work can often be found exemplified in the tension that is generated and sustained between the ephemeral performance, its documentation, and the spectator. The latter is hence exposed to the edges of morality and permissibility, but also to the formal and poetic articulation of the voices of those who are ordinarily invisible or unheard.
With the exhibition of Santiago Sierra, PAC launches the first of the four storylines on which its annual calendar is based, that is proposing exhibitions of renowned and well-established artists from the international art scene every year in occasion of miart fair. Promoted by the Municipality of Milan and produced by the PAC with Silvana Editoriale, the exhibition will open at the beginning of Art Week, a program of events in Milan dedicated to contemporary art.
Rä di Martino | Monica De Cardenas
Rä di Martino, The Swimmer #3, 2017
The gallery of Monica De Cardenas host in Milan an exhibition of sculptures and photographs by Rä di Martino. Cinema as sculpture is a historically complex theme that has emerged as a central focus in the research of this artist in recent years. For her first solo show in Milan, she delves into the fertile territory shared by these two media – which are only apparently separated by a series of oppositions (stillness/movement, material/immaterial, second/third dimension…). But the stakes are raised by the fact that the artist goes deeper, along the fine line between backstage and film footage, raw material and its editing, protagonist and body double, reality and fiction, original and cover. The exhibition explores the relationship between the sculptural object and the image in motion, through a sequence of photographs and hybrid objects (stands from film sets that support natural elements, with stage lighting). Not just cinema, not just sculpture, the selected set of works springs from the same narrative source, namely “The Stand-In” (slated for release in September 2017), the first feature-length film by Rä di Martino. The film is freely based on the feature film“The Swimmer” from 1964, starring Burt Lancaster. Di Martino takes her cue from both the story and the film to capture the suspended atmospheres of this famous surreal tale, in which a middle-aged man swims from pool to pool to cross the city to return home, re-living his life through a metaphorical voyage. In the re-enactment of the film di Martino chooses to set her version of the story in an equally metaphysical Marrakech, a contradictory city, ancient and modern at the same time, true and false, and in any case the reflection of a bourgeoisie in search of new motivations.
The photographs and stands are two apparently contradictory instruments of a single narrative. Room after room, the viewer is prompted to observe the scenes from the inside and from the outside. These hybrid objects refocus the attention on the making of the image, on cinema in cinema, and on the analysis of the film devices themselves that make it possible to construct new meanings of History.
Rä di Martino, The Swimmer #3, 2017
Rä di Martino
The Day He Swims thru Marrakech, March 22 – May 13, 2017
View of the exhibition Slight Agitation 2/4: Pamela Rosenkranz. Infection, 2017. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti
Curated by the Fondazione Prada Thought Council, whose current members are Shumon Basar, Cédric Libert, Elvira Dyangani Ose, and Dieter Roelstraete, Slight Agitation continues with a second instalment by Pamela Rosenkranz (Switzerland, 1979). She follows on from Tobias Putrih (Slovenia, 1972), while Laura Lima (Brazil, 1971) and Gelitin, the Austrian collective active since 1993, will produce future chapters. Pamela Rosenkranz’s work explores how physical and biological processes affect art. Her installation Infection is based on a neuro-active parasite, of which an estimated 30% of the world’s population is affected. A huge, almost sublime mountain of sand is formed inside the Cisterna’s tall spaces. Its scale pressuring against the historic architecture. The sand is impregnated with fragrance of synthetic cat pheromones that activates a specific, biologically determined attraction or repulsion and subconsciously influence the public’s movement. RGB green light illuminates the peak of this chemically altered nature gently evaporating the scent. Following Tobias Putrih’s instalment which engaged with ideas of play, politics and emancipation Pamela Rosenkranz’s chapter continues the Thought Council’s interest in “agitating” the mind and body, senses and space. Rosenkranz’s intervention will be perceived at different distances, which heighten and alter the architecture of the Cisterna. The circular plan, and chemical investigation, is an oblique memory of the Cisterna’s alcohol distilling vats that were formerly housed there. The green light leaking through the Cisterna’s windows, transforms the building into a vitrine, a luminous object sensed from the outside.
It will intensify as day turns to night, engaging with the Fondazione’s nocturnal character. Members of the public will have a direct, intimate experience of the sculptural intervention from a number of angles: at ground level and also from above, emphasizing the formal qualities of the Cisterna: its volume, its heaviness, its religious invocation.
An uneasy feeling around biological determination will engage multiple senses: smell, heat and coldness, mass and density, light and its absence. Pamela Rosenkranz’s intervention furthers the ambitions of “Slight Agitation” by offering immersion into a new sensation of embodiment and collectivity.
View of the exhibition “Slight Agitation 2/4: Pamela Rosenkranz”. Infection, 2017. Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti
Pamela Rosenkranz Slight Agitation 2/4 February 9 – May 14, 2017