“St. James” is an exhibition I curated with works by Enrico Boccioletti, Guendalina Cerruti, Marion Goix, Gianandrea Poletta, Margherita Raso, Riccardo Sala and Massimo Vaschetto.
It happened in Menaggio (CO), Italy, on June 26, 2016.
Below there is my text and the amazing installation views shot by Beppe Raso.
A phone call kept resonating in my ears. The voice of an excitement for renewal muffled with the unavoidability of that same decision. It is better now than later, I am told. My heart gifted me with an extrasystole: the future was dragging the present while capturing the past into a precise day.
It was not even a day, but only a handful of hours. If I assume the distinction between content and form, I have to say that I knew the former but not the latter. This partiality informs St. James.
Embracing a frantic temporal structure of weekly updates about a place which setting has been familiar for a long time, St. James dwells in that structure’s precarity and discontinuity. It rises at a distance, via molecules of affections and bits of information. A last ditch effort of modernity–actually, the modernisation of an XVIII century Palazzo on the lake of Como–towards a future of permanent precarity.
Yet, in the long run, would that not be another stability?
– I have been distant and yet not. Can you see it?
– Sorry, I cannot see but feel it. The red cardinal carpet has already been pulled away from my feet.
Swiftly it turned into a mythopoetic contagion, echoing and nurturing its own duration. The house is an organism–an autonomous, automated system for the reproduction of itself at a microscopic level. However, I cannot acknowledge it from the outer, coral pink cladding. It requires me to get closer and eventually to get in it, as from the outside it remains opaque. Perhaps it is only my skin–the cladding of my body–which is truly transparent. Sometimes it takes to the surface what is going on underneath: an ongoing splitting and merging and flowing and fetching and adding and flowing and deleting and.
Please excuse the somehow apocalyptic tone
What is your shelter then? How do you build your nest where to curl yourself up? Does it look like a fleshy fortress where to keep your kernel safe? I have in mind that little, brick red dog that once Francis Alÿs painted. Or the way in which a community of penguins keeps itself warm. Something saturating the space, filling its horrors.
An organised action towards an exploration of an interiors’ intimacy. But the desire to bring something closer–a memory to my mind, a texture to my skin, a smell to my nostrils, a lover to my love–chips my vision away. I embrace my ineffectuality in its articulation and I close my eyes. It is not a matter of visibility though, rather of inhabiting an infrathin, an interval of presence/absence/presence/absence ad infinitum.
So please hun, try not to indulge in haptic lusts. They carry a fetish drive. They are an effacement of distance through an enhancement of desire and a sanitisation of participation. Beyond pornography. I want art objects resisting a dispersion of attention, care, and adherence.
It is not life. It is an exhibition. So how to take a position? How to create the visible without ending up onto obliging somebody to look at a surface, i.e. an image? When does a synaesthesia become problematic? When does friendship become a hindrance for a project?
Why effacing to be afraid or scared? Why taking the distance from an image? Why staring at it for 3 secs? How long will I stare at them? How will I react to them?
Sunderland votes to LEAVE. Newcastle Upon Tyne votes to REMAIN. I watched the EU Referendum “page updates automatically” on the BBC website. Broxbourne votes to LEAVE. Swindon votes to LEAVE–oh, that is where my flatmate comes from. Kettering votes to LEAVE.
I shivered hearing the triumphal cry of the LEAVE voters.
As for the owner of the Palazzo and his family, St. James has been an umbrella term for a life plan of care and solidarity–notwithstanding how tentative that project might have been. They cannot have an optimistic vision nor they can resign nor they can recommend you not to panic. Rather, the works within St. James collectively find each other in that same adventurous precarity.