SE LA REALTÀ NON È SOLO UN FOTOGRAMMA
Alessandra Ferrini and Jacopo Rinaldi
Curated by Alessandro Castiglioni
2 February – 17 March 2019
THE EXERCISE OF THE PRESENT
Se la realtà non è solo un fotogramma, If reality is more than just a film frame, is a three-way conversation that began when Casa Testori invited presentation of exhibition projects focusing on emerging (and emergency) methods and issues in contemporary life.
This is the context in which the exhibition of the work of Alessandra Ferrini and Jacopo Rinaldi was first proposed. In the two artists’ specific artistic idiom, the exhibition is intended to cast light on a particular method of artistic production which the two artists share, based on research in archives and questioning of the way in which exhibits are displayed. The project takes the form of two intertwined solo shows alternating Ferrini’s work with Rinaldi’s, with the intention of updating, and offering new sources of inspiration about, historical and critical study of Testori and Italian culture in the post-war period. Seen from this point of view, Testori’s work becomes an element in a wider-ranging historical constellation, subject of reconsiderations and analyses that overlap, for example, with the reinterpretation of colonial and fascist history, the story of Giovanni Pirelli or the archives of Harald Szeemann, with the goal of offering new inspiration regarding the reinterpretation of the recent past and discussing contemporary art’s ability to represent the present by making performances out of historical and archive material.
An example of this can easily be found in the exhibition title. It is the title of Testori’s 1983 essay on Francesco Cairo. The specific use Testori makes of this expression reveals his critical intention of going beyond Roberto Longhi’s position and Caravaggesque interpretation, as Marco Bazzocchi explains: “Testori allows room for doubt, beginning with his choice of title, Se la realtà non è solo un fotogramma…, implying that the metaphor of the film frame (useful to Longhi […]) is no longer sufficient to contain and cover all the complexity of a stratified reality of infinite thickness”. In his analysis of Testori’s work, Bazzocchi continues, “Where Caravaggio had reached certain boundaries, beyond which representation could not go, Cairo throws himself into them headlong: he no longer wants to merely allude to reality (by photographing it), but to ‘cast himself into the ambiguous, haughty, perhaps even obscure nucleus of his beginnings; to cast himself, merge himself, confuse himself and lose himself”.
Ferrini and Rinaldi make the Testori quote of the exhibition title their method: going beyond the binary relationship between reality and image and the questioning of a concept which it in itself ideological, such as that of reality and objectivity.
In fact, if we assume and confirm that there clearly is more to reality than the simple impression we get of it on our retinas, that is, that reality is more than our image of it, and that within its interpretative limits it is organised as language, which is by nature ever-changing and fallible (and precisely for this reason constantly being reconsidered), the exhibition unfolds as a long, non-linear story reconfiguring texts and images.
The project may therefore be interpreted as a consideration which is both aesthetic and historical-critical, questioning and suggesting practices and glimpses of a way of making art that is moulded by an awareness of the extent to which history is not just the study of the past, but also (and above all) an ethical exercise in the present.
TRE MODI PER DIRE NOVECENTO
Giovanni Testori tra Giovanni Pirelli ed Harald Szeemann
On the exhibition’s finissage, Sunday 17 March 2019, a conference was held on the figures of Giovanni Testori, Giovanni Pirelli and Harald Szeemann.
Among the speakers were the two artists, Alessandra Ferrini and Japoco Rinaldi, and the curator Alessandro Castiglioni, together with Mariamargherita Scotti, archivist and independent researcher in Contemporary History, editor of the book “Vita di Giovanni Pirelli. Tra cultura e impegno militante”.
Se la realtà non è solo un fotogramma is part of Pocket Pair, a cycle of exhibitions coordinated by Marta Cereda and launched by Casa Testori in 2018. The title of the cycle takes up an expression from poker that indicates the situation in which a player has two cards, of equal value, and must bet on them. In the same way, the curators are betting on emerging talents, two artists of equal value, to give life to a high quality two-person exhibition, set up on the ground floor of Casa Testori where they are free to meet, even within the individual rooms, to visit each other, to dialogue closely.