Saturday 19 October, 15:00 – 18:30
PERFORMANCE | Abissi (Abysses) by Virginia Zanetti
Saturday 19 October, 18:30
VISIT AND ARTISTS TALK | with Filippo Berta and Virginia Zanetti
Video projection: Legarsi alla montagna (1981) by Maria Lai
At the KUNSTRAUM (5. K12), ZHdK Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, TONI-AREAL,
Zürich, Entrance Förrlibuckstrasse, 5th floor
A project of: IIC – Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Zurich for 15 Giornata del Contemporaneo IT.
In collaboration with: Migration Museum – Zurich (CH), Traffic Gallery – Bergamo (IT), Nomas Foundation – Rome (IT), Illisso Casa Editrice – Nuoro (IT), OnCurating Space – Zurich (CH).
Chi avrà più filo tesserà reflects on the subject of participation in art through the performative practices of three Italian artists of different generations: Virginia Zanetti (1981) and Filippo Berta (1977) together with Maria Lai (1919 – 2013), one of the most significant artistic personalities in the Italian recent past.
The event’s prime focuses are artistic practices that weave historical and social context with traditions and new rituals. In such circumstances, Virginia Zanetti will present her participative performance Abissi (Abysses). Filippo Berta, with the help of the images, will narrate to the public the story behind One by One, an art project which was selected as the winner of the last edition (2019) of the Italian Council Award (MIBAC – Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali). Both artists will discuss their works alongside with the screening of the video Legarsi alla Montagna (1981), which documents the homonymous performance staged by Maria Lai with the residents of Ulassai (Sardinia – IT).
The selected works share the common intent to generate acts which imply participation as means of self-definition. They entail public activation as a necessary condition for exploitation of new meanings and interpretations of the complexity of human relationships.
Virginia Zanetti’s performance, Abysses, will take place on October 19th from 15:00 to 19:00. This will involve residents and migrants living in Zurich, in the attempt to create a collective work by means of an embroidery practice on an ultramarine blue fabric.
This color symbolizes the sea, the ecosystem from which living beings originate, a trajectory often used by individuals to move from one place to another on our planet.
In the course of performative action, the artist invites participants to embroider a star with a precious golden thread. This star’s shape looks like those already painted by Giotto in the vault of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua (IT) at the beginning of the 14th century.
Embroidery gives opportunity to share and collect memories related to the sea. This practice becomes a projection of desires and memories. It composes constellations made of today’s dreams.
At the end of the performance the fabric becomes the subject of a symbolic action: raised towards the sky, the blue abyss becomes sky itself. A sky full of new meanings in a delicate balance between space and time.
Filippo Berta’s ongoing project, One by One, will be discussed for the first time. The artist himself will narrate the impossible attempt to count all the thorns of the metal wire fences which still create geopolitical and cultural divisions as well as polarizations in different countries around the world: Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Korea, Mexico and United States. Recently built or still under construction, barbed wire walls stand as analogical presences within the society of digital control, revealing the conceptual contradictions of culturally fragile and socially divisive political choices.
In One by One, the artist involves the communities living close to such borders: each resident becomes a performer invited to count aloud, in his own language, each single thorn. The simple gesture of counting unmasks the social disharmonies induced by the logic of confinement, where ideological frontiers that prevent the natural human sociality exist.
The video document Legare Collegare by Tonino Casula, is the only video documentation testifying Maria Lai’s performance Legarsi alla Montagna (1981), a relational experiment dedicated to Ulassai, the artist’s birthplace in the mountains in Sardinia (IT).
Starting from the reinterpretation of an ancient, almost forgotten local legend – it narrates of a little girl found and rescued after a landslide in a cave where she took shelter during a thunderstorm while she tried to chase a light blue ribbon that appeared from nowhere – Maria Lai conceived a performative action reinterpreting the symbolic significance of the story. She involved women, men, children, young, and elderly people from Ulassai by provoking the action of tying houses, doors, balconies to one another. Each of them was asked to use for the purpose a different knot, according to their relationship: friendship, love, or conflict. A collective act based on the concept of union and transformation, in a region which already suffered from a progressive deurbanization.
This propitiatory ritual made everyone an interpreter of a new reality, designed to sew places to people and people to each other through infinite threads, by means of which the inseparable link between art and life was clearly expressed.
FILIPPO BERTA (1977)
The social strains generated by the relationship between individuals and the society to which they belong, constitute the subject of Filippo Berta’s artistic research. The boundaries marking this dialectical condition, quite often conflictual and problematic, are subject of analysis in his work. His attention to these social disharmonies translates into pieces which celebrate the daily gestures. The latter are so represented as to unmask their differences, tensions or contradictions. His work develops through collective performances, which are later synthetized in a single iconographic image and minimalistic videos.
Filippo Berta’s works have been exhibited or directly realized in different museums, biennials and cultural institutions all over the world. In 2019 his project, One by One, was selected among the winners of the Italian Council, an international call held by the MIBAC (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali).
VIRGINIA ZANETTI (1981)
The work of Virginia Zanetti attempts to identify and consequently break down the boundaries that divide the work of art from its fruitors. She obtains results by using simple and already acquired devices. She overcomes the conceptual gaps that lay at the most basic and archetypal level of knowledge, in the relational dynamics or within the codes shared by a community. Her works become an integral part of the environment in which they are conceived and produced; they function as collectors of human dynamics rather than simple objects of contemplation.
Virginia has several works exhibited or performed in Italian museums and abroad. In 2019 she won the photography award at Bologna Arte Fiera.
MARIA LAI (1919-2013)
Maria Lai was the only woman to attend the Sculpture Class at the Academy of Fine Arts from 1943 to 1945, under the guidance of Arturo Martini.
Considered one of the most influential Italian artist of the twentieth century, her work was marked by the unconventional use of techniques and materials stolen from everyday life and related to domestic and typical female work: bread and looms, embroidery and sewn books, ceramics and terracotta. Inspired by fairy tales and traditions of her native island, Sardinia, at the beginning of the 80s she turned her artistic research towards interventions that were directly connected with landscape. One of the most influential works remains the performance act Legarsi alla Montagna (1981). In a strongly symbolical act, all the houses of the small village of Ulassai were tied to the surrounding mountains with a blue ribbon over ten kilometres long.
The village of Ulassai hosts today a contemporary art museum La Stazione dell’Arte, which has collected over 100 works of Maria Lai, thanks to donors worldwide.