Exile, Avantgarde, and embarrassment

Dora García, through Skype, sees the cushion embroidered with her face made by Andrea Lanini and shown to her by Cesare Pietroiusti. Talia Romero laughs at Dora’s comment: “Oh my God!”

In the Venice Biennale, that has never offered its exhibitors any calendar of opening days, programming, list of services or any information for that matter, there are certain days in which the Biennale was supposed to be closed, and, look, it has to be open. So there is no free day for anybody, and worse still, you have to improvise a program for that day, when your pavilion is largely performance-based.

Through conversation with William Holden (see /blog/?p=551), these days were baptized as “days of avantgarde and embarrassment”. and their program, “special avantgarde and embarrassment program”.

The relation between avantgarde and embarrassment is more ancient that the use Martin Kippenberger (aka William Holden) did of it. If you look at historical avantgarde, from the urinoir by Mr. Mutt to the theater appearances of the dadaists (Thus hardly would Walter Mehring begin to rattle away at his typewriter while reciting some piece or other of his own composition, when Heartfield or Hausmann would come out from behind the stage and yell: ‘Stop! You’re not trying to bamboozle that feeble-minded lot down there, are you?’), embarrassment is the primary reaction in the face of it. Embarrassment in front of The Inadequate.

On a stage deliciously furnished by Andrea Lanini’s carpets, the cushions featuring Dora García’s face (small cut-ups of her face drawing geometrical figures), and the leaves of the intervention by Arte Terra, The Messenger runs for his life.

Intervention on the stage by the artists of Museo dell arte contemporanea italiana in Esilio.

Next to avantgarde and embarrassment, is there another feeling we could quote as characteristic of The Inadequate? Exile. This is why the Museo dell’arte contemporanea italiana in esilio has found such a suitable harbour in the Spanish Pavilion. The project by Cesare Pietroiusti, assisted by Alessandra Meo, Mattia Pellegrini and Davide Ricco, was once again present last weekend. Is there a more pertinent feeling in a national pavilion than the feeling of exile?

Interior exile, geographical exile and social exile. The very touching reading of the letters by Aldo Piromalli (see /blog/?p=519), done by Giulia Giardello- Aldo, positively terrified at the perspective of having a studio visit: “there is no sense in coming to visit me, since “me” does not really exist”.

Away, being away:

“The source of his refusal is not fear, but the will to create another possibility: the possibility of not being here, not wanting this, not making something … and yet, against all odds, the work is there. It is there in all its beauty, the beauty of not done.” The artist without works at the Spanish Pavilion.

Cesare Pietroiusti shows for the artist without works the best possible literature in the Balzacian sense: today’s news.

Postdata, from a letter by Barbara Casavecchia to Dora García: “so this night i also ended up dreaming of you. a very weird dream indeed, where the artist without works was conflicting with an artist who had suddenly decided to explore the realm of overproduction, doing many many works, all over the place, from fairs to galleries, to websites.”

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