Until the next one September 19, 2021, Villa Medici hosts Mircea Cantor, internationally renowned artist, of Romanian origin, but now established in France, with his “Art Club #32”.
A real exhibition itinerary that, like the thirty-one previous ones, dialogues perfectly with the interiors and exteriors of the Academy, in perfect contemporary style, curated by Pier Paolo Pancotto.
The main theme of the exhibition is personal identity, DNA, the personal identification code of each of us, in its thousand forms and declinations (from the mouths printed in the niches to form DNA shapes, to the message on the flag, to the fingerprints on the films) the human being in relation to himself and to others, a universal reading that, through the art of Mircea Cantor emphasizes freedom, the social, cultural and political identity of the individual, up to the relationship that binds human beings.
After passing the main Loggia of the Villa, we immediately find the first work, the monumental one Flag(2017), under which the curator awaits us Pier Paolo Pancotto to make us the honors of the house and to introduce ourselves Art Club #32, of which he declares: “The Art Club exhibition cycle was born in 2016, artists of all nationalities are invited, by those who have never been to Villa Medici, such as Mircea Cantor, and by those who have been resident, for variable periods. The Art Clubs are born as a close and intense relationship between the artist and the place, the artist is invited to relate and relate to the Villa, in various ways, with stays, living here some periods and at the end of this experience with the Villa and the city of Rome conceives an original project.
And also Mircea Cantor, like the 31 projects that preceded him, operated in the same way. He is an artist who also on his own has a very close relationship with the city of Rome, it is not really his exhibition, it is his new exhibition project linked to Villa Medici, linked to the French Academy, somehow summarizes various elements recurring of his research, starting with this huge flag and other elements that are displayed in the garden. The fundamental themes of the exhibition are linked to the cultural, social, political entity of the individual, as well as the theme of the relationship between one individual and another, therefore the real relationship with the next. Topical themes, universal themes, but never as in this period, very topical themes. When the artist tells you about his works, try to have an interpretation on two parallel tracks: on the one hand they are issues that we could face in two years, as they could have been tackled ten years ago, the other interpretation is the strictly actuality, in this historical moment characterized by fear, by the difficulties of relationships with the other, the key to reading in parallel would be the news of the moment.
Fortunately the artist passes from the chronicle to the universal message, Mircea Cantor is absolutely a master in this, his works can be read as interpretations of life, of the history that surrounds him, as a very numerous sequence of self-portraits in some ways, as an individual experience of the artist and therefore his own identity that represents a bit of everyone. You will see some writings that speak of this, of the fingerprints, of the DNA that speaks of this. In a historical moment in which, regardless of Covid, we must all be classified, for economic, social, cultural reasons, the artist reveals all this to us, trying to talk about the individual, his human qualities, in a continuous struggle, always represented in an extremely poetic and delicate way, without ever going “with a straight leg”, works that often under the pleasant appearance make us reflect a lot, like a bit of life, where apparently everything is wonderful but everyone’s reflections then follow one another. This is the general theme of Mircea Cantor’s exhibition. “
We continue the visit, crossing the gardens and arriving at the Loggia Balthus where, traced with the smoke of a candle, the writing emerges on the ceiling Ciel variable (2007-21) belonging to the homonymous series started by the artist in 2007 focused on the theme of the fragility of the human condition.
This is where we meet the artist Mircea Cantor, who explains his work and his thoughts: “These works you see begin when I started working on the idea of biometrics, which entered our lives after 11 September 2001. I wanted to make something visible intimate, interior, the DNA, which is so precious, which makes the difference between us. I told myself that one of the most intimate things is the kiss and that at this moment it can no longer be given, being all with the mask. I thought about how to visually translate this intimacy, in a very subtle way and I asked 12 women to impress kisses on one of my drawings, as if to leave an imprint. Because this is DNA, the kiss is a unique, unmistakable matrix. Twelve columns, each for each zodiac sign, to have a complete palette. I had already represented a DNA at the Macro, made with huge safety pins in 24 carat gold. I wanted a work with the same preciousness, but I didn’t know what material and what form to use, so I thought of this fresco with kisses, and I found 12 available spaces, 12 niches, this was a coincidence.
The other ceiling work is Variable sky, which has already been exhibited in numerous other museums, the sky is variable in itself but if you add the adjective it has another meaning. The sky is a permanent presence, the randomness is given by the smoke of the candle. It is an installation that I propose in Romanian, French, Italian and Spanish, only in Latin languages. “
The journey continues with three different videos, strongly autobiographical, in which the main performers are the children of Mircea Cantor – I decided not to save
the world (2011), Regalo (2014) e Am I really free (2020).
Another work of great visual impact is Chaplet (2021), an open geometric structure, made with 120 meters of film marked by the artist’s fingerprints, as if it were a suspended file.
While in Ferdinando’s Studiolo, in perfect dialogue with the finely frescoed ceiling we find Empire
of all poetical encounters (2017-21), a pallet painted in three primary colors (blue, red, yellow) resting on metal coins; the exhibition itinerary ends with the plaster relief Beasts (2021) which occupies the Gipsoteca in perfect symbiosis with the casts of the Trajan column usually kept in this space.
An exhibition not to be missed, until next September 2021.
Article by Stefania Vaghi
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