June 13, 2018 - Fondazione Modena Arti Visive - Adelita Husni-Bey: Congregation
June 13, 2018

Fondazione Modena Arti Visive

Adelita Husni-Bey, Activists, from the series “Agency,” 2014. C-print, 110 × 147 cm. Courtesy the artist and Laveronica arte contemporanea, Modica. 

Adelita Husni-Bey
Congregation
June 9–August 26, 2018

Galleria Civica di Modena
Palazzina dei Giardini
Corso Cavour 2
Modena
Italy

www.galleriacivicadimodena.it
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Adelita Husni-Bey
Congregation
June 9–August 26, 2018

Galleria Civica di Modena
Palazzina dei Giardini
Corso Cavour 2
Modena
Italy

www.galleriacivicadimodena.it
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Curated by Diana Baldon and Serena Goldoni

FONDAZIONE MODENA ARTI VISIVE is proud to announce Adelita Husni-Bey’s first solo exhibition in an Italian contemporary art institution. Titled Congregation, the show provides a broad overview of Husni-Bey’s artistic production over the past ten years, encompassing video installations, drawings, paintings, photographs, performances and language-based works. Born in Milan in 1985 and based in New York, the artist has met with international acclaim, not least as one of the participating artists in the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017 and in the exhibition Being: New Photography 2018 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. 

Husni-Bey has long taken a deep interest in complex political and social issues. This led her to pursue studies in sociology as well as research on anarcho-collective educational theories and experimental teaching practices. Her artworks are only a small part of a larger process: the are often the result of pedagogical workshops and social simulations that employ role-playing to involve a variety of communities including students, athletes, legal experts or political activists, who are free to decide whether to allow dissemination of their contribution or not.

The numerous works brought together in this exhibition are also imbued with a pictorial sensitivity. This is immediately evident in her oil-on-canvas painting The Sleepers (2011), which depicts what looks like a group of businessmen who appear to have dozed off, and also in the painting included in the video installation Postcards from the Desert Island (2011) that greets visitors at the entrance to the Palazzina dei Giardini. This work is the fruit of a seminar organized with pupils from the experimental primary school École Vitruve in Paris. Taking a cue from William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies (1954), the children have imagined how to build and manage their own new world and community, negotiating their everyday, rights and duties, the difference between public and private, and ideas of justice.

Works developed through collaborations with adolescents include Agency (2014), made up of a video and a series of colour photographs, the video installation 2265 (2015) and the photo series The Council (2018). For Agency, the artist worked with students from an High School in Rome, asking them to simulate specific types of people within scenarios extrapolated from the news. 2265 shows excerpts from a workshop and performance with a group of young spoken-word poet sat the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Lastly, the photos from the series The Council (2018) originate from a workshop with a group of teenagers at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, working to redefine the role of the institution in the aftermath of an indefinite future event. 

A theme that comes up again and again in Husni-Bey’s work is the social perception of pain and disability. The video installation After the Finish Line (2015) thematises competitive sports and the desire for success, focusing on the experiences of young athletes who suffered injuries. Developed in partnership with the New York–based artist Park McArthur, the sculptural installation Shower (2013) takes a different approach, starting out from the condition of disability. 

On a different tack, White Paper: The Law (2015) is a series of large-format prints that traces the inception and development of the "Convention on the Use of Space," a draft legal document challenging a 2010 law that outlaws squatting. The exhibition also contains further works on paper that echo the themes investigated in the larger installations.

Galleria Civica di Modena, together with Fondazione Fotografia Modena and Museo della Figurina, is part of FONDAZIONE MODENA ARTI VISIVE. Directed by Diana Baldon, the Foundation presents and promotes contemporary art and visual culture.

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Irene Guzman
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