Daniel Buren / Sturtevant

Daniel Buren / Sturtevant

Madre Museum

Sturtevant. Photo: L. Muzzey. © Sturtevant Estate, Paris. Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris-Salzburg. Originally published in Frog magazine.

May 11, 2015

Daniel Buren
Come un gioco da bambini lavoro in situ, 2014-2015, Madre, Napoli – #1

April 25–August 31, 2015

Sturtevant Sturtevant 
May 1–September 21, 2015 

Madre-Museo d’arte contemporanea
Napoli Via Settembrini 79
80139 Naples


The Madre museum presents the first of the projects specially commissioned in 2015 from the French artist Daniel Buren to celebrate the relationship between the community and the museum, on the occasion of the first ten years of Madre’s activity. Daniel Buren’s oeuvre possesses a visual value that is always associated with the theoretical, and whose emblematic element could be summed up in his understanding of the term “in situ”: an expression by which the artist indicates the stringent relation between his interventions and the exhibition sites or urban locations in which they are set. With this first chapter, titled Come un gioco da bambini (2014–15, in collaboration with the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg), Buren welcomes visitors to the large ground floor gallery, converted into a veritable game of life-size constructions, a monumental kindergarten made by assembling some one hundred modules of various forms and colors. On entering the work visitors find themselves faced with a potential reality, which enables them to rebuild the world around them with a renewed sense of wonder and childlike amazement. The intervention, the fruit of a collaboration between the artist and the architect Patrick Bouchain, is thus presented as a subtle dialogue with architecture, which becomes almost living and performative: a city made up of hypnotic circles (on which appear the 8.7 cm stripes which are the recurrent and distinctive hallmark of Buren’s works), colored arches, cylindrical towers, square bases and triangular pediments arranged as if they were part of the museum architecture itself, finally endowing it with its hypothetical reconstructive potential. What the observer sees is in fact a composite landscape, the reproduction of a true miniature city that relates the real city (which is as if embodied into its archetypal forms within the museum) that is gradually articulated as a stroll through color leading from the initial pure white to the following chromatic kaleidoscope, with a rhythmical and vertiginous perspective. Curated by Andrea Viliani, Eugenio Viola.

Sturtevant Sturtevant is the first solo exhibition in an Italian public institution devoted to Sturtevant (1924–2014). Beginning with its title, in which the artist’s name is repeated twice, the exhibition, which groups more than 30 major works realized in all media, has been constructed around the concept and practice of repetition, understood as a collective device in which the uniqueness of the subject is merged with other possible personalities. In her repetitions of works by other artists, Sturtevant pioneered over the last 50  years—which also saw the affirmation of the post-modern aesthetic and defined the digital revolution—possible ways of overcoming the jurisdiction of copyright, the idea of intellectual property and the supposed uniqueness of the creator subject. In this sense Sturtevant is perhaps the 21st century’s first real artist, well ahead of her time in exploring concepts such as “authorship” and “originality” in relation to the mechanisms of production, circulation, reception and canonization of contemporary artistic imagery and imagination. Since the beginning Sturtevant’s works were indeed never copies but so many originals, being thought in action which focuses on a field of experience in art whose essence the artist comes to analyze, destabilizing its order of representation and designation and expressing its understructure. Sturtevant’s works are brutally real questions about time and memory, in which the past, without losing its guise as historical fact, rediscovers its own validity of conception in its present proposition and in which art rediscovers its status of “showing what makes us see” and “thinking about what makes us think.” An aesthetic and intellectual research that short-circuited the logic of Pop Art itself and superseded the criteria of the Appropriation, which emerged later in the eighties and from which Sturtevant differed by the deep roots of her practice in the thinking of the 20th-century philosophers of difference (from Michel Foucault to Gilles Deleuze), going so far as to foreshadow the impact of cybernetics, the principles of cloning, the scenarios of the digital sensibility, and to open up the door to the realm of the simulacrum and its simultaneous contemporary dissemination. Remaining isolated for decades, this research, which since the nineties has been expressed mainly through video (with references ranging from Hollywood movies to TV and advertising imagery), is today not only paradoxically original but above all absolutely anticipatory, in her constant interest in grasping what defines a work of art as such, in leaving spaces for the vertigo of still possible contemporary invention and, to quote the artist, in finally revealing the “silent power of art.” Curated by Stéphanie Moisdon.

Daniel Buren / Sturtevant at Madre Museum
RSVP for Daniel Buren / Sturtevant
Madre Museum
May 11, 2015

Thank you for your RSVP.

Madre Museum will be in touch.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.