Rossella Biscotti: For the Mnemonist, S.

Rossella Biscotti: For the Mnemonist, S.

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels

Rossella Biscotti, 168 Sections of a Human Brain, 2009–14. 108 silver gelatin prints on Baryth paper, 30 x 40 cm each. Courtesy of the artist.

May 27, 2014

Rossella Biscotti
For the Mnemonist, S. 

28 May–17 August 2014

Contemporary Art Centre
Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354
1190 Brussels
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 11–18h

T +32 (0) 2 340 00 53

For her first survey exhibition, Italian artist Rossella Biscotti draws a trajectory that reflects on the conflicting yet overlapping notions of history and memory. In the exhibition, five major works from the past five years compose an architecture that departs from Biscotti’s research into the institutional forms developed by society to control and discipline, and continues to map the deeper layers of the mind. The title refers to a case study of Russian psychologist Alexander Luria that concentrates on ‘S.’, a young man with an incredibly vast but bizarre memory.

Memory is one of Biscotti’s primary angles when investigating the cracks and marks of historical processes, which are presented both in a physical and symbolic way. The gestures and techniques of recording, translating and editing, which correspond to the cognitive functions of the brain, allow Biscotti to reveal the tensions and relations between the individual and the collective, institutions and language. In her practice, she cuts across film, performance and sculptural installations—means through which she explores and evokes critical moments and places from recent history. Biscotti addresses the viewer on multiple levels of experience, by transferring and re-embodying the historical record, the spoken word, the physical trace into the present tense.
Rossella Biscotti, born in 1978 in Molfetta, Italy, currently lives between Brussels, Amsterdam and her research sites, including Chernobyl, the former high-security courthouse in Foro Italico in Rome, the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania, the Santo Stefano prison island and the women’s prison on Giudecca, Venice. Biscotti has taken part in international exhibitions such as Manifesta 9 in Genk, dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, the Istanbul Biennial and the 55th Venice Biennale.

Curator: Dirk Snauwaert

Complementary programme:

Performance: The Trial by Rossella Biscotti
7 June, 12–18h
Il Processo/The Trial focuses on a decisive political moment: on 7 April 1979, a rhizomatic network of intellectuals affiliated with the leftist revolutionary movement Autonomia Operaia were arrested across Italy following charges—later proven to be unfounded—of terrorism. Its key figures, such as philosophers Toni Negri and Paolo Virno, were accused of being ideologically and morally responsible for shaping the minds of the students who later took up arms and engaged in political action. The ’7 April’ trial took place in the Aula Bunker in Rome from 1983 to 1984, the high-security courthouse in Foro Italico that hosted the most important trials of the anni di piombo

The core of the variable installation that Biscotti developed from this case study is a six hour re-enactment of a selection of the courtroom recordings, during which local agents will reactivate the trial at WIELS by means of live translation from Italian to French and Dutch. The chosen interpreters will connect with the content through a contemporary voice and body, because of their political curiosity, research or activism and could therefore function as a bridge between then and now. 

25 June, 19h
Lecture by Renata Salecl (EN)

2 July, 19h
Look Who’s Talking: Dirk Snauwaert (FR/NL)

16 July, 19h
Look Who’s Talking: Caroline Dumalin (NL/EN)

17 August, 15h
Finissage: Artist Talk (EN)

The exhibition benefits from the support of the Mondriaan Fund.

Also on view in WIELS
Allen Ruppersberg: No Time Left to Start Again and Again
Until 17 August
Robert Heinecken: Lessons in Posing Subjects
Until 17 August

Soon in WIELS
During the Exhibition, the Studio Will Be Close 
Group exhibition with former artists-in-residence
14 June–17 August

Press contact
Micha Pycke
micha.pycke [​at​] / T +32 (0) 2 340 00 51 / M +32 (0) 486 680 070

Rossella Biscotti: For the Mnemonist, S. at WIELS, Brussels
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WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
May 27, 2014

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