Christopher Williams – Dix-Huit Leçons Sur La Société Industrielle (Revision 5)

Christopher Williams – Dix-Huit Leçons Sur La Société Industrielle (Revision 5)

MAMbo - Museum of Modern Art of Bologna

Kiev Camera (triptych/trittico, one element/un elemento), Kiev 88, 4.6 Ibs. (2.1 Kg), Manufacturer: Zavod Arsenal Factory, Kiev, Ukraine, Date of production: 1983-87, Douglas M. Parker Studio, Glendale, California.
March 28, 2003 (NR. 1,2,3), 2003, Dye transfer print, Each 40,6 x 50,8 cm, Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Köln

January 21, 2007

For Example: Dix-Huit Leçons Sur La Société Industrielle (Revision 5)

January 26-March 4 2007

curated by Gianfranco Maraniello and Andrea Viliani

Press conference
January 22 2007, 12 a.m.
Opening January 25 2007, 7 p.m.

c/o Galleria dArte Moderna
Piazza Costituzione 3, Bologna
tel. 051.502859 fax 051.371032
Press contact: Giulia Pezzoli: ufficiostampagam [​at​]


The first solo show in an Italian museum by the American artist Christopher Williams (Los Angeles, 1956) will coincide and will celebrate the closure of the old venue of the Galleria dArte Moderna di Bologna (1975-2007). Specifically conceived as the very last show held in this exhibition space on the eve of its imminent relinquishment, Williamss intervention comprises an organic project that links together the exhibition layout and its framework represented by the architecture of the building itself and its three decades of exhibition making.

Working directly on the structure of the building, Williams will allow the visitor to have access to the museum through its original entrance and by a balanced interplay of additions and removals he will partially rediscover the itineraries, disposition of masses, explanatory structures and original outlay as they were at the time the museum was opened (May 1st, 1975). In the galleries themselves, but also in the old entrance lobby, in the corridors and in the service areas normally closed to the public the artists works will outline the course of a unique journey backwards in time. By documenting the progressive transformations of the Gallery – designed by architect Leone Pancaldi adjacent to the pavilions of the Bologna Fair – the artist puts into mutual relationship the present and the past of the institution, its imminent closure with the events which politically motivated its creation and accompanied its inauguration, enabling these two opposite events inauguration and closure as it were to discourse between themselves and almost merging the one with the other.

In his photographs, videos, films, installations, sculptures and performances Christopher Williams analyses the complex and stratified mechanisms by means of which contemporary communication and aesthetic conventions structure our ways of perceiving and understanding reality. Williamss artistic work lies at an ideal meeting point between 60s and 70s Conceptual Art, concerned with critically deconstructing the instruments and the very context of artistic action, and the recovery of neo-conceptual strategies by the most recent generation of artists which began to emerge in the early 90s.

By means of the reciprocal impact of his works and that of the institutional context in which they are displayed, Williams underlines the critical relationship between the museum – the constant change and overlapping of its programmes, functions and ideologies – and the dynamics of communication in our society and in contemporary culture, shedding light both on the contradictory nature of the very idea of the avant-garde the realisation of which modernism has often regarded as the function of contemporary art and on the illusory idea of an objective authority normally attributed to the museum as an institution.

In his project Williams also explores the contemporary legacy of that long period of political, social and cultural experimentation which in the late 60s and throughout the 70s made Bologna a point of reference on the international level: from the research into mass communication debated, for instance, in Umberto Ecos University courses at the D.A.M.S. (founded in 1971) to the broadcasts of the first free Italian radios, among which was Radio Alice (which started broadcasting on January 26 1976), to the town planning projects as the ones that involved the Fair District where the Gallery is located – aimed at connecting economic development, social integration and cultural progress in a metropolitan organism which tried to sweep away the divisions between the various means of production as well as between centre and suburbs. A process which eventually involved intellectuals and students in a debate which, during those years, stretched far beyond the context of the institutions until in the spring of 1977 it invaded the streets and piazzas of the city (The Skank Bloc Bologna [] now theyve got a notion and theyre working on a hope, a Euro-ruled vision and a skank in scope, Skank Bloc Bologna, Scritti Politti, 1978).

In this sense the exhibition of Christopher Williams is to be regarded as a conscious act of divestment not just of an exhibition building but of an entire cultural project destined to be carefully studied and reconsidered in the programme of the future MAMbo-Museo dArte Moderna di Bologna, which will open in the spring of 2007 in its new venue at the former Forno del Pane.

A monographic catalogue will be published on the occasion of the exhibition, containing photographic documentation of the show in comparison with visual documentation of the museums history. In addition to critical essays by architectural historian Mark Wigley and critic John Kelsey, the catalogue will include an introduction based on the collaboration between the artist and the Director of the Istituzione Galleria dArte Moderna Gianfranco Maraniello and a detailed documentary apparatus edited by Andrea Viliani with the collaboration of Alessia Masi and Uliana Zanetti.

Conceived independently by the artist and dedicated to the memory of the French film director Danièle Huillet (1936-2006), a play list project curated by Williams and John Kelsey will be broadcast throughout the period of the exhibition by Città del Capo Radio Metropolitana.

Contact MAMbo Museo dArte Moderna di Bologna
tel. 051.502859 fax 051.371032


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January 21, 2007

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