EGOmania Just When I Think I’ve Understood …

EGOmania Just When I Think I’ve Understood …

Galleria Civica di Modena

Marc Quinn, Southpole, 2005
Oil on canvas, Private collection
© by the artist

January 30, 2006

Just When I Think Ive Understood
Appena ho capito daver capito

29th January-2nd May 2006

Curated by Milovan Farronato in collaboration with Angela Vettese

Galleria Civica, Palazzo Santa Margherita, and Palazzina dei Giardini
corso Canalgrande, Modena (ITALY)

Sunday 29th January at midday in the exhibition spaces of the Galleria Civica of Modena, Palazzo Santa Margherita and Palazzina dei Giardini, sees the opening of the exhibition EGOmania curated by Milovan Farronato and in collaboration with Angela Vettese. Produced by the Galleria Civica and Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, the exhibition poses three universal queries: Who am I? How do I see myself? Who can see me? In modern culture, the ego has become so hugely invasive, so needful of care and continuous reflections that we are forced to focus our attention on it for a number of reasons.

The obsession with ones self. The continuous questions about who we are. The mirror as a tiresome yet maniacal object of desire. Anorexia, bulimia, pharmaceutical addiction, nervous tics repeated as if constituting a reassuring gesture. The attempt to reach out towards the outside world which so often turns into another search for the self. Aggression as an answer to ones doubts. Doubt as our constant companion. These are but some of the key notions of this exhibition, a group show on the issue which brings together emerging international talent along with more well-established names. As soon as s/he enters the adult world, the individual has always had to deal with the problem of understanding who s/he is. References to this may be found in countless mythological, philosophical and literary sources, from the figure of Narcissus to that of the seducer, from Casanova to Soren Kierkegaard, right up to the thought of Sigmund Freud and André Gide, to the autobiographical writings of Marcel Proust, Italo Svevo and many other great authors.

Today, the questions on the construction of our identity and the obsessions that haunt us are rendered even more pressing especially in those parts of the world rich enough to afford it as a consequence of other factors: the lengthening of adolescence and thus the time in which the individual starts to outline his/her adult identity; the chance to choose to adopt diverse ways of existing, far from so-called normality, or rather from the desire to comply with the behaviour of others, perhaps as a consequence of the fear aroused by so much freedom. This is shown in the conformist attitude that encourages many adolescents to match up to a certain model, which makes it an easy target for a form of consumerism as tribal as it is costly for the consumer.

The EGOmania exhibition does not set out to provide a series of (self) portraits to be interpreted on face value. Each work has been chosen on the basis of the internal processes that it describes: a wide-ranging approach which goes from the importance of our relationship with nature right to the madness that self-obsession may drive us to.
For example, the show opens with a simulacrum of a swastika by the German artist Katharina Fritsch in the form of a funeral candlestick-holder. The shape of the sculpture in a certain sense represents the deadly potential intrinsic in egocentricity, with a clear reference to Nazism and the moral perversity of dictators, unable to see reality if not as an extension of themselves.

Liliana Moros bronze dogs, all identical and each one a repetition of the next, form a backwards way of showing how much harm one can do to oneself if one keeps fighting against oneself. The environment installations of other artists really do turn the space into an extension of oneself in which ones persona spreads, works its way into and around anything and everything, highlighting the effect we have on the space we occupy.

Markus Schinwald, for example, puts up two huge curtains on which both calm pastoral scenes as well as other details inspired by Dantes Hell have been painted onto the red background. Rory Macbeth, on the other hand, presents a series of plants and stones he has manipulated in order to comment on his own being as part of the vegetable and mineral kingdoms.

The exhibition is put together with a broad variety of techniques, from the 50-odd drawings by the Modenese Roberto Cuoghi to Mike Kelleys videos, from Marc Quinns traditional sculptures to the paintings of forests, with soundtrack accompaniment, by Ugo Rondinone.
This group show is intentionally open to numerous readings in order to allow each one of us to find the most suitable language with which to describe ourselves. Mixed in all senses and deliberately composite, the exhibition makes use of prestigious loans from collections such as that of the Deste Foundation in Athens and the Swiss Migros Museum; in many cases, the artists have been personally involved in creating works especially for the event.

Just as deliberate is the way in which the exhibition brings together the works of artists who are now well-known on the contemporary arts scene, such as Katharina Fritsch (Germany), Mike Kelley (USA), Marc Quinn (UK), Ugo Rondinone (Switzerland), Hanne Darboven (Germany) and Tim Hawkinson (USA) and others, chosen from among the emerging talents on the international stage. These include Roberto Cuoghi and Liliana Moro (Italy), Dongwook Lee and Naneun (South Korea), Rory Macbeth (UK), Anneé Olofsson (Sweden), Bjørn Melhus (Germany), and Markus Schinwald (Austria). Marc Camille Chaimowicz (Inghilterra), was also picked out as worthy of special note during the critical evaluation of the works.

Just When I Think Ive Understood / Appena ho capito daver capito
29th January 2nd May 2006
Galleria Civica, Palazzo Santa Margherita, and Palazzina dei Giardini
corso Canalgrande, Modena (ITALY)
Tuesday to Friday 10.30am 1pm; 3pm 6pm
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10.30am 6pm
Closed on Mondays
entrance Free

Galleria Civica, corso Canalgrande 103, 41100 Modena (ITALY)
Tel. 39 059 2032911/2032940 – fax 39 059 2032932

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Galleria Civica di Modena
January 30, 2006

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