October 20, 2005 - Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art - Marco Poloni
October 20, 2005

Marco Poloni

Marco Poloni
The Desert Room

21 October - 21 November 005

St. Alban-Rheinweg 64
4052 Basel
office [​at​] iplugin.org
tel: 41-61-283 6050
fax: 41-61-283 6051


Opening: Thursday, October 20th, 20:00

[Plug·in] is particularly glad to present a personal exhibition of Marco Poloni, an artist living in Geneva and Chicago. Since 1997, Poloni attracts attention with an artistic practice of remarkable precision. This year, his work was seen at the Kunstverein Freiburg im Breisgau (personal exhibition in January) and at the 51st Venice Biennial where he was one of the artists officially representing Switzerland. The exhibition at [plug·in] offers to the public the opportunity to discover a new facet of this work.

Poloni explores the relationship between reality and its reproduction by means of the camera. To this end, on the one hand he makes use of photography (series shown at Freiburg and Venice), and on the other hand he produces media installations. To qualify these type of works, the artist speaks of viewing systems. It is a project of this type that Poloni will produce for the exhibition at [plug·in], in which he asserts a new development of his discourse on perception and the media.

The visitor enters a room. This room is a reconstruction of reporter David Lockes room in a small hotel of the North African desert in Antonionis 1975 feature film The Passenger.

Evening. It is very hot. Fluorescent light flickers outside most probably, a defective neon sign. A ceiling fan cuts through thick air. A TV set shows the news channel Al-Jazeera. On the table, a laptop is open with video editing software. On the screen, the visitor sees an image of the space in which he is located. Intermittently, news footage from a conflict zone appears.

The images of the hotel room are produced by an observation camera that the visitors can cause to move using the computers keyboard. The images in real time seem to be filmed from within the room. The objects in the room appear in the image, but the visitor cant see himself. Likewise, it is impossible to locate the camera in the room.

In fact, the camera moves in a reproduction of the space. The visitor, disturbed by his own vanishing, will finally discover the existence of the scale model. But the impression left by the paradoxical experience of his own absence will be a lasting one. This system triggers a doubt about the image and its capacity to deliver a coherent representation of reality. Directly engaged, the visitor is called to perceive himself perceiving.

The curator of the exhibition is Pierre-André Lienhard, who has followed Polonis work since its inception and can be considered as the finest expert on his work.

This project represents an ideal case for [plug·in] as it allows to reiterate existing synergies between new media and visual arts. The exhibition dates are set so as to coincide with the Viper Festival, which attracts to Basel a national and international public, specialized in new media.

The work of Marco Poloni is documented in the following recent publications:


2005 Marco Poloni. Passengers. [About the photographic oeuvre]
Text by Pierre-André Lienhard and interview with Stefan Banz.
Verlag für moderne Kunst Nürnberg (French, German, English)
ISBN 3-936711-61-5; Hardcover CHF ca. 40.00

2004 Marco Poloni. Never Mind the Gap. [About the viewing systems]
Essay by Pierre-André Lienhard and interview with Edouard Monnet
Verlag für Moderne Kunst, Nürnberg ; (French, German, English)
ISBN 3-933096-99-5; Softcover CHF 29.50

Catalogue of the exhibition at the Swiss pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennial 2005:

2005 Shadows Collide with People Gianni Motti, Shahryar Nashat, Marco Poloni, Ingrid Wildi.
Federal Office of Culture, edition fink, Bern/Zürich ; (English, Italian, German, French)
ISBN 3-906086-79-8; CHF 45.00

Marco Polonis exhibition at [plug·in] is supported by: Fonds cantonal dart contemporain (Canton de Genève), Fonds dart contemporain de la Ville de Genève, GGG Basel, Fondation Nestlé pour lart, Pro Helvetia, National Versicherung, CATV Basel.

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