Marzia Migliora, Kengo Kuma, Lee Mingwei and Francesco Simeti: Contemporary expressions

Marzia Migliora, Kengo Kuma, Lee Mingwei and Francesco Simeti: Contemporary expressions

MAO Asian Art Museum, Turin

Marzia Migliora, Il Rituale del Serpente (The Snake Ritual) (detail), 2023. Site-specific installation, five tapestries, steel cables, weaving on mechanical loom, Japanese washi paper, recycled plastic, moretta wool, cellulose veil, terracotta weights, 570 x 140 cm, 400 x 140 cm, 200 x 140 cm. Courtesy of the artist and MAO Asian Art Museum, Turin, Italy.

November 2, 2023
Marzia Migliora, Kengo Kuma, Lee Mingwei and Francesco Simeti
Contemporary expressions
Artist residencies and new site-specific installations
November 4, 2023–June 2, 2024
MAO Asian Art Museum, Turin
via San Domenico, 11
10122 Torino
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm
Instagram / Facebook

In 2022 MAO inaugurated a programme of artist residencies and site-specific commissions that views contemporary art as a means for fostering new interpretations and plural narratives as well as a driver for valorising the museum’s collections. For Artissima 2023, MAO presents four new works that have resulted from this multi-year project:

Marzia Migliora
For the residency, Marzia Migliora worked at MAO for a few months between 2022 and 2023, assimilating objects, styles and images found in the museum collection and transforming them into a composite alphabet that she used to create Il Rituale del Serpente (The Snake Ritual)The work comprises tapestries that partly use MAO’s monumental stair and are based on a large scroll filled with mixed media images that the artist made looking at ritual and sculptural works in the collections.

Working from Migliora’s drawing on paper, Giovanni Bonotto (A Collection) created five tapestries hung before our eyes like the sudarium of a suffering anthropic world. Textile production and its social consequences are the thematic foundation of the work.
The tapestries creates a symbolic bridge between the MAO collection and the contemporary world, with the aim of presenting within the museum a work that metaphorically combines space-time and warp and weft in an emotional, ahistorical and experiential crescendo.

Kengo Kuma
Flying Kodama is a new installation created by Kengo Kuma for the entrance to MAO. A kind of sphere measuring 120 cm in diameter, the piece is made up of interlocking blocks of pale ash that place the wood and its ephemeral composition in contrast with the physicality of the museum’s vault. 

Kodama, which means “forest spirit” in Japanese, is the result of structural and sculptural experimentation that Kuma has been carrying out for several years. For MAO, Kuma created a piece that is rooted in the same ideas but leads to a different outcome: here, the Japanese architect is presenting, for the first time, a sphere designed to be hung, as if floating, and comprising interlocking multiples of a single unit in solid wood, a bit like a Japanese brain teaser. Lit from the interior by a series of concealed LED strips, Flying Kodama creates a play of light and shadow, defining a mysterious, dream-like space.

Lee Mingwei
Lee Mingwei is returning to MAO with Le son de la pierreThe installation utilizes a ceramic disc, stone, and granite stand as metaphors for human inertia and potential for change. The act of breaking and subsequently repairing the disc using Kintsugi functions both as a physical and metaphorical gesture, underscoring the transformative power of imperfection and resilience.

“The idea was to use these simple but symbolic objects to create a powerful, transformative experience. The ceramic disk represents the immobility of our lives. The little stone represents the potential for change. The moment we realise our lives are stalled, it’s time to act. With a strong hand, the ceramic disk breaks into a thousand pieces, freeing our stagnant emotions. This breaking point is a moment of lucidity, an opportunity to free ourselves from the rigid shell that was holding us back.”

Francesco Simeti
Francesco Simeti is presenting Gigli, cinghiali, qualche carpa e poi conigli, galline e asini in gran quantità, a wallpaper piece for the museum’s reception area and the first part of a project that will develop at MAO during a two-year residency.

The work was originally made for Casa Giglio (where it is permanently on view), a space that opened in 2019 to provide accommodation to the families of children hospitalised at Regina Margherita. Rooted in archival research, it is a composite work that combines the iconographic traditions of different cultures and times and animal and plant species from far-flung geographical regions. At MAO, the work will be installed in the space that marks the dividing line between outside and inside, between the city and the protected space of the galleries, to welcome visitors and introduce them to the experience of the museum.

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MAO Asian Art Museum, Turin
November 2, 2023

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