Mandla Reuter
              Ilaria Bombelli
              The invitation to the third solo show by Mandla Reuter at Francesca Minini bears no title or explanation. It relies on just one image, evocative enough on its own: a moonless sea, rippled by waves. Even the press release, stripped of all syntax, is reduced to a chain of words that hint at some meaning but mostly conjure a mood. They include “water,” “island,” “forest,” “sewage,” “dusk,” “stamp,” ”chocolate,” and “remnants,” plus geographic locations, names of cities, and numerical measurements. So we visit the exhibition with this sea in our heads, so to speak, and a few inorganic clues. At the entrance, the exotic image of a bronze cocoa pod (Cacao, 2017), along with other specimens still nestled within their plaster molds, summons all the various things associated with this fruit (prosperity, exploitation, luxury, poverty, etc.). The viewer’s gaze is immediately drawn—with the sense of the sea growing stronger—to a huge salvage airbag (its crate also exhibited nearby) whose hyperbolic bulk fills and almost seals off the gallery. This sort of obstruction is not a new device for the artist, who in the past has blocked gallery entrances with boulders so that visitors had to strain for a glimpse of the ...
              Milan Round Up
              Barbara Casavecchia
              A spotlight can transform quite a bit with an economy of means, making something instantly visible, no matter how small or familiar. Post-winter sunlight can achieve a similar effect, which is why “The Spring Awakening” was an apt title choice for the program of exhibitions, openings, and performances organized around this year’s miart fair. Although everything under its purview was already on the urban map, miart’s new ventures made the local network of artists, institutions, and galleries look fresher and more energetic, signaling a positive shift within the cultural sphere. Milan’s contemporary art scene seems to be finally catching up with the success of the city’s annual furnishing design bash Salone Internazionale del Mobile, perhaps by emulating its three-part format: a serious fair to busy one’s self for half the day; a range of things to see about town for the other half; and a wide array of social gatherings. On Friday night at 1 a.m., when I stopped by at the Ulrico Hoepli Planetarium to see Stan VanDerBeek’s Cine Dreams: Future Cinema of The Mind (1972/2014)—an immersive installation of over 50 16mm films and slide projections presented for the first time in its entirety since its premiere—the queue outside ...
              Becky Beasley’s "The Outside"
              Filipa Ramos
              THE INTERIOR "In truth we are men because we slide towards the useless material; otherwise we would be reduced to the biologically perfect condition of the better-organized colony of insects, where nothing happens that is not useful to material life," wrote Carlo Mollino (1905–1973) in "Utopia e Ambientazione" (Utopia and Setting), an article published in two consecutive issues of Domus in 1949. It was not the first time that the architect employed quasi-anthropological observations in praise of inutility. During a public debate (1), Mollino continued that the only way to transcend technique was to slide towards uselessness. He wanted to open a way for the creation of non-necessary elements that, according to his own words, animate buildings, objects, and creations alike. His statement can be interpreted as a subtle critique of rationalism and an early anticipation of postmodernism. It may also justify the interest in Mollino, who has been recently re-presented as a figure whose transdisciplinary vocation largely exceeded the field of architecture, and whose propensity towards aesthetics caused such widespread fascination. Becky Beasley’s exhibition "The Outside," part two of the trilogy "Late Works," is a visual digest of her survey on Carlo Mollino, and it provides yet another contribution to reinterpreting ...
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