Roberto Cuoghi: Imitation of Christ / Italian Pavilion, Venice Art Biennale 2017

“Il Mondo Magico” (The Magic World) is the title of the exhibition for the Italian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Art Biennale. The show, curated by Cecilia Alemani, curator of The High Line (NY), presents works by Roberto Cuoghi, Giorgio Andreotta Calò and Adelita Husni-Bey. The title takes inspiration from the homonymous book written right after World War II by anthropologist Ernesto de Martino. The artists have produced new works commissioned for the pavilion. In this video, we have a closer look at Roberto Cuoghi’s piece. It’s called “Imitazione di Cristo” (Imitation of Christ):

“This project fits into a complex vision that explores the transformative properties of materials and the fluid definition of identity. The artist transforms the basilica-like space of the Arsenale into a factory for churning out devotional figures inspired by the Imitation of Christ, an ascetic medieval text that the artist reinterprets from the standpoint of what he calls a “new technological materialism.” Cuoghi introduces us to an experimental process of sculpting matter, reflecting on the magical force of images, the power of repetition, and the iconographic memory of art history.
The installation – a workshop set up for producing these sculptures from start to finish, from casting the organic material in a single mold all the way to the phase of fixation – does not cease to evolve with the opening of the show: it continues to unfold through decomposition and composition, death and regeneration. The entire process has been conceived so as never to yield the same outcome, creating a sense of dissociation that seems to echo the present moment.” (Excerpt from the press text).

Roberto Cuoghi was born 1973 in Modena. He lives and works in Milan. In 2017 his work has been presented in a retrospective project at the Centre d’ Art Contemporain, Geneva, which also includes exhibitions at Museo MADRE in Naples, and the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne. He has participated in two editions of the Biennale Arte: Il Palazzo Enciclopedico/The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2013, directed by Massimiliano Gioni, and Fare Mondi/Making Worlds, 53rd International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2009, directed by Daniel Birnbaum. He received a special mention from the jury at both exhibitions. His solo exhibitions include the noteworthy Putiferio, Deste Project Space Slaughterhouse, Hydra, 2016; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, 2015; Le Consortium, Dijon, 2014; New Museum, New York, 2014; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2011; ICA, London, 2008.

Roberto Cuoghi: Imitation of Christ / Italian Pavilion, Venice Art Biennale 2017. Venice (Italy), May 12, 2017.

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