Curated by: Alison Karasyk, Camille Regli, Katie Simpson
The Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, from 3 October to 15 November, presents at Palazzo Re Rebaudengo, the final exhibition of the 14 edition of the Young Curators Residency Program coordinated by Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti.
The residency is organized with the support of the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation.
The fourteenth edition of the Young Curators Residency Program took place as the COVID-19 epidemic was beginning to afflict northern Italy. The alarm sound of this period - both literally and metaphorically - has become a starting point for the exhibition, which is inspired by the double interpretation of the Italian term siren. Known both as the mythological female figure of the sea and as the sound of emergency, the siren awakens our senses and guides us, and at the same time amplifies the urgency to be stopped to listen.
In Homer's Odyssey, the mermaid is depicted as a dangerous and powerful creature of air and sea, a woman - or a group of women - whose song seduces the poem's protagonist, Ulysses, and his crew as they attempt to lead their ship home. Listening to their voices means risking to descend into hell with no possibility of return. Divine and grotesque at the same time, the siren attracts the ego towards a state of dissolution, evoking illusion, seduction and annihilation of consciousness. In his seminal book A multi-voices. Philosophy of vocal expression, the Italian philosopher Adriana Cavarero describes how the pathos of the narrative focuses on the deadly seductive circuit between voice and listening, sound and ear. Singing monsters, theriomorphic women with powerful voices, the Sirens provide an acoustic enjoyment that kills men ”. Dwelling in the depths of the sea and on land, the mermaid represents both the closeness and the distance experienced today in our world. On the occasion of the exhibition Waves Between Us (Waves between us) we want to reflect on what Cavarero claims, namely on the fact that "distance is measured with the meter of the voice, not with that of the eye".
In this exhibition, the siren makes a unique slip, snaking through each artist's practice to explore sound as a mode of transmission, salt water as a network of connectivity and the underground worlds of the cave and swamp as ecosystems of interaction and change. The works presented relate to the incarnation of both physical and collective forms: the flesh of our throat, the voices that echo from our mouth, the stories that resonate between the ears and the memories that inhabit the bowels. On the ground floor and in the basement of Palazzo Re Rebaudengo, on the hills of Guarene, the exhibition offers a peripheral platform for vocal, material and collective experimentation. The site-specific commissions of ALMARE, Benni Bosetto and Binta Diaw transgress the normative boundaries of time and space, engaging in alternative narratives and shared rituals. Raffaela Naldi Rossano's works on paper also materialize ritual practice, forming a non-linear system of symbology and correspondences. The sculptural works by Bea Bonafini and Nuvola Ravera integrate natural and local materials to form intimate vessels that echo the elements of our own bodies made of water. The sculptural installations by Marco Giordano and Real Madrid evoke the eroticism of the underground space, operating a queering action on organic and everyday objects, such as containers of liquids and vocal emissions. Elisa Strinna's video work navigates the varied channels of the Mediterranean Sea, while the project by the Sicilian collective Feminote, aimed at purchasing the Isola delle Femmine, activates the emancipatory potential of a territory without borders.
The works presented explore "salt water as a passage, salt water as a means of transport, salt water as the sweaty sign of the fatigue of our body and the tearful signs of our capacity for affection", in the words of the historian of the art Griselda Pollock. Crossing sculpture, sound, video and drawing, the wave is a connective thread that evokes the movement between our bodies and the bodies of water that surround us, giving consistency to the resonance of voices, the passage of sound and the invisible natural depths. As the world adjusts to the reality of its isolated enclaves, how will our subjectivities feed within the walls of our homes, our caves and our oceans? How are communication systems contributing to the formation of new spheres of thought and connectivity?