This series aims to point out the existing dialogues between art and space, intended as architectonical or geographical.
The topic will be developed from three different perspectives: an historical approach through theories and past displays; a research paper in relation to spaces in London; and some reviews of current exhibitions characterised by a curatorial awareness of the space or by artists working with the concept of space as a material.
Curate the space.
Re-settle an Institution.
Challenge the visitors.
That is what the Argentinian Adrian Villar Rojas did for the current exhibition at Fondazione Sandretto, in Turin.
Approaching the building…
White. So white.
Material. Really material.
The silvery main façade results unusually bright and clean.
Claudio Silvestrin, the architect, must have done a good job.
Never thought about that before.
At the entrance…
Is the Foundation open?
It’s dark here.
It’s cold here.
Where is the info point which usually welcomes people?
Where has the bookshop gone?
What is the exhibition about?
There is one, right? I must have read something about it.
A white wall is covering the info point.
Two of the staff are hiding beside that, with their jackets and a stove to survive the coldness of December. They say to me that I am not wrong: Adrian Villar Rojas is actually exhibiting.
A last gaze to the absent bookshop…
(What a shame, I love to stop there usually. Even though it is a bit too much self-referential… just books published by the Foundation there).
I start to distinguish something instead…
Yes. There are objects.
Shoes. Jackets. One iPod. Some technology.
Those are spread here and there, in the bookshop area, at the entrance and in the walkway that usually introduce the exhibition rooms.
No labels, nor information about the exhibition.
The first room…
Dark. Cold. Silent.
Just present with its walls.
The second room…
A huge one.
Never seen it before… usually it is divided into a few spaces with walls.
And there, the surprise:
Huge rocks form Turkey and plenty of organic or inorganic objects.
A site-specific installation.
Sense of time.
The few visitors walking there complete the image: they are the survivors.
The only light is the one coming from the outside, so the perception changes according to the visiting hour. I went late in the afternoon and I was able to glimpse dead animals, fruits, coins, clothes and so forth.
If you ask questions to the staff, they answer turning back it to you.
“Can I have some information about the artist?”
“Yes, What do you know about him?”
And this is exactly what Adrian Villar Rojas wanted.
He cleaned the façade.
He expunged and changed Fondazione Sandretto’s identity.
He conditioned the staff working there.
He challenged the visitors, which are asked merely to discover with no external guides.
After years in which the Institutional critique took place, isn’t that a real rinascimento (re-born) for the artistic presence in an institution? Isn’t it a way to deal with space? Great, just great.
Rinascimento, Adrian Villar Rojas, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, 4th November 2015 – 28th February 2016.
Caterina Avataneo (Turin, 1989) is an Italian architect and curator based in London. She is now attending the MA Curating Contemporary at London Met and Whitechapel Gallery.
Her past experiences include: Between Crinkles curated exhibition, Turin (IT); Norma Mangione Gallery, Turin (IT); Paratissima, Turin (IT); Hat Gallery, Valencia (ES); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (IT).