We all know: there is a pandemic going on. Exhibitions, fairs and awards moved to the web. Our methods of fruition have adapted themselves. So, what about Sprint 2020? The Milanese exhibition of independent publishing and artist books had to move part of its program online, due to the latest DPCM. Among the participants who accepted this virtual challenge there is also BRACE BRACE, the artist run space run by Francesca Finotti, Francesco Paleari and Cecilia Mentasti. Initially born as an artists’ studio, it immediately transformed into an independent (and irreverent) exhibition space, a place for meetings and cohabitation. Its aim is to establish shared conversations between guests and hosted artists. All the exhibitions, therefore, are organized as site-specific projects structured over the time as collaboration and dialogue; also, the curatorial group participates in every aspect of the realization. Not a gallery, not a simple project space, BRACE BRACE is a den of artists for artists, which goes beyond the logic of the market to enter those of a free and stubborn research and carry out projects elsewhere unwanted or impossible.
One might wonder what a space like this is doing in a publishing fair. The explanation lies in the approach adopted by the curatorial team. The group is made up of several personalities from different fields and disciplines. This interdisciplinarity leads the space to be a bridge for possibility of contamination. Each exhibition has a landing also on paper, which is never a simple corollary, but an enrichment with its own identity. These contributions are possible thanks to the collaboration of Simone S. Melis, graphic designer, co-founder of Hund Studio, who deals with the graphics of the group located in Via Termopili.
Therefore, BRACE BRACE participates in Sprint 2020. How? With its first collective exhibition: on November 28 was virtually inaugurated A political statement, visible on the website of the artist run space until December 13. It is a web site – specific exhibition designed by Ernesto Bellei, web designer and co-founder of Hund Studio. The show occupies the whole page, transforming it into an exhibition space and forcing anyone who is there to visit it. You cannot enter the website otherwise: once inside you have to go all the way in; once you get to the end there is no going back. Dear guests or unfortunate hostages, you find yourself trapped in an extremely connotating and connoted experience: 3 minutes and 34 seconds, 2 video-works.
Rondini by Ginevra Dolcemare (Milan, 1994) is shot on the belvedere of an initially nameless city. More than a video, it is a poem in chapters, where gestures, sounds and looks take hold of verses. Evening falls, someone is dancing, someone is sleeping, a child throws a handful of petals into the air. A flock of swallows crosses the sky. Time seems to stop on a bench: every moment has the power of a big bang. The smallest actions, those fractions of moments hidden in the blink of an eye, are worth a thousand words. What matters is knowing how to observe, knowing how to grasp what existence holds in relationships.
More frank but equally impactful is This political statement is a suggestion of how a political statement should now be by Guildor (Milan 1983), which reflects on the place and role of individual assertiveness in the public and virtual space. How should a political declaration look like today? Whom should it be addressed to? The whole video is played on the hiatus between physical presence and remote use, expectation and unexpected results, attempts and denying at deciphering any certain answer. The public is involved in first person: actor and receiver of a play that is up to him to write.
Then appears the digital image of a crumpled press release. By clicking on it, is automatically downloaded a pdf containing two bibliographic lists. The critical contribution of the team consists of a bibliography structured together with each artist and offered as a gift to the visitor. In this way, they give the possibility of obtaining a further opening to an all-round reading of the works. Even on the web, even in the solitude of closed museums and empty galleries, BRACE BRACE promotes alternative methods of resistance. A political statement investigates the concept of politics as a conscious ethical choice, as possibility of the individual to have friction on reality, to take a stand. The task of art is to get out of the forced current, to unhinge any unidirectional truth with the power of research, to indicate and open new paths. Impossible projects, actions of resistance, political declarations for free spirits: there can always be the risk that every individual choice will be reabsorbed by the system, but there is also the awareness that nothing is more political than stopping to look at the swallows, writing your ideas on yourself or giving reading advice. There is no revolution! We are the revolution!
Marta Orsola Sironi
“A political statement”, BRACE BRACE for Sprint Milano 2020, cover
Ginevra Dolcemare,“Rondini”, 2020
Guildor, “This political statement is a suggestion on how political statement should now be”, 2020
“A political statement”, BRACE BRACE for Sprint Milano 2020, bibliography curated by BRACE BRACE, graphic design by Simone S. Melis (Hund Studio)
Marta Orsola Sironi is an independent critic and curator based in Milan. Her curatorial practice starts from the concept of archive, her main object of study, which is extended to a reflection on the transmigration of forms within contemporary culture. She is one of the founders of the co_atto project space, of which she is the curator. She collaborate as a contributor with several magazines writing about emerging artists and independent spaces. She studied with Martina Corgnati at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and works as an art historian and archivist, focusing mainly on the 1950s-1970s.