At Mtn in Bologna Epistéme: knowledge in three voi...

At Mtn in Bologna Epistéme: knowledge in three voices

Now in its third year of activity, the Navile Temporary Museum presents a group show, curated by Marcello Tedesco, that aims to stimulate, once again, reflections on a theme of public interest: art as a cognitive tool. It is precisely the Epistéme, therefore knowledge, at the center of the exhibition project that involves three female voices from the contemporary art scene. Knowledge that wants – and should – be shared and spread, in an absolutely democratic way.

It is no coincidence that this exhibition, even more than the previous ones, was created to be experienced above all from the outside of the structure made up of monumental windows. Anyone at any time has the opportunity to enjoy the works that, installed close to the transparent walls of the museum, break down the boundary between inside and outside to dive into the urban reality and get closer to visitors.

The works of Martina Roberts, Silvia Vendramel and Marina Gasparini meet in the void of the exhibition hall and investigate – each according to its own language – the concept of knowledge, trying to overcome the conflict between metaphysical and technical-scientific knowledge, between rational and non-rational. The challenge is to distinguish without separating, to move away from the extreme poles to reconcile the opposites. The works on display oscillate between a purely artistic dimension and another closer to craftsmanship, between art and a know-how that speaks of manual skills. Therefore, using what surrounds us in everyday life to create works that have truly descended into the world.

An example of this is Silvia Vendramel‘s Theater (2021), an installation made from production waste: residues of terracotta, bronze, brass and crochet yarn that come back on the scene acquiring new life. In this, as in the other works on display, there is a certain materiality which creates an interesting paradox if you think that the project revolves around something extremely intangible.

Precisely in line with that search for balance between opposites, the skillful use that the artists make of materials corresponds to the ability to express a certain sense of rarefaction.

It happens in Vento (2020) by Vendramel who, through the use of heavy elements such as bronze and copper, manages to give shape to the immateriality of the wind. It still happens in Martina RobertsImprovisations in the void (2021), pictorial works (all installed with a slight inclination that allows a perfect view even from the outside) that seem to visually detect this rarefaction. Through a generating plot that she defines without feeling the need to fill the gaps, the artist weaves spaces open to the unexpected. The artist writes of these works: “Like a silkworm I produce a thread, drawn or painted, to explore the unknown”.

Is this not perhaps one of the main purposes of knowledge? Explore what is not yet known, not acquired; go in search of what is positioned in the center, in that space halfway between the rational and the irrational, between the material and the rarefied, to discover new, unprecedented meanings.

In Marina Gasparini‘s works this aspect is felt loud and clear. Schiapparelli (2019 – 2021) consists of eighteen terracotta vases made by artisans from a village in India and covered by the artist with an intense color cotton. An important source of inspiration was the Geneva psychic Hélène Smith who claimed to be in contact with otherworldly realities; the elements of the work, in fact, set out to redesign a Martian city that Smith had imagined. In this case, the irrational is thus revealed before the eyes of the visitors. Smith returns in Gasparini’s second work on display: La plus jolie rêve (2019). This is the reproduction of the electroencephalogram of the psychic, in lead and neon. The heavy nature of metal is dematerialized by light. The trace of the mind of a woman who believed in everything that can be most distant from scientific knowledge which, illuminated close to the window, acts almost as a reminder.

All of the works on display tell of a knowledge that is synonymous with freedom. They do this by also using the emptiness of the room, which acts as a reservoir of infinite possibilities: a space in which the unthinkable can happen, even if reason embraces the senseless. Therefore, the void is almost the fourth author on display. It invites us, just like artists do, to think: won’t we be too distracted by everyday things to stop and realize that there is something else? Something impalpable, which cannot be pigeonholed or explained with strict rules. The works on display, as much as the emptiness that surrounds them, try to free us from the sense of heaviness of a widespread hyper-materiality and help us rediscover the pleasure of knowing.


EPISTÈME Distinguere senza separare
08.10.21 – 05.11.21
Mtn | Museo Temporaneo Navile
Via John Cage 11/a-13/a – 40129 Bologna

Epistème, 2021 Exhibition view, Mtn, Bologna, Photo courtesy: mtn | museo temporaneo NavileEpistème, 2021 Exhibition view, Mtn, Bologna, Photo courtesy: mtn | museo temporaneo Navile

Mtn, Epistème, Silvia Vendramel, Teatro, 2021, terracotta, bronzo, ottone, filato all’uncinetto, Photo courtesy: mtn | museo temporaneo Navile

Epistème, 2021 Exhibition view, Mtn, Bologna, Photo courtesy: mtn | museo temporaneo Navile


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