“Chimera” at Cassina Projects: in conv...

“Chimera” at Cassina Projects: in conversation with the artist Reverie

Reverie, an artist originally from Vinci who currently lives in Milan, is a metamorphic practice within which the boundaries between intimately dreamlike, physical and mnemonic dimensions become increasingly blurred. Drawings, sculptures, photographs and graphic signs reveal a gestural connotation, typical of the performative actions with which they are often generated and which characterize the artist’s research.

Reverie, portraits with the works of “Chimera” at Cassina Projects, 2023, photos by Letizia Mugri, courtesy of the artist

Edoardo Durante: Observing your daily practice it is evident that there is no real split between the concept of art and that of life; your works are mainly of a social and collective nature, it remains important also the intimist trend, a movement that springs from within, that opens to the outside world. Tell us about your process, which often comes from painful sources of suffering…
There is no boundary between Art and Life but, at the same time, there is a clear line of separation between my intimate works and those that we could define “social”. A fundamental aspect of my practice is precisely the creation of works in which performance is a substantial moment, while never representing the real climax. I usually describe my process through the image of the pearl and oyster. The work is born breaking the balance of the shell and, settling, from a grain of sand becomes a pearl. It has its own aesthetic, its own body and its own weight in the world. So the work speaks to me. It tells me that it wants to be born and I realize it. I give it voice. All my work comes from in-depth study and writing: before I get to the moment of sharing through performance, I create numerous works that tell, as chapters of a book, this new way of working; following the action, that for me is a real moment of life to be lived simultaneously to the public, I create works of synthesis. Not everything I conceive of for performance becomes an opera. Like my body, also the elements built like clothes, cages, projections and sound files, are tools of my work. This is how the works that I call “collective” are born: they support a common and shared process. I could never have put myself on the same level as the public had I not laid bare, and so the intimate works were born: the librosogni, a collection without filters and censors of dreams and nightmares of an entire year, and the Oggetti da sogno, ceramic works that arise from personal dreamlike visions. The Terzo oggetto da sogno, for example, an emerald-colored uterus that for the external eye can be able to represent the beauty of life, while it was born from nightmares of abuses and from the suffering of being a child or not being able to procreate. These are the specifications related to my recently concluded cycle, that is the one dedicated to the dream.

Reverie, portraits with the works of “Chimera” at Cassina Projects, 2023, photos by Letizia Mugri, courtesy of the artist

What relationship do you think exists between your body, the undisputed protagonist of your performances, and the works that you often make during the latter?
I see my body as a kind of megaphone. As mentioned above, I consider myself as a tool used to convey and amplify a message, investigate an aspect of the present and dissect it in a participatory manner. The new cycle of works entitled Ritualità quotidiana is presented to the public for the first time in the exhibition spaces of Cassina Projects with the exhibition “Chimera”: here will be held a performance, Primo rito quotidiano, conceived eight years ago. Unlike other performances I’ve done before, this work has a relatively short duration of about an hour and a half. The voice is not part of the performative process but my body is like a cry that breaks the silence: naked and completely white, with hair stretched to the rafters of the ceiling, like a spider – maximum figure of the mother – to get rid I will have to cut my own hair. Although it may seem an action of annulment of femininity, in reality it becomes a symbol of collective rebirth, a real exorcised rite through a single body. The next day, eight silver reliquaries will hold as many strands of my hair.

Reverie, portraits with the works of “Chimera” at Cassina Projects, 2023, photos by Letizia Mugri, courtesy of the artist

On the occasion of the exhibition “Chimera” in the exhibition spaces of Cassina Projects, and the performance Primo rito quotidiano, you will present a new cycle of works created through a metamorphic fusion of elements in close dialogue with each other. How do technological and anatomical components find a point of contact?
Who is Chimera? A self-made creature. It is said that rites no longer exist in the present. It is absolutely not true. Even in this time we live in a ceremonial space in which objective signs circulate. What is the truth of today’s human body that in this exhibition I define as “Chimera”? Each work bears the title of the organ or apparatus it represents: it is an identification by similarity or by contrast and absence, like phantom organs. One could define a metamorphosis by addition, according to which every living person needs the construction of his own form, which cannot be considered spontaneous, paraphrasing the words of Emanuele Coccia. The nervous system thus becomes an electric cable bent like a loop and immersed in a copper bath, the reproducing apparatus is represented by a vintage fifties wheelchair containing a living starfish, the legs are a resin tail and snakeskin hooked to an exhausted engine, the foot is a bronze cast topped by the carapace of a Caretta Caretta. So the absurdity is created that, in today’s hyperactivity, we experience a new static, we run without moving. Abuse, in my work, becomes a celebration of excess in all its forms, to counteract an immobility given by the loss of contact with what, in the digital order, is real. The alienation of the self passes from the inability to create or recognize a relationship with the outside, whether this is a part of the body or an object. Without investment in Otherness, the world loses its body, appearing as unreal. So, like the world, the individual also finds himself disembodied, derealized. This is the alienation I talk about in my work. If the status quo seems to admit vulnerability less and less, it is elevated to a central element in my practice. It becomes wounded, the border between feeling and insensitivity. In this way, I believe, admitting oneself fragile before the Other can be the way to create relationships in a hyper-connected world.

Reverie, portraits with the works of “Chimera” at Cassina Projects, 2023, photos by Letizia Mugri, courtesy of the artist

Screens and reflections leave little room for an authentic reflection, which can go in search of a depth against the desire for appearance. Chimera is a monstrum/monster, in the sense that warns, shows, reflects the drifts of the contemporary world. If the work Occhio looks like a cocoon illuminated, where from my phone is played in loop a video that collects photos of my daily life in the last year; in Apparato lacrimale, instead, I try to combine in sculptural form sack and tear duct, which are fixed and, consequently, unable to carry out their function. Voce dello sciame shows the animal of the near future, a drone tied to a yoke, while Ombra in its linearity reflects how we humans today see ourselves in the world: a two-dimensional human body formed by flora, fauna and digital. I searched for the quintessence of the body of today, joining parts or representing symbols, thus arriving at an actual chimera: I transformed a placenta into bronze, I drew current critical themes such as cartoons on the hooves of deceased horses, I joined a drone to an ancient yoke, I inserted electricity into immobility; in the contemporary world that I tell in a critical way there is no split, and this is a seemingly positive aspect that can become monstrous. But the “Chimera” is not a monster, it is not a utopia, and only reality. It is only life.

Edoardo Durante


Reverie, Chimera
21/04/2023 – 1/06/2023
Cassina Projects
Via Mecenate, 76/45, Milan


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