THE EXPANDED BODYcurated by Angelica Gatto and Simone Zacchini
Saturday, January 29, 2022 – from 11 am to 7 pm
Little has been written and debated about the loss of centrality of the body since the noughties. That the body was central was well understood – for example – by the performers and body artists who in the Seventies made that presence a virtuous exercise, able to push the body itself to cross its limits – arriving at impersistence, to what is definable as “the void”. Previously, artists such as Carol Rama (Turin, 1918-2015) had already made the exploration of the limits of the body a constant of their research. Through a multifaceted vocation that escapes from the pictorial into installation, the dismemberment of the body in the works of Carol Rama borders on the tangible search for the metamorphic value that the body assumes when it is forced to exceed its conceptual limits, becoming something else, taking root in viscerality.
Culturally, the roots of this centrality, without going back to ancient Greece, could be traced back to the Middle Ages, when corporeal functions and the presence of the body in space are given a leading role in the knowledge of the world and of the self. Here then the shift of axis, this loss of center, has lead in recent years to a polarity “expanded body” / “empty body” that we are able to trace in a new generation of artists who are pushing the medium – whether it is sculpture or video, drawing or installation, embroidery or photography – towards a broader reasoning on the link between body (absent and / or present) and language, in the attempt to test the world with the tools that are already in our possession, and not otherwise. The exhibition is articulated on the conceptual terrain opened by the notion that gives it its title. All the researches of the seven young artists selected can be traceable to the concept of “expanded body”, although inflected in different aesthetic practices and techniques. In addition to this research on the body linked to the current theme of the expanded, the artists on display are also united by a complexity that does not seem to chase the immediacy of the Instagram virality of certain contemporary art. There is more of a density in the works in which the stratification of signifiers leads to a multiplicity of possible interpretations, and in which the expansion of the body often eclipses its opposite, ending in its disappearance or annulment. Each work bears witness, therefore, to this ground of fluid passage that from the “expanded body” reaches the “empty body”, and vice versa.