Peta izložba u Rimu, Millepiani 2019. Italija / Fifth Exhibition in Rome, Millepiani 2019. Italy

6.november 2019. Millepiani Gallery , Via Nicolò Odero 13, Roma

Dobrodosli / Welcome

By using fictional items such as mannequins and puppets within an artwork, the artist intends to activate a subtle dialogue between what is real and what is not. It is no coincidence that art has constantly been interested in this ‘third factor’ which stands beside the artist and his/her masterpiece. One of the art movements able to find fertile ground in the use of puppets was, between the Fifties and the Sixties, Pop Art. When passing through Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York, for example, it is impossible not to notice George Segal’s installation, entitled “The Commuters” (1982) and composed of a mannequin trio caught running towards an undefined destination. Exactly like all the other commuters crossing the crowded bus station, day after day.

Over the years, the borders between reality and fiction have become even blurrier by virtue of artists who opened the door to – needless to say – hyperrealism. While still others incorporate puppets and fictional characters as part of their installations/ projections, like Tony Oursler, or within their performances and photos, such as Cindy Sherman.

And it’s exactly this overlap between genres, halfway from performance and freeze frame, that connects the abovementioned works with the exhibition “Mannequins and Puppets”, arranged at Spazio Millepiani in Rome and open to the public from the 6th November to the 5th December 2019.

The images here exhibited, performed by national as well as international artists, are able to guide visitors along a modern and multidisciplinary itinerary. Without a clear preference for colour or black&white photography, they are capable of breaking in parallel dimensions, so remote and yet so close to our daily routine. Looking at them, we wonder if those figures are authentic versions of ourselves or not. Are they humans faking mannequins or fictional characters simulating a kind-of-reality?

Sometimes the artists frame silent and enigmatic domestic interiors, animated by dramatic contrasts and focused on body details – a head, a hand, a look. Like if we were sucked in a De Chirico’s still life – a revised version, of course. The scenes shot on location show instead other peculiarities, like landscapes dotted with still and remote figures we cannot recognise. While mountains of body re-montages are there just to remind us what sensuality (and its contrary) means.

Ultimately, the exhibition is a journey drifting us into the complex dynamics of a game: at first, we only see its pleasant and ironic side, until something deeper, more serious and melancholic emerges, dragging us with it, indefinitely.

Silvia Colombo

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