april 07, 2017 - Museo diocesano Milano



Curated by Gabi Scardi

This exhibition, the first in a far-reaching project to bring #contemporaryart into the Sant’Eustorgio complex, presents a major selection of works that include photos, videos, sculptures, and mosaics from different periods in the artist’s career.

From March 28 to June 25, 2017, the “Chiostri di Sant’Eustorgio” museum complex in Milan will be housing a solo exhibition by #adrianpaci, titled The Guardians. 

This show, curated by Gabi Scardi—the first in a far-reaching project to bring #contemporaryart into the Sant'Eustorgio complex—will be housed in fascinating spaces of extraordinary historical importance, such as the basilica’s Early Christian cemetery and Portinari Chapel, and the Diocesan Museum’s Sala dell’Arciconfraternita.  

The exhibition, which presents an important selection of works that include photos, videos, sculptures, and mosaics, allows visitors to analyze various periods in Paci’s career. It starts off with a number of works in which the artist employs photography, like the diptych The Line, a queue of people waiting for a plane that is nowhere in sight, or The Encounter, where on the parvis of an ancient church, we see the simple, ordinary act of a handshake multiplied until it becomes a timeless, symbolic ritual. Further on, we find the recent video My Song in Your Kitchen, in which everyday activities like cooking or singing are richly infused with stories and memories, turning an impersonal setting—the kitchen of a refugee shelter—into a place of warmth and interaction. The works on view also include the sculpture Home to Go, where Paci portrays himself as a sort of wayfarer stripped of everything, bearing the roof of a house on his shoulders. 
The Portinari Chapel houses Klodi, the video portrait of an uprooted man forced to wander for years in a dramatic, absurd peregrination whose outcome is unknown, and Brothers, a mosaic based on a fragment of archival footage. The fleeting image that is reconstructed using this old-fashioned technique takes on a solemn, enigmatic intensity that fits perfectly into the setting of the chapel, forging a dialogue with Vincenzo Foppa’s fresco cycle. 
The Early Christian cemetery, on the other hand, houses two works in which Paci looks back over the history of his country, evoking the tragedy of the dictatorship which sealed Albania off from the outside world and stifled it from within by denying it any form of liberty, including the freedom of speech and religion. Malgrado Tutto is a series of photographs of the graffiti that still covers the cells of an ancient Franciscan monastery, once used as a prison by the regime and now partially converted into a museum: fragile yet enduring traces of suffering borne in silence, but also of an inalienable need for expression. 
The Guardians, on the other hand, tells the story of a Catholic cemetery that was abandoned during the dictatorship and later refurbished, filled with a swarm of children who were paid to keep it tidy. Their vitality gives the work enormous lyricism, and mirrors the country’s paradoxical but unstoppable rebirth, and the countless possible facets of our relationship with life and death.
The exhibition continues in the Carlo Maria Martini Diocescan Museum with Rasha, a video that grew out of Adrian Paci’s encounter with a Palestinian woman who had recently arrived in Rome from Syria via a humanitarian corridor. Rasha is filmed in close-up as she talks about what she has gone through; her story is expressed more by her face than by her words. Rasha is a work about the complexity of storytelling; about how an experience becomes a story and becomes language, not just through speech, but through the body.

As Gabi Scardi puts it, “To #adrianpaci, art is a search for meaning guided by inner needs, and an active way of thinking about the contemporary world. Paci’s work combines the observation of social dynamics in our time, an awareness of the symbolic depth of actions, and an interest in the interpretive potential of images that springs from a deep familiarity with art history.”
“Key motifs in his oeuvre include travel, passage, and waiting—which is above all a state of expectation,” she continues. “And ties to one’s place and time of origin, which aren’t dimensions to which anyone can return, but rather deep touchstones that individuals must carry with them and treasure. Life as a migrant implies a sense of loss, but is also an incitement to imagine new ways of living, new possible relationships with our surroundings, and new languages of expression; Paci sees it as the most natural state of both man and artist.”

Special thanks to the Kaufmann Repetto gallery.
#adrianpaci - Bio 
#adrianpaci (b. 1969 in Shkodër, Albania) studied painting at the art academy in Tirana. In 1997 he moved to Milan, where he lives and works. Over the course of his career, he has had many solo exhibitions at major Italian and international museums, including MAXXI - #museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome (2015), MAC - Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal (2014), PAC - Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan (2014),  Jeu de Paume, Paris (2013), Kunsthaus Zurich (2010), Bloomberg Space, London (2010), CCA - The Center for #contemporaryart, Tel Aviv (2009), MoMA PS1, New York (2006), Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2005).
#adrianpaci has also participated in the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (2014), in the 48th and 51st International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (1999 and 2005), in the 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006), and in the Biennale de Lyon (2009). 

#adrianpaci: The Guardians
Milan, “Chiostri di Sant’Eustorgio” museum complex (entrance at no. 3, Piazza Sant’Eustorgio)
March 28 – June 25, 2017

Opening hours: every day from 10 am to 6 pm (ticket office closes at 5:30 pm)
Admission (Exhibition + Diocescan Museum + Museum of Sant’Eustorgio and Portinari Chapel):
Full price: € 6.00; reduced price for individuals: € 4.00; reduced price for groups of adults (including parish groups, 15-person minimum): € 4.00; reduced price for school groups and children’s parish groups: € 3.00.
For Art Week, free admission on Sunday, April 2, from 1:30 pm to 6:00 pm.

For more information: +39 02.89420019; info.biglietteria@museodiocesano.it