november 02, 2017 - Fondazione Merz  

Carlos Garaicoa: El Palacio de las Tres Historias at Fondazione Merz, Turin

Fondazione Merz presents the first solo exhibition in Turin of acclaimed Cuban artist #carlosgaraicoa. El Palacio de las Tres Historias, curated by Claudia Gioia, consists of a series of large-scale site-specific installations, photographic works and videos specially commissioned for the exhibition. El Palacio de las Tres Historias continues Garaicoa’s ongoing exploration of the themes and architecture of the city as an ideal space and symbol of failed realities. For the first time, this project draws its inspiration from the city of Turin. 
“Carlos Garaicoa looks at cities, architecture and underlying dreams, those cast aside and those that can still be realised. Just as Havana constituted a starting point for investigating the meaning and possibilities of our society, so Turin becomes a metaphor of contemporaneity through the words, images and history of an industrial utopia, transforming itself and becoming something that still needs to be understood.” Claudia Gioia 
Garaicoa is drawn to Turin, to the economic, social and political transformations that began with the industrial crisis and their impact on the urban landscape. The artist focuses on different aspects that characterise the city: the industrial, the rationalist, and the re-using of abandoned buildings that become a new possibility for a re-imagined society. 
The exhibition begins with a series of rotating prismatic panels, resembling 1950’s billboards that tower over the city. Here the artist creates an interplay between history and future, reality and invention by inserting images of Turin – photographs taken from urban and social design, which alternate with words and excerpts of sentences in syncopated sequences - a nod to cinema and the speed of advertising. 
The largest installation, entitled El Palacio de las Tres Historias is a double height steel structure that echoes the physical form of the Foundation, transforming the interior architecture and suggesting new pathways and perspectives, where inside and outside merge. A building within a building, the deconstructed Palacio recalls the utopian visions of the twentieth century, and the architecture that has preserved its history. Garaicoa's visionary reworking uses traces and places to build a new space for criticism and enchantment, whilst assuming unexplored possibilities. 
The exhibition continues with a series of installations including Campus or the Babel of Knowledge, an architectural machette of an imagined university campus in a mythical place. Here the artist builds an alternative future, whilst addressing failed utopian schemes. 
The show closes with a new animated video work, Abismo (2017) based on the musical score, Quatuor pour la fin du temps by 20th Century French composer Olivier Messiaen, composed in a concentration camp in 1941. The video sees two isolated and seemingly anonymous hands conducting a symphony. Garaicoa has taken the hand gestures alluding to Fascist dictatorship and removed them from their original context, thus creating new historical narrative. 
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue in Italian and English with texts by Claudia Gioia and renowned Cuban writer, Leonardo Padura. 
Notes to Editors
#carlosgaraicoa was born in Havana in 1967. He lives and works in Madrid and Havana.
He has participated in international art events including: the Havana Biennale; the Shanghai Biennale, the Biennale of São Paulo, the Venice Biennale, the Moscow Biennale, the Yokohama Triennial and the Echigo- Tsumari Triennale in Japan; the Johannesburg Biennale; the Liverpool Biennale, Documenta 11 and 14, Kassel; the Auckland Triennale; Photoespaña 12, Madrid and Trienal Poli / Gráfica de San Juan. Garaicoa’s works have also been presented in important institutions such as: the MAAT, Lisbon (2017); the Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao (2017), the Villa Stuck, Munich (2016), Fundación Botín, Santader (2014), Guggenheim Museum New York and Bilbao (2011), the Institute of #contemporaryart, Boston (2002), the #museo de #arte Reina Sofia Madrid (2000), Castello di Rivoli #museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli (2000), the Kunsthalle in Vienna (1999), and the Centro Wilfredo Lam de Cuba, Havana (1995). 
Named after Mario Merz, #fondazionemerz (founded in 2005) is a non-profit centre for #contemporaryart The Fondazione alternates shows dedicated to Mario and Marisa Merz, with other major site-specific projects by national and international emerging and established artists, who are invited to interact with the space of the Fondazione and its collections. The Fondazione also organises The Mario Merz Prize, a biennial prize that aims to recognize talents in the fields of #contemporaryart and music composition. The project creates a new network of exhibitions and music initiatives connecting Italy and Switzerland. The Fondazione is led by Mario Merz’s daughter Beatrice Merz. It’s committee incudes Vicente Todolí (artistic advisor at Hangar Bicocca, Milano), Frances Morris (Director, Tate Modern, London), Mariano Boggia and Richard Flood (Director of Special Projects & Curator-at-Large of the New Museum of #contemporaryart, New York). 
#carlosgaraicoa: El Palacio de las Tres Historias
#fondazionemerz, Turin 
30 October 2017 – 4 February 2018 
courtesy Fondazione Merz
photo Andrea Guermani

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