september 17, 2015 - comune modena

'THE MANNEQUIN OF HISTORY. Art after the fabrications of critique and culture' at the new space Mata in Modena

Modena is now home to Mata, the new space dedicated to culture that #modena City Council has renovated inside the ex-Manifattura Tabacchi (the former tobacco processing plant), an architectural complex situated in a historical area of the city, now restored as a public space.

The first #event to be staged at the Mata is the exhibition “The Mannequin of History: Art after the Fabrications of Critique and Culture”, from September 18, 2015 until January 31, 2016. The opening is set for Friday September 18, 2015 at 11am. The exhibition, curated by Richard Milazzo, produced by #modena City Council with the support of the Emilia-Romagna Regional Council, in collaboration with Apt Servizi Regione Emilia-Romagna, and with the sponsorship of Confindustria #modena, presents 88 masterpieces, including paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations, almost entirely from private collections from throughout the local territory, with works produced since the 1980s by 48 protagonists of the international arts scene of recent decades. The #event is just one of the initiatives of the festivalfilosofia, which this year focuses on the theme of “inheritance”.

The exhibition itinerary includes paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations with works by 48 protagonists of the international arts scene of recent decades: William Anastasi, Donald Baechler, #jeanmichelbasquiat, Carlo Benvenuto, Ross Bleckner, Alighiero Boetti, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Sandro Chia, Franceso Clemente, Gregory Crewdson, Enzo Cucchi, Gino De Dominicis, Nicola De Maria, Urs Fischer, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzáles-Torres, Andreas Gursky, Peter Halley, Jenny Holzer, Mark Innerst, Alex Katz, Anselm Kiefer, Louise Lawler, Annette Lemieux, Robert Longo, Allan McCollum, Malcolm Morley, Vik Muniz, #takashimurakami, Shirin Neshat, Luigi Ontani, #mimmopaladino, Richard Prince, Thomas Ruff, David Salle, Salvo, Mario Schifano, Julian Schnabel, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Haim Steinbach, Philip Taaffe, Wolfgang Tillmans, Franco Vaccari, Meg Webster and Chen Zhen.
These works are accompanied by two sculptures by Enzo Cucchi and #mimmopaladino, to be positioned outside the Mata.

The initiative is part of the program of the festivalfilosofia, which this year revolves around the theme of ‘inheritance’. During the days of the festivalfilosofia (September 18-20), entrance will be free of charge, with continuous daytime opening hours (Friday18, 9am-11pm, Saturday 19, 9am-1am, Sunday 20, 9am-9pm); furthermore, starting from October 3, the public may take advantage of free guided tours during weekends, offered by Mediagroup98, and from October 7, of a rich calendar of educational activities.

The exhibition, as well as testifying to the by no means provincial nature of local collecting, also raises issues questioning the very nature of art through works representative of various contemporary styles and movements: Conceptualism, Appropriation Art, Neo-Pop, Superkitsch, #arte Povera, Transavanguardia, Neo-Expressionism, various forms of Realism, YBA (Young British Artists), Düsseldorf School, Figuration, Abstractism and Hyperrealism.

“Art has been turned into a show,” claims Richard Milazzo, curator of the exhibition, “not only by auction houses, art fairs, private galleries, museums and collectors, but also by critics, curators, the media, as well as by artists themselves. Therefore art, as a show, has been turned into a mannequin.”

The title is based on a work by Francisco Goya, El Pelele (1791-92) in which a straw puppet is thrown into the air by four girls holding the corners of a blanket. The scene takes place in the rural context of a village fete. “If we read this image in allegorical terms,” Milazzo continues, “the figure of the mannequin/art is hurled around by all the subjects involved in the fete, be it in such games or in the sideshows of critique and culture.”
The metaphor encourages the visitor to reflect on the state of art, in the wake of its having survived the demands and requests which over the course of history have been made of it by the system, market included. Hence, against the background of an imaginary stage of apparition, art, (in line with a metaphor which provocatively nears it to fashion), art could be shown here as a mannequin looking through its most recent outfits or scene changes, garments donned to accommodate for the latest fashion.

The project is also part of the program of events put together in the city for Expo 2015.

“We asked the city to bring together strengths and abilities,” stated the vice-mayor and Culture Councilor of #modena City Council, Gianpietro Cavazza, “and it was as part of this process that a number of collectors put forward an exhibition proposal to the Council which would allow visitors to admire artworks of extraordinary value, and ones that would otherwise be rarely visible to the general public.”

The #event will be accompanied by a catalog, (published by Franco Cosimo Panini Editore, Modena), in English and Italian, which apart from the curator’s own critical text, features around 300 images both in color and black & white, the biographies of the artists on display and the full list of the works in the show. The catalog, which has a cover price of € 59, will be on sale at the exhibition for € 55.


venue Mata, via della Manifattura dei Tabacchi 83, Modena

curated by Richard Milazzo

when September 18, 2015-January 31 2016

production #modena City Council

organization Galleria civica di Modena

with the support of Emilia-Romagna Regional Council

in collaboration with Apt Servizi Regione Emilia-Romagna

also sponsored by Confindustria Modena

opening Friday September 18, 2015, 11.00am

press preview Wednesday September 16, 2015, 10.30am

catalog Published by Franco Cosimo Panini Editore, #modena (Italy), English/Italian, containing the critical text by the exhibition curator Richard Milazzo, the iconographical reproduction of the works on show in color and black & white, and the complete list of the works on show.

Entrance € 5 for adults
free for children under 12, disabled citizens and their accompaniers, groups and schools with accompaniers, accredited press

free entrance on September 18, 19 and 20, during the festivalfilosofia; Saturday October 10, 2015, (Giornata del Contemporaneo), and Sunday January 31, 2016, local holiday for the Patron Saint of #modena, St. Geminianus.

opening times from September 22, 2015 to January 31, 2016
Closed on Mondays
Tuesdays 3pm-6pm
From Wednesdays to Fridays 10.30am-1pm / 3pm-6pm
Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 10.30am-7pm
December 25, 2015 and January 1, 2016, 3pm-7pm

opening times during festivalfilosofia
Friday 18, 9am-11pm; Saturday 19, 9am-1am; Sunday 20, 9am-9pm