With the exhibition “Che cosa sono le nuvole? Museion opens up to one of the most significant private collections of contemporary art, presented for the first time in Italy. The exhibition, which takes its title from a 1967 short film by Pier Paolo Pasolini, aims to elicit reflections on the encounter between two dimensions: the public and institutional sphere, and the more intimate sphere of a private collection.
This is undoubtedly sparked by the numerous convergences of vision between the museum and the private collection, represented by the artists present in both collections or previously exhibited at the museum. The various sections of the exhibition provide an opportunity to explore some of its distinctive themes, though it has to be said that the collection’s appeal lies in its unpredictability, and the impossibility of compartmentalising it. The body, for example, is a forceful presence in the works of Berlinde De Bruyckere and Joan Jonas, while the works of Ana Mendieta, Zoe Leonard, and Jana Sterbak, express its destruction in the transience of life. Then there is a strong emotional tension, for example, between the overt socially and politically committed message of the sculpture by the South African artist Kendell Geers, which is taken up by the plastic installation by Deimantas Narkevičius and the collages by Martha Rosler juxtaposed with Alighiero Boetti’s war pictures.
The many heterogeneous works of the latter, not only offer insight into the collection’s historic foundations, but also reveal its predilection for complex artistic situations that unite material sensuality and conceptual subtleties. The works of Gordon Matta-Clark and Dan Graham offer reflections on our use of architecture that date back to the seventies, and are also developed in an original manner in the large installation by the English artist Mike Nelson. The viewer must decide whether to interpret the slatted structure created by the artist as a threshold or an obstacle. There are also overtly “museum” type installations in the collection, such as the 2005 work 24 Hour Flower August 5/6, 2004 (Cirsium Acaule) by Henrik Håkansson, and 145 x 180 x 150 123 x 150 x 42 29 x 28 x 29 + two lights of 2003 by Miroslav Balka, austere, minimalist pieces that fill the exhibition venue with emotions and narrations. The presence of Nedko Solakov (Cherven Briag, Bulgaria, 1957) in the exhibition opens up another facet of the collection: humour.
Curated by Éric Mézil and Letizia Ragaglia Curatorial assistant Frida Carazzato