Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo hosts “Passo Dopo Passo [Step by Step]”, the exhibition is not presented chronologically, but it reflects the studies of the three curators which were part of the 10th edition of the Foundation’s residency for curators.
The show seeks to examine diverse — both historical and contemporary — artworks and artistic practices that reflect on the status of movement, openness and enclosure, fear and expectations.
The exhibition is linked to an Italian perspective — that of a country with an intrinsic relationship to questions of migration. From a historical point of view, the Mediterranean peninsula has been shaped by violent invasions, followed by waves of emigration and immigration, leading to a complex dynamics of different identities and diverging ideologies.
Drawing on historical precedents, the exhibition presents several books by Fortunato Depero (b.1892), an artist and designer associated with the Futurist movement. These personal notebooks, manuscripts, and published books reveal the artist’s optimism associated with modernism and his personal transatlantic ambitions, and the potential of new social order despite crippling violence. Idealistic, and at times childlike, these lofty visions of Depero find a harsh and sobering reality, tracing an individual’s aspirations and eventual disillusionment within the systemic socio-political ruptures of the thirties and forties.
Shifting ahead to the sixties, seventies, and eighties, works by Carla Accardi, Luigi Ontani, and Salvo represent a later generation of Italian artists. Their practices each reveal diverging conceptions of and reactions to reality, but share a common aesthetic vibrancy, and even playfulness. In their work, we see the conceptualization of alternate realities and social spaces. For instance, Salvo’s collection of drawings on stationary paper from different hotels resonates with his research on the Mediterranean landscape as both a place of idealization and refuge, while simultaneously recording the artist’s own movement.
Stepping forward into contemporary practices, the work of Vanessa Alessi, Elisa Caldana, Collettivo Fernweh, Nicoló Degiorgis, Cady Noland, and Turi Rapisarda illustrates a continuation of these themes and furthers the engagement with space and place, movement and locality. In relation to issues of migration, the vision of horizon plays a central role. The view of the ocean or the mountains in paintings, photographs, and videos, are visual symbols with rich cultural connotations, revealing the hopes, projected by the individual and society, as well as the limits. Our perspective is denied by what we cannot see — expectations are subverted or never realized. Such a sense of beyond, often representing a desired future, is fraught with illusion and uncertainty. Although not immediately visible in the works, the depiction of the landscape shifts from idealized to clinical and generic portrayals.