Maria Iorio & Raphaël Cuomo, winners of the tenth Furla Art Award, are presenting the first incarnation of their long-term research project Logica del passaggio at Fondazione Querini Stampalia during La Biennale di Venezia – 56th International Art Exhibition.
Curated by Simone Frangi, this show by Maria Iorio & Raphaël Cuomo takes stock of the first stage of work on the project that won them the 2015 Premio Furla last November.
Conceived and curated by Chiara Bertola, the Premio Furla is a biennial award for excellence in contemporary art that focuses on emerging Italian talent. Founded with the aim of supporting Italy’s finest artistic endeavours – by monitoring and selecting artists, and helping them grow while producing new work – the prize has established itself over its fifteen-year history as an international showcase for emerging creativity.
This tenth edition of the Premio Furla has been organized by Fondazione Furla in partnership with the Cultural Office of the City of Milan and Palazzo Reale, which hosted the launch of the award and the exhibition “Growing Roots” – and in collaboration with Fondazione Querini Stampalia, miart and Viafarini, and has obtained the official sponsorship of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities.
In Logica del passaggio, Maria Iorio & Raphaël Cuomo analyse the general context of Italian “economic” migration northward toward other parts of Europe from the late Fifties to the mid-Sixties, sticking scrupulously to the facts and yet trying to reconfigure them through storytelling and imagery: how people crossed the border, their working conditions, exploitation, the limits placed on their rights and movement in order to obtain a work permit, all the way to the efficient biopolitical device of health inspections that marked the “passage” of migrants from Italy to Switzerland.
The work presented at Fondazione Querini Stampalia specifically focuses on migration to Switzerland in the Sixties, which was characterized by immigrant workers being restricted to the sphere of production, by discrimination and xenophobia, and by the use of “health risks” as a strategy to control emigration and the legality of border crossings. The latter is a normative process eloquently embodied in Iorio & Cuomo’s project by the modernist building in Brig used as an immigrant health inspection centre until the mid-Nineties. Through a film and a spatial system, Maria Iorio & Raphaël Cuomo reread and retranscribe this chapter of history without ever slipping into mere documentary, working instead to reveal the replicable structure and logic behind it.