The exhibition project ‘The Perfect Storm‘ by Nanni Balestrini develops the theme of the economic and social crisis in a contemporary play of visual and poetic references that mix ‘The Tempest’ of Giorgione with that of Shakespeare. A series of works of great visual impact and strong social and political content are presented in a refined display developed especially for the exhibition in Venice.
Of the numerous possible interpretations of the ‘Tempest’ by Giorgione, Balestrini favors the interpretation that understands the painting as a representation of the expulsion from paradise, the consequence of original sin. This theme appears quite unusual for Balestrini and it certainly is if one considers it as an exercise in biblical exegesis. Yet it is evidently not in this direction that one should investigate. Paradise lost is not a theme exclusive to believers. On the contrary, it is a universal condition shared by the human race.
The psychoanalysts have tried to explain this to us in various ways. It is a condition that heightens in moments of crisis and that can be strictly personal, intimate, social or collective. Hence the choice of Balestrini to use the Tempest of Giorgione in this cycle of works is tied to the idea of loss.
In fact, on closer inspection, at the route of the enigmatic nature of the work of Giorgione one notes a kind of loss. This is presented without clear references for understanding it, generating a lack of complete sense, a loss of a clear and unambiguous interpretation. A loss of understanding, which enhances its charm.
This radical loss signals the dissolution of the world. It is not by chance that this work was completed at the beginning of the XVI century in a Venetian setting. The Tempest, and perhaps here lies its secular charm, announces the unsettlement of the economic and administrative organization of the Republic of Venice which, for the first time, had to reconsider its countryside and its landscape. The Tempest is thus a testimony to this period of crisis. Constructed by breaking up details from the painting of Giorgione, and recomposing them in a casual way with excerpts from Shakespeare, ‘The Perfect Storm’ highlights one of the concerns that runs through reality, the dissolution of the world as we usually understand it. The incapability of contemporary man to give a complete sense to the ‘dark impulses’ that populate this moment of crisis, and that present themselves as broken phrases, scraps of disorganized words, that here in the deliberately Baroque setting tentatively attempt to give a plastic interpretation and representation.
The social and political commitment of Balestrini in this project develops an accurate and refined reasoning behind the paradigm shift that the current crisis of the western capitalist world appears to be now reaching.
The ‘Perfect Storm’ project is the fruit of a meeting between Nanni Balestrini and Luigi Bonotto. His invitation to create works that intertwine fabrics, products from his company and some enlarged photographs of Renaissance works of art, created by the Bozzetto Studio, have allowed for the realization of the entire cycle.
In collaboration with Collezione Luigi Bonotto with a video critical review by Achille Bonito Oliva.