Goldschmied & Chiari: Where shall we go dancing tonight?

Words by Elena Scarpa
October 26, 2015

On Monday the 26th of October 2015 Museion’s director reported that the 300 empty champagne bottles, confetti, and cigarette butts, that made the installation were accidentally thrown away by the museum’s janitors who mistook them for garbage left over after the opening party. The director also stated that the installation will be reset – up in the next days.

Museion partecipates in the national exhibition project L’albero della cuccagna, nutrimenti per l’arte, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva and under the patronage of EXPO. For the occasion, artists Goldschmied & Chiari have created a work on the 1980s in Italy, a period characterized by consumerism, hedonism, by socialist politicians and their neverending parties.

At the end of any self-respecting party there’s always a bit of a mess. And if the party is a widespread state of mind that lasts a decade and becomes a whole chapter in Italian history, what’s left once it’s all over is a sorry sight indeed.

For their installation in Bolzano, Goldschmied & Chiari focused on Italy’s era of abundance, the 1980s. The result is a site-specific work staging the scene after the end of a party: the perfect metaphor for the decade. As they explain: “We were children in the 1980s, which were a period of consumerism, hedonism, financial speculation, mass media, socialist politics and parties. When doing research for the piece we came across a guide to Italy’s nightclubs written in 1988 by Gianni De Michelis, a politician and Foreign Minister at the time, entitled Dove andiamo a ballare questa sera? (Where shall we go dancing tonight?), with a preface by the television presenter Gerry Scotti. This was the inspiration behind the title. The installation in the Museion studio house presents the scene at the end of a party. The work, which is only visible when the museum is closed, from dusk till dawn, shows the aftermath of the party, the leftovers of the feast: the metaphorical tree of abundance in ruins.”

The new piece picks up from where another of the duo’s works, part of the Museion collection, left off, namely “Genealogia di Damnatio Memoriae”, 2009. This work is a living magnolia tree planted in the museum’s grounds (on the Talvera side). The bark is carved with the dates and places of violent events that marked Italian history between 1969 and 1980: the period of the so-called Strategy of Tension, with the terrorist bombings in Piazza Fontana in Milan and Bologna Station. The genealogy carved into the bark ends in 1980, the very start of Italy’s decade of plenty, now distilled into a caustic new vision by the two artists.

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