Performance: Private body and social body
A fundamental phase in Fortunato Depero’s artistic quest involves the body and how it is expressed: anticipating the concept of performance art by several decades, the futurist artists staged pseudo-theatrical exhibitions involving improvisation and audience engagement.
The body as an instrument of political action is, on the other hand, a leitmotif that recurs in many works from the Sixties and Seventies, well documented in the materials found in the Archive of the 20th Century. The initial group of works in the exhibition represents collective actions, such as the political theatre of Living Theatre or Enrico Baj, while others, although performed publicly, are associated with individual gestures, for example, the public poems of Sarenco or Arias-Misson.
The works of Hermann Nitsch and Arnulf Rainer, associated with the radical performances of the Wiener Aktionismus, give us a wounded, offended body, while the works of Cindy Sherman and Andres Serrano introduce the idea of an artificial body, a disguise that transforms and redefines identity.
Lastly, the body as something to be investigated is expressed in the intermixing of performance and writing, as clearly expressed in the works of Ketty La Rocca.
The exhibition also presents three videos: Cut piece (1964) by Yoko Ono, marking the start of a very important exploration of female identity; Applications (1970) by Vito Acconci; and an unpublished work by Sarenco, Mein Gott Nein Gott (1970), performed in Bienne, Switzerland during the Festival de l’imagination.
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