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MUST Lecce, Italy

Ai Bordi dell’Identità – Videos from the Han Nefkens Foundation Collection


20 June  – 8 Sept 2019

MUST, Museo Storico della Città di Lecce, Italy

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian / Gabriel Mascaro / Zwelethu Mthethwa / Deimantas Narkevičius / Arash Nassiri / Shirin Neshat / Erkan Özgen / Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook / Bárbara Sánchez Barroso / Maya Watanabe / Adrián Balseca / Javier Castro / Jonathas de Andrade / Luis Gómez Armenteros / Beatriz Santiago Muñoz

A project conceived and curated by Giacomo Zaza


© Shirin Neshat, Tooba, 2002

Curated by Giacomo Zaza, and on show at the MUST in Lecce from 20th June to 8th September 2019 and at the MAC in Lissone (MB) from 29th September to 24th November 2019, At the Fringes of Identity is an exhibition of video art focusing on questions of cultural, social and gender-related identity.

Ai Bordi dell’Identità, Videos from the Han Nefkens Foundation Collection is an exhibition of video art curated by Giacomo Zaza. There will be two opportunities to see the exhibition in Italy: from 20th June to 8th September 2019 at MUST (Museo Storicodella Città di Lecce), opening on 20th June at 7.30pm, and from 28th September to 24th November 2019 at MAC (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Lissone), opening on 29th September at 6pm.

The works on show confront the theme of intercultural identity. The social, ethnic and gender issuesthat they address invite a form of reflection centred on the human aspect of the processes transforming the contemporary world. Fifteen artists from diverse parts of the world (Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Middle East) comment on sociological and cultural themes from different points of view, in a diverse range of narrative idioms.

The videos have been selected from the collection of the Han Nefkens Foundation In Barcelona and from the Premio de Producción de Video Arte Fundación Han Nefkens – CAC Quito 2018.

Ai Bordi dell’Identità (On the Fringes of Identity) is an exhibition exploring and illustrating the degree to which contemporary artistic research is involved in the cultural and social debate regarding the human condition in a globalised world. The artists featured present their reflections from personal and cultural standpoints that are sometimes very different, employing varied and often dissimilar narrative and expressive strategies. What emerges from this selection of video narratives is the urgent need for a human focus in the exploration of processes affecting identity, belonging, the awareness of differences and the acknowledgement of otherness. To be on the fringes, as the exhibition’s title implies, is a reference to that fluid space in which individual identities are defined by comparative or negotiative relationships with an Other that is similar or diverse. The videos featured in the exhibition point to a positivistic vision of interculturality providing the blueprint for humanity’s path to salvation – a path which is constantly evolving.

In Erkan Özgen’s (Derik, Turkey, 1971) Purple Muslin (2018), the theme of the oppression of women in the war lands of Isis is addressed in a style redolent of documentaries. In Tooba (2002), Shirin Neshat (Qazvin, Iran, 1957) uses the allegory of a tree to explore the idea that the key to resolving the tensions between men and women lies in a spiritual and transcendental dimension. Maya Watanabe’s (Lima, Peru, 1983) video Liminal (2019) examines the genocides that have taken place in Peru, considering the question of grief not just from the point of view of personal suffering but also as a collective experience. In a surreal juxtaposition of two cities – Tehran and Los Angeles – Tehran-geles (2014) by Arash Nassiri (Tehran, 1986) highlights the urgency that drives millions to migrate. Ramin Haerizadeh (Tehran, 1975), Rokni Haerizadeh (Tehran, 1978) and Hesam Rahmanian (Knoxville, 1980) also explore the dynamics of migration in From Sea to Dawn (2016-2017); a collage of images culled from the media and re-elaborated with pictorial interventions, the video alludes to the notion of journeys as an odyssey. In Paradise (2017), Bárbara Sánchez Barroso (Lleida, Spain, 1987) superimposes the voice of a migrant over symbolic images: the man is prepared to sacrifice the certainties of his own value system for the sake of a potential individual liberty. The theme of liberty is also explored by Zwelethu Mthethwa (Durban, South Africa, 1960) in Flex (2002), using the metaphor of physical effort, while the intimate and biographical video Disappearance of a Tribe (2005) by Deimantas Narkervičius (Utena, Lithuania, 1964) confronts the question of the Soviet communist utopia. Social issues form the subject of the work of both Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (Trad, Thailand, 1957) and Gabriel Mascaro (Recife, Brazil, 1983). Rasdjarmrearnsook’s Village Kid Singing (2004) examines the implications of being HIV positive in Thailand, and Mascaro’s EBB AND FLOW (A OndaTráso Vento Leva) (2012) in concerned with physical disability in Brazilian society.

Latin American video art is explored with a selection of works from the 2018 edition of the Premio de Producción de Video Arte Fundación Han Nefkens – CAC Quito 2018. The work of five artists from or with roots in Latin America illustrates the vivacity of this particular cultural background. In Mar Cerrado (2016) Adrián Balseca (Quito, Ecuador, 1989) considers the exploitation of mineral resources, comparing them with Ecuador’s patriotic icons and monuments. In Le Edad de Oro (2012) Javier Castro (Havana, Cuba, 1984) demolishes the rhetoric surrounding the universality of human values by recording the imaginative and ingenuous answers given by Cuban children when they are asked what they want to do when they grow up. Jonathas de Andrade (Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil, 1982) also addresses changing social values; in his video O Levante (2014) the artist organises a horse race, the scope of which is declared to be cinematographic – in order to circumvent the city of Recife’s ban on rural animals. Luis Gómez Armenteros’s (Havana, Cuba, 1968) Life from the spinning washing machine (2012) presents an auto-referential sequence of images of the artist’s own face, creating a visionary oscillation in which the distinction between fiction and reality becomes imperceptible. In Otros Usos (2014), Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (San Juan, Porto Rico, 1972) analyses the effects of post-colonialism on the landscapes of the Caribbean.


Ai Bordi dell’Identità – Videos from the Han Nefkens Foundation Collection

Artists: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian / Gabriel Mascaro / Zwelethu Mthethwa / Deimantas Narkevičius / Arash Nassiri / Shirin Neshat / Erkan Özgen / Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook / Bárbara Sánchez Barroso / Maya Watanabe / Adrián Balseca / Javier Castro / Jonathas de Andrade / Luis Gómez Armenteros / Beatriz Santiago MuñozMuñoz

Curator: Giacomo Zaza

Opening: 20 June 2019, 7.30pm

MUST Museo Storico della Città di Lecce

Ex Monastero di Santa Chiara

Via degli Ammirati, 11

73100 – Lecce

A project developed for the MAC in Lissone, in collaboration with the MUST in Lecce, thanks to the support of UBI Banca and Valentino Caffé, and with the patronage of the City of Lecce.

Catalogue published by SilvanaEditoriale

100 pages, colour and black and white, 18x24cm, texts in Italian and in English

Featuring an interview with Han Nefkens and an essay by GiacomoZaza

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