CURA.

ELISABETTA BENASSI AT MAGAZZINO, ROME

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Magazzino is proud to present its third solo gallery show for Elisabetta, entitled Letargo [Hibernation/lethargy], six years after the artist’s last one-woman show at the gallery. Consisting entirely of new works conceived for the event.
A condition of physiological suspension, “hibernation/lethargy” spans a number of different meaning spaces: in animal hibernation, biological activity is reduced to a minimum in response to unfavourable climatic conditions; machines go into a kind of hibernation when they are left alone; hibernation is an accumulation of time and possibility unlocked by its extension; political hibernation or lethargy implies the suspension of judgement and the consequent peril of a changed system reawakening, shorn of its memory of the past; and, finally, aesthetic hibernation is when our perceptive faculties are slowed down to the point that reality and image, sensorial experience and imagination become confused with one another. The result is a kind of phantasmatic reconstruction entrusted to the works on display, tending to loosen the rules through which reality is filtered and codified: rather than offering up an alternative, the artist invites us to witness a proliferation of possible “reals” defined through antithetical solutions.

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Letargo is an exhibition penetrated by dualisms – sleep/wakefulness; light/dusk; nature/artifice, body/machine – for which no synthesis is advanced. Benassi’s dualisms tend on the contrary to bring oppositions together within a single space, creating a sort of crasis of theoretically irreconcilable universes.

On one hand, nature is reconstructed in artificial terms; on the other, the use of machines hints at a fascination with things that are obsolete or consumed by use. Here, machines become “containers” for elements that are wholly extraneous: taken together, these associations are conceived by the artist in a state of voluntary suspension, leaving open the possibility of a reawakening which at the same time defines itself as a self-defence mechanism against time. Implicit in Letargo is an invitation for the viewer to imagine a kind of detour in a simulated spatial and temporal desert, in which we may shift gears and where – in practice – there is no such thing as a “right” direction.

Letargo by Elisabetta Benassi
Magazzino Arte Moderna, Rome
Through February 28

OTHER TIPS
In THEMOVE, Lena Henke turns outside in and inside out. Urban space merges with the female body and New York street signs lead the way through the artist’s inner life. Galerie Emanuel Layr, Vienna
South London Gallery, London
The Gallery Apart, Rome
The exhibition War Games at Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart features early and recent works by Martha Rosler and Hito Steyerl. Earlier as well as recent works appear in a dialogical arrangement conceived in collaboration with both artists. At Kunstmuseum, Basel
NICODIM, Bucharest
Galerie Emanuel Layr, Rome
Antoine Levi, Paris
Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp