The solo exhibition 'The Variational Status' at the ar/ge kunst is the first public presentation of a research project by artist Riccardo Giacconi that investigates the relationship between a range of narrative forms (puppetry, street storytellers, flyers and pamphlets) and a series of pre-political acts of revolt staged between Italy and South America.
Curated by Emanuele Guidi and Antoine Marchand
Opening: 07.12.2016, 7 pm
The exhibition “The Variational Status” at the ar/ge kunst is the first public presentation of a research project by artist Riccardo Giacconi, which in 2017 will continue with a performance at the Centrale Fies (July 2017), a second exhibition project at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims (October 2017) and an artist’s book published by Humboldt Books (February 2017).
The project investigates the relationship between a range of narrative forms (puppetry, street storytellers, flyers and pamphlets) and a series of pre-political acts of revolt staged between Italy and South America. Starting out from Riccardo Giacconi’s interest in tradition as an ‘act of transmission’, The Variational Status evokes a narrative constellation between animation, suggestion, revolt and orality.
The exhibition develops around the espiritado, a Colombian puppet character, presumably inspired by the murder of a policeman during a village celebration. The espiritado is designed around the episode of the soldier Augusto Masetti, who in 1911 in Bologna shot at his commander in an act of insubordination against the Italian colonial war in Libya. The two figures share the total amnesia of their act of revolt, carried out in a trance or a state of somnambulism. While in Masetti’s case this circumstance turned him into a symbol of the anarchist movement around the world, which stepped in to take his defence, in the case of the espiritado, it became a comic element of a puppet character.
Conceived as the deconstruction of a puppet show, the installation titled The Variational Status is made up of an automatized marionette (constructed in collaboration with the historical Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla & Figli), a plastic curtain that operates as a storyboard, and a series of posters of the Colombian puppet show El Diablo en el pozo printed using a 19th-century letterpress machine in Cali.
Working on archive documents, oral testimonies and theatre scripts, Riccardo Giacconi intertwines the real and fictitious vicissitudes of the two characters in order to question the status of those documents, which are not based on stable and certified supports, but rather which may exist solely in the form of variations.