Imitazione di Cristo (The Imitation of Christ) by Roberto Cuoghi, presented in the Italian pavilion, investigates the transformation of matter and the fluid concept of identity through a research on the historical depiction of Christ in Italian art.
The entrance space of the Italian pavilion has been transformed into a sort of workshop, a factory which produced devotional statues inspired by the De Imitatione Christi, a medieval text describing the path to achieve a state of ascetic perfection.
The statues of Christ manufactured in the workshop are then moved to an array of tables positioned inside a long tunnel made in transparent plastic, thus creating a sequence of “bodies” in progressing conditions of deterioration and crumbling of the matter.
The statues, almost decomposed, are subsequently “dried” in an oven to stop their decay. Finally, the remains of the figures, distorted and broken to pieces, are re-composed and arranged on a long, dark wall at end of the gallery.
Imitazione di Cristo (The Imitation of Christ) is part of Il Mondo Magico” (The Magic World) which is the title of the exhibition for the Italian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Art Biennale. The show, curated by Cecilia Alemani, curator of The High Line (NY), presents works by Roberto Cuoghi, Giorgio Andreotta Calò and Adelita Husni-Bey. The title takes inspiration from the homonymous book written right after World War II by anthropologist Ernesto de Martino. The artists have produced new works commissioned for the pavilion.
Roberto Cuoghi (b. 1973 in Modena) lives and works in Milan. In 2017 his work has been presented in a retrospective project at the Centre d’ Art Contemporain, Geneva, which also includes exhibitions at Museo MADRE in Naples, and the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne.
He has participated in two editions of the Biennale Arte: Il Palazzo Enciclopedico/The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2013, directed by Massimiliano Gioni, and Fare Mondi/Making Worlds, 53rd International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2009, directed by Daniel Birnbaum. He received a special mention from the jury at both exhibitions. His solo exhibitions include the noteworthy Putiferio, Deste Project Space Slaughterhouse, Hydra, 2016; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, 2015; Le Consortium, Dijon, 2014; New Museum, New York, 2014; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2011; ICA, London, 2008.
Roberto Cuoghi | filmed by Out of Sync | Venice May 2017
Camera and edit | Per Henriksen
Producer | Out of Sync
Artworks courtesy | Roberto Cuoghi
© Out of Sync 2017