Catalogue of Vezzoli's double project at Museion: as guest curator, presenting an exhibition of the Museion collection, and as artist, with the first complete retrospective of his sculptural work.
Accompanying the projects grouped under the same title at Museion in Bolzano, Museo Museion is designed like a fictitious old guide to a museum of peculiar, striking juxtapositions: between what is ancient and what is newly added, and between what is real and what is illusionary. Here, for the first time, Vezzoli plays both artist and curator. In his sculptural works, placed on the top floor along a long podium like a silent, mocking regiment—and scattered through the book as plates, glued to the pages—the artist “embraces the risk of tampering with historic artworks” by adding new features to mutilated originals. The resulting paradoxes look outlandish, but are indeed only the latest example of what has long been a defining aspect of Western art and culture: how it deals with antiquities. Meanwhile, on the floors below, Vezzoli-as-curator selected a significant sample of the museum's collection, grouped it according to theme and genre, and reframed it, both literally and conceptually: works by Lucio Fontana, Nan Goldin, Carla Accardi, and others are bordered by trompe l'œil reproductions of the frames from key paintings by Bronzino, Raphael, Ingres, etc.—to intriguing effect. All of these pairings are illustrated and annotated in the book.
Published on the occasion of the double eponymous exhibition at Museo Museion, Bolzano, from January 30 to November 6, 2016.
Francesco Vezzoli (born 1971, Brescia, Italy, lives and works in Milan) explores power of contemporary popular culture. By closely emulating formats of various media, such as advertising and film, he addresses ongoing preoccupations with the fundamental ambiguity of truth, the seductive power of language, and the instability of the human persona. These include a trailer for a remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula (2005), starring Vidal himself, Helen Mirren, and Courtney Love; an advertising campaign directed by Roman Polanski for Greed, a fictitious perfume; and elaborate, site-specific performances inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luigi Pirandello, and Salvador Dalí that have featured superstars like Catherine Deneuve, Cate Blanchett, and Lady Gaga. Though Vezzoli employs a diverse and varying array of media, needlepoint has remained a signature technique from the outset of his career. Initially emulating famous actors who practiced needlepoint on and off-screen—from Vicente Minelli to Joan Crawford, Cary Grant, and Greta Garbo—as time went on, it became a more profound and contemplative activity which he referred to as a world of feelings, crises, obsessions and depressions historically unified with the craft.