Magazine article Artforum International

Francesco Gennari: Galleria Zero

Magazine article Artforum International

Francesco Gennari: Galleria Zero

Article excerpt

Contemporary artists tend to reject the view that an artist is some exalted, exceptional personality who, out of nothing, creates something highly significant to the rest of the world; today this concept is considered too aristocratic or belatedly Romantic. But among some young Italian artists, including Francesco Gennari, the idea seems to be making a comeback. Clearly, this position implies a bit of egocen-trism--an attitude confirmed by the rather cryptic press release for Gennari's recent exhibition, in which the artist went so far as to use the word demiurge to describe himself.

The show's title, "7 enigmi per il mio loden" (7 Riddles for My Loden Overcoat), refers to six elegant, gold-plated coat hangers affixed to the wall, each of a different shape, and titled Enigma 1, Enigma 2, and so on (all works 2006). On one of these, the artist hung his overcoat. That action, which took place at the opening, was not intended as a performance but as an act of establishment, which therefore cannot be repeated once it has been carried out. (The artist refused to repeat the gesture with a different coat hanger when I suggested it.) According to the press release, hanging the coat is the equivalent of "applying a concept, projecting thought to the matter, to give it meaning, function, shape, in synthesis, determination." Thus, there is really nothing superhuman after all about the action of this demiurge--the form assumes a function after the material has assumed a form: The sculpture becomes a clothes stand. The universe that the demiurge creates is a small universe of microevents, a shaping of form through a new organization of material. …

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