Emotional Coda: ‘Afterimage’ at MAXXI L’Aquila, Francesco Tenaglia, δημοσίευση ArtReview [10/1/2023]
The exhibition puts ideas of memory and reality in conversation with the recent, earthquake-hit history of the Italian city
Shapes that remain in the visual field after intense light hits, or as the result of contemplating an image too long: these optical illusions ostensibly give Afterimage its title, but this 26-artist group show – held at the recently opened branch of Rome’s MAXXI museum in the Abruzzo region – isn’t centred on the visual per se. ‘Afterimage’, here, refers to a trace of an event that persists enough to trigger an emotional coda, settle a memory or give time to rationalise. An afterimage is also an alienating moment of superimposition between a memory momentarily imprinted in the retina and the surrounding reality. The balance between an event’s strength, persistence and transience allows this exhibition to call into question, indirectly, the recent history of the city of L’Aquila, the region’s capital hit by a tragic earthquake in 2009 – a terrible wound followed by a tiring and not yet completed period of social, economic and urban reconstruction.
The restored palace that houses the museum, Palazzo Ardinghelli, is a notable example of the local late baroque, sitting on previous Renaissance constructions lost in a previous earthquake in 1703, though the exhibition’s curators, Bartolomeo Pietromarchi and Alessandro Rabottini, avoid turning this echo into a ‘theme’ to burden the multiple suggestions elicited by the concept in the works. In extracts from Ana Miletić’s Materials series (2015–), for example, the show’s theme of transformative resilience takes the form of handwoven textiles based on photo- graphed acts of repair in urban space (roofing, fencing, wrapping) taken in Zagreb and Sisak after earthquakes that occurred in 2020; Benni Bosetto transfers memories from collective history in the installation Saturniidae (2022) – large iron necklaces hanging from the walls that refers to a craft tradition of producing auspicious toy amulets for infants; Stefano Arienti has transformed photographs of the surrounding mountain landscape into tapestry through a digital process that destroys the original image to give it a second life; Thomas Demand, in a permutation of his long-running Model Studies series (2011–), focuses on the paper patterns the late French-Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa used to construct his influential garments and pushes the archival material toward a seductive geometric abstraction.
Η συνέχεια εδώ.