press release

Poems I Will Never Release: Chiara Fumai 2007–2017 February 4–May 1, 2022

La Casa Encendida presents the first retrospective dedicated to Italian artist Chiara Fumai (Rome, 1978–Bari, 2017). Fumai’s work is characterized by its blend of fact and fiction, concepts that are blurred and coexist in her primarily performance-based oeuvre.

In the words of curator Milovan Farronato, “Regardless of what form it takes, Fumai’s work is performative and, as such, presupposes an intuitive ability to recreate the conditions of its materialization.” In addition to her performative practice, the artist’s recurring pivotal themes included feminism, the Italian autonomy movement, and the inspiration of 19th-century pseudo-scientific fairground spectacles, among others.

In her performances, Fumai took on the identities of different marginalized historical figures, her heroines, hidden personalities whom she revived in an attempt to salvage narratives excluded or forgotten by history. In bringing them to the stage, the artist sought to convince spectators to embrace her creed, the Church of Chiara Fumai. The fact that many of the individuals Fumai resurrected were performers or artists themselves is of little consequence, for in appropriating their personalities she ended up identifying with them, making them more real than reality in a hyperbolic experiment.

This exhibition is a product of the collaboration of several European institutions: Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, La Loge and La Casa Encendida. Organized three years after the artist’s death, the show explores her legacy in order to share her extraordinary body of work, comprising collages, videos, drawings and furniture, with a broader audience.

With works and documents selected specifically for the presentation at La Casa Encendida, this retrospective aims to show what Fumai liked to call her “unwork,” a ten-year performative production that goes well beyond the performances for which she was best known.

Curated by Milovan Farronato and Francesco Urbano Ragazzi.