press release

At a time when nationalistic discourses and xenophobic polarizations tend to shroud our perception of contemporary realities, it is rather encouraging to hear an artist claim that he is “at home everywhere”. Luca Vitone’s complex body of work may therefore be seen as an attempt to redefine and reassess notions such as “homeland”, “cultural identity” and “territory”, working against partial, one-sided and stereotypical conceptions. Astrid Wege, one of the authors of the catalogue, directs our attention to the fact that “the reflection on a location, asking how a given place is represented, perceived, experienced and remembered” – meaning geographically, culturally and socially – is a central issue for Vitone as well as a key to the interpretation of his work. A perfect illustration of this approach, his series Carte atopiche (1988-1992) consists, among others, of city maps whose written indications have been retouched so as to appear near-“illegible” (in a commonly accepted sense).

When “determining” a location, Vitone is interested mainly in groups of people or human activities deemed “peripheral” or “obsolete” from an anthropological point of view by contemporary society, such as, for instance, the (still) nomad Roma people, nearly forgotten regional folk music styles with their peculiar instruments, or seemingly extinct anarchist movements. The common factor of these examples is their lack of a stable, geographically defined territory with its own national symbols. When Vitone addresses an existing location – as in Stundaiu, a work dealing with the city of Genoa – he shows it as a social space, depicted from an unfamiliar and non-“representative” perspective (in a conventional understanding). This form of “mapping”, freed from its nationalist aspects to generate new and unusual “charts”, is reflected in Vitone’s invention of a new flag, a combination of the black anarchist flag – which cannot be ascribed to a political party in particular – and the Roma flag – whose wheel symbolizes nomadism (Nulla da dire solo da essere, 2004). The national appropriation of the flag as the supreme symbol of territorial demarcation is thus undermined and suspended.

In Sous les ponts, le long de la rivière... (2001), an exhibition organised by the Casino Luxembourg in the valleys of the capital, Luca Vitone staged an archaeological excavation: a sound installation in a ditch produced the music pieces played by Franz Liszt during his last public appearance in 1886, a few months before his death, at the former Casino Bourgeois, which now hosts the Casino Luxembourg.

This intervention illustrates one of the many aspects in Vitone’s practice addressed in the publication accompanying the exhibition. The book’s central part is a richly illustrated dictionary listing twenty-five words referring to key issues in Vitone’s body of work.

In collaboration with O.K Centrum für Gegenwartskunst curators : Enrico Lunghi (Luxembourg), Martin Sturm (Linz), Giacinto Di Pietrantonio (Bergamo)


only in german

Luca Vitone
Kooperation: OK Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Linz
Kuratoren: Enrico Lunghi, Martin Sturm, Giacinto Di Pietrantonio