press release

How do you show and yet not show a private collection? How do you give a public exhibition the dimension of a domestic space, given the collector’s obsession for monumental sculptures and installations? And how do you deal with the fact that he wishes to remain anonymous, but not invisible? The exhibit-project MY PRIVATE – conceived by Barbara Casavecchia, Anna Daneri and Paola Manfrin – tries to confront these questions and their multiple paradoxes.

In a game of role reversal, the collector is thus transformed into the commander not of unique works of art – as one might expect – but of unique solo-shows, set up by guest artists, regularly, once a year. For the ephemeral moment of a private opening, these site-specific exhibitions abusively ‘squat’ different places, very often ‘work in progress’ and with no relation to art. Everything is thought out for a single evening, as if it were a furtive intrusion into a bank vault. The only evidence that testifies to the event is a bilingual publication in a limited edition, unveiling private aspects of the artist’s work and documenting its presence in the collection.

MY PRIVATE was inaugurated in 2003 with a labyrinth intervention by Gregor Schneider inside the building site at via Pasteur 21 in Milan, followed in 2004 by a neon installation, video and light show by Patrick Tuttofuoco at the same address, later on transformed into a residential complex. In 2005, MY PRIVATE moved to a 2000-m2 industrial warehouse under construction at Cernusco sul Naviglio, in the Milanese hinterland, to house the ironic, monumental works of Michael Sailstorfer. This year instead, MY PRIVATE migrates to Turin with a bewildering new performance by Pietro Roccasalva (11 November), hosted under the dome an old Baptist church downtown at via Lagrange 13.

However something unexpected has happened. The phantom collector has fallen for the charm of the Centre international d’art et du paysage de l’ile de Vassivière and the insistence of Chiara Parisi, who, since her appointment as director of the Centre d’art, has dedicated herself to making Vassivière a place of production detached from the traditional art circuits. A germinal place through which new energies are developed and emerge, capable of shaking up the waters of the lake where Vassivière Island and this symbolic place of art stand.

MY PRIVATE ESCAPED FROM ITALY is the first group show of this cycle whose duration is prolonged (from 19 November 2006 to 28 January 2007) and which takes place in an institution. In respect to the original format, the artists were invited to work in relation with the existing architecture and to present works tied to the idea of privacy. In the installation by Francis Alÿs, Closed Circuit, the Centre d’art itself “unveils” its most private aspects by exposing its working/producing mechanisms, which are usually hidden in the wings. A system of closed-circuit video surveillance transmits the day-to-day activities of the office over a screen to the inner spaces of the library.

Patrick Tuttofuoco confronts Aldo Rossi’s lighthouse through the light ray of Follow the Sun!, and with the welcoming "passage" Y, a light-and-sound installation carried out in collaboration with the musical group BHF (in line with the artist’s predilection for team work, shared experiences, and rhizomic practices, as opposed to individual creation).

To show the works of Gregor Schneider, the majestic spaces of the nave convert themselves into an obligatory and confined passage, hosting an invisible piece, as well as photographs, sculptures and a large double projection, which ‘stalks’ the artist around his meandering home in Rheydt and its doppelganger, rebuilt by Schneider inside the German Pavilion at 2001 Venice Biennale (Golden Lion).

Micol Assaël's sound installation Your Hidden Sound is the recording of noises from a bird who took shelter in the artist's studio. In the empty space echoes only the flapping of the wings and the artist's steps who tries to catch the bird, with no success. A situation of suspense then occurs, a frightening atmosphere from some psychological thriller that arouses mixed feelings in the viewers who, as often in the artist's works, are empathicaly involved.

Zentrale (Tisch) by Hans Schabus is an “animated” table that miniaturizes and metaphorically recreates the space of his studio, understood as a place dense with drawings, instruments and individual fantasies. The exhibition also offers the first showing of the work Leck mich am Arsch (Teppich), a “carpet” made by sewing together all the clothes thrown out when the artist last moved house.

Kris Martin exceptionally lends to MY PRIVATE a gift offered to his son at birth: the volume on which he transcribed in handwriting all of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, as well as the desk that he used to accomplish this work. His intervention extends into the sculpture garden of Centre d’art (which welcomes environmental works by A. Goldsworthy, I. & E. Kabakov, O. Mosset, M. Pistoletto and others) with Conductor.

A slim conductor’s wand fixed to a branch moves at the whim of the wind and progressively rises to the crescendo rhythm of the tree. Michael Sailstorfer recreates in the gardens his first work Waldputz, until now only documented from the perspective of photography: a perfectly clean rectangle of forest, delimited by four trunks, marks out the space – individual, mental, abstract – by which the artist’s work takes shape. Sailstorfer also takes over the upper rooms of the Centre with a slide projection recording the transformations of bus stops in his native Bavaria into temporarily habitable, comfortable, human-size spaces.

The exhibition, following the path of the 2005 exhibition Strictly Confidential. From the collection of Marc and Josée Gensollen proposes to sketch a portrait of the private collectors’ personalities and social behaviours inside system of contemporary art, putting forward their ambiguous relationship towards the works but also towards the artists that they appeal to. Hans Schabus's "rug" is in that regard an eloquent metaphor of the intimate and somewhat morbid relationship between the artist and his work and consequently between the artist and the collector.

On the occasion of the exhibition, the catalog My private escaped from Italy is edited by Silvana Editoriale (Milan) under the artistic direction of Paola Manfrin and Dario Villa.

Artists: Francis Alÿs, Micol Assaël, Kris Martin, Michael Sailstorfer, Hans Schabus, Gregor Schneider, Patrick Tuttofuoco

The Centre international d’art et du paysage enjoys the support of the Ministry of Culture and Communication / Drac Limousin, the Limousin Regional Council, the Creuse General Council and the Vassivière en Limousin Regional and Inter-departmental Mixed Syndicate (SYMIVA).


only in german

My private escaped from Italy
Kuratoren: Barbara Casavecchia, Anna Daneri

mit Francis Alÿs, Micol Assael, Kris Martin, Michael Sailstorfer, Hans Schabus, Gregor Schneider, Patrick Tuttofuoco