press release

Crossing a hanging forest to discover that it consists of 3,000 plastic colanders; sitting on a chair that, thanks to glass and fabric, has changed its original form; listening to the melody produced by an orchestra made of weapons; imagining oneself all alone in the middle of the sea; clinging to a gigantic boa. Curated by Hou Hanru with Anne Palopoli at MAXXI from November 11, 2015 to March 28, 2016, Transformers is a visionary and mind-opening exhibition where visitors can observe and participate in the making of a new reality through sharing the experiences of creators and activists who transform.

Coming from four corners of the world, Choi Jeong-hwa (b. 1961, Seoul), Didier Fiuza Faustino (b. 1968, Chennevières-sur-Marne, France), Martino Gamper (b. 1971, Merano, Italy) and Pedro Reyes (b. 1972, Mexico City) are at once artists, designers and social activists. Through their works, reality is transformed into another reality, which sparks the imagination, stimulates reflection, encourages sharing, experience, and looking beyond.

The visitor is welcomed, in the museum forecourt, by the installation Golden Lotus by Choi Jeong-hwa, a gigantic plastic flower with golden petals measuring 10 meters across, which inflate and deflate to reproduce the idea of breathing. Also on display are three other spectacular works by the artist, whose motto states: "Your heart is My art."

Continuing along the exhibition, the visitor will meet Post-Forma, a special collection of chairs transformed with fabric. This is the project of Martino Gamper, whose work arises on the border between art and design, emphasizing notions of the work-in-progress and social participation. The chair implies rest, sociability, dialogue, exchange: the public may use Gamper's chairs to sit, thus activating such relationships.

Although guns and rifles symbolize violence and aggressiveness, they can also become music and convey a message of peace. Thus Pedro Reyes, who trained as an architect and loves to explore spaces and defy conventions, transforms them into a mechanical orchestra. To complete the work Disarm (Mechanized) and further stimulate thought, Reyes will create a newspaper with data, numbers, and disconcerting information about the making and trafficking of arms.

The exhibition ends with works by Didier Fiuza Faustino, an artist and architect who explores the intimate and intensive relationship between the social conditions of the body and the production of space. Lampedusa, a gigantic polyester boa to which to cling for survival, is located opposite a large reproduction of Géricault's Raft of the Medusa. Equally strong and disconcerting are the works Body in Transit, a box to transport clandestine immigrants on airplane, and Exploring Dead Buildings 2.0, an installation the artist set up in Havana, located within the utopian building designed by Italian architect Vittorio Garatti in 1961–65 for a dance school that never opened.