Rita Urso is pleased to inaugurate I love the gallery - 20th anniversary exhibition, a show that presents the gallery's activity from its beginnings in 2001 to the most recent years, through a wide selection of works from its collection. Works are set up for the occasion in a collateral space, a workshop of the late 19th century located in the courtyard, destined to become the future gallery’s location.
The title is inspired by the video I love the gallerists and they love me (2001) by Adrian Paci, shown in his first solo exhibition in Milan curated by Edi Muka. In the work, featuring Rita and Remo Urso, the artist's hands interfere to sort of arrange the gallerists’ positions and faces. A refined metaphor for the transformative power of art on the human soul, the video is a significative representation of the evolution of an art gallery as life path and act of love towards a profession. For this reason, the work is placed in an autonomous position within the exhibition, both as a starting point and as a conclusion of the exhibition.
From the storytelling of works on show, three main thematic sections emerge as the focus of the gallery's programme and activity during these years. The first two parts focus on the way of entering and approaching a place that combines public and domestic space: Artopia for its architectural connotation and proximity to the home of the gallerist and her family, was born under the sign of an indissoluble union between intimacy and profession, exhibition and intimate revelation, subverting the stereotype of white cube with the production of site-specific projects that cross over into the home.
Marzia Migliora's exhibition titled In punta di piedi, curated by Emanuela de Cecco, officially opened the gallery space in 2001, simulating an entrance "on tiptoe", “into the home of a stranger, … getting ready to listen”, as the curator points out in the catalogue. The exhibition itinerary opens with Marzia Migliora's video artwork 59 passi, then works by Paola Gaggiotti, Margherita Morgantin, Enzo Umbaca and Martina della Valle. In the projects designed for the gallery, these Italian artists conceptually deal with the themes of home and identity: they emphasise the need to go beyond our perceptive threshold in order to better understand ourselves and the reality that surrounds us, paying attention to the affections that make up our lives but also reasoning on the alteration of established balances through the introduction of foreign elements.
The second section of I love the gallery is dedicated to Adrian Paci, Maja Bajevic, Phil Collins and Jelena Tomašević. These artists from the Eastern Balkan area or in any case sensitive to the urgent issues of that region, as in the case of Irish Phil Collins who lived for years in Belgrade, are presented from the gallery in Italy for the first time, with the production of large projects site specific. In their exhibitions for Artopia they explore, with a poetic but also socio-political and radical approach, the concept of uprooting, of being split into different spatial and temporal dimensions, without any real sense of belonging: home is a special place in which to find comfort and take refuge when one feels the need, but it also represents the interior mirror of traumatic situations, the loss of identity and the comparison with new Western models.
The third exhibition part is the result of an expansion of the gallery's programme, with the intention of developing an even more dynamic and articulated approach to new languages such as cinema, performance, architecture and design. Works selected for the occasion are by ZAPRUDER filmmakersgroup, Elizabeth McAlpine and Jean-Baptiste Maitre, all artists who reflect, through the filter of cinematographic language, on the concept of time, on forms that are generated by it and on the relationship between temporality and filmic-photographic image, highlighting effects that cinema produces on contemporary society with an extension of the boundaries of vision and narration. The paradoxical dimension of time in the work of ZAPRUDER filmmakersgroup is approached to the stratigraphic dimension of McAlpine's aniconic image to become a measurable space through frames of Maitre's work.