Metronom continues its exhibition programme with Twist in the tail, a twin-solo show by the collectives Iocose and The Cool Couple, which opens on Saturday 10th May at 18.30. Curated by Carlo Sala, the exhibition presents a site specific intervention specially conceived for the space in Modena and a selection of recent photographic works and video art. Though working through formally dissimilar research, what unites the groups is their outstanding attention to certain urgencies of the present which, as metaphorically alluded to in the exhibition title, are set forth through works playing on the overturning of common sense.
Iocose presents the project A Crowded Apocalypse: a video and a series of connected photographs which, setting out as in many of their works from a reflection on technology in relationship to man, utilise a web platform which allows you to get the workforce of the crowd to carry out basic little tasks against payment; the unaware protagonists of this artistic action were recruited in various parts of the world with the task of performing gestures that seem to refer to conspiracy theories, resulting in street protests with enigmatic placards bearing incomprehensible symbols and words. This somewhat surrealistic mise-en-scène is aimed at arousing reflection on the risks of today’s “atomisation” of work. Also on show is the video Spinning the Planet where we see the members of the group positioning four land missiles: their propulsive force is intended to shift the terrestrial axis by a tiny fraction in order to accelerate rotation, a symbolic act that thrusts forward the world and the history of humanity.
The Cool Couple exhibit the project Approximation to the West: a new installation consisting of photographic works and objects of an evocative flavour. Setting out from a historical fact, the Cossack invasion of Carnia at the end of world war two, this intervention carries a series of reflections on power and systems of control stimulated by the current world geopolitical situation. The works on show play on overturning the meaning of everyday images that hark back to historical narration while at the same time alluding to the present: an anaglyph photo of an original Cossack saddle, a technique also used for military maps; the crackling of a bonfire becomes a metaphor of the flames caused by the invader’s repressions; a Nazi salute is reconstructed in accordance with the beckoning style of fashion photography, creating a perceptual short-circuit. The intervention is imaginarily concluded with a balalaika: the traditional Russian instrument – probably also played by Cossacks during the invasion – is electrified to create a time gap and recall recent protests against the Moscow government by punk band Pussy Riot. The hybridisation that underlies all The Cool Couple’s works creates an ongoing dialogue between historical narration and subtle references to a contradictory present.
The Modena exhibition compares the work of two of the most interesting groups emerging on the national scene who, without rhetoric and through an outstanding inter-media approach, ask questions about certain difficulties of the present day by subverting the meanings of the image.
Iocose group was founded in 2006 and works between London, Berlin and Brescia. It organizes liminal actions, in order to subvert ideologies, practices and processes of identification and meaning construction, exploring possible futures, and present alternatives to manipulate the collective imagination. During his short career has appropriated an exhibition at the Tate Modern, has invented an election campaign based on spam for the PD, IKEA created a guillotine, experienced a drug derived from a floppy disk and organized a contest for the video less value on YouTube. His work has been featured in several national and international locations, including: Polytechnical Musem, Moscow, 2013; Transmediale, Berlin, 2013; MACRO, Rome 2012; Science Gallery, Dublin, 2012; Furtherfield, London, 2012; Share Prize, Turin, 2011; Fabio Paris Art Gallery, Brescia, 2011; Venice Biennale, 2011; Aksioma Project Space, Ljubljana, 2011; Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2011; HTTP Gallery, London, 2010; Shift Festival, Basel, 2010.
The Cool Couple is a duo formed by Niccolò Benetton (b. 1986) and Simone Santilli (b. 1987) at the end of 2012 which blends the members’ previous research in the fields of semiotics and philosophy. The Cool Couple’s work is based on themes linked to the reception and consumption of collective representations, ranging through different languages and registers set within strong project frameworks. In 2013 and 2014 they received different awards and exhibited their work both in Italy and abroad, among them the inclusion in the exhibition Territori instabili at the Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina in Florence, participation in Offprint Paris and the exhibition of the finalists at the second edition of Francesco Fabbri Award for Contemporary Arts.
Carlo Sala, art critic and curator. He curated the Venice Pavillon at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale, with Nico Stringa. Member of the scientific committee of the Fondazione Francesco Fabbri whose care the festival F4 / Photography and the Francesco Fabbri Award for Contemporary Arts. His essays and critical essays have appeared in about 30 publications with various editors, including Allemandi, Marsilio, Mimesis, Addison and Skira.
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