GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo presents the first solo exhibition of the English artist Tris Vonna-Michell in an Italian gallery.
The show is part of GAMeC’s program Eldorado that is dedicated to the most interesting emerging artists on the international scene. For several years now, these artists have been invited to present a site-specific project commissioned expressly for the occasion.
The work of Tris Vonna-Michell is a complex narrative construction that developed over time and that the artist constructs like a story that builds upon the use of different media such as performance, video and sound. Tris Vonna-Michell is a memory traveler in the past and present, who projects the everyday onto history intertwining his own personal experiences with the echo of events that appear foreign to one another.
The title of the exhibition Studio A: Monumental Detours / Insignificant Fixtures (2008 – ongoing) indicates that it consists of two installations that converge in a single, complex construction made of voices, stories and images hailing from very different places and times.
The starting point is Studio A, an installation previously presented at the Berlin Biennial in 2008 and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit in 2009. Here it is proposed in a new version created for GAMeC’s spaces and, on this occasion, it is interwoven with the original work Monumental Detours/ Insignificant Fixtures. Studio A is an installation in progress whose subject is the city of Detroit and its history, a space where reality and fiction overlap: while in the 1920s Detroit offered bright promises for industrial expansion and wellbeing, today the city is the center stage of the global crisis of the automobile industry. Studio A is, therefore, a complex set where past and present come together and stage capitalism as a place for aspiration and, at the same time, of disillusion. But RoboCop, the urban sci-fi movie of 1987 that had a Cyborg policeman as its protagonist, was also set in Detroit. A fantasy of dark tones about justice and the abuse of power and in which the image of a plausible future for the American metropolis is resolved through a metamorphosis of failure. Archival materials, images and sounds converge in Studio A as the product of the artist’s stay in Detroit in 2008: the city thus becomes not only the object of an archaeology of the industry and of memory, but also a space for personal projection, where individual fantasies overlap with history and cinematographic fiction.
This new edition of Studio A is joined by the all-new work Monumental Detours/ Insignificant Fixtures, which is also the fruit of trips the artist took to Detroit between 2007 and 2008. This experience comes together in the writing of a text in which the artist tells not just about his daily experience in this post-industrial environment, but also about a dream he had at the end of his stay there. In this way the conscious experience of the city converges with the unconscious one in this kind of brief log, to which are added sounds recorded outside, as if the outside of the city were poured into the inside of the museum.
Tris Vonna-Michell’s installations are compositions rich with mystery and suggestion, architectonic scores in which sound, light and the most commonplace objects, from a more or less recent and nonetheless removed past, become sounding boards for an absolutely individual—that of the artist—experience, in which travel, memory, fiction and invention cohabit.
For this exhibition the audio material of Monumental Detours/ Insignificant Fixtures was recorded on a vinyl LP produced by GAMeC in collaboration with Kunsthalle Zürich. The record was produced in a limited edition of numbered copies signed by the artist.
The show is part of a series created in honor of Arturo Toffetti.
Curated by: Alessandro Rabottini
Opening: 27 May 2009, 7pm