On the occasion of the Giornata del Contemporaneo 2022, the Italian Cultural Institute in New York and
Magazzino Italian Art in collaboration with
Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò present:
Margherita Raso’s first institutional solo exhibition in the United States,
curated by Chiara Mannarino
On view until November 25, 2022
Free admission, Monday to Friday
From 10AM to 4PM
Italian Cultural Institute 686 Park Avenue, NY
Raso’s practice spans a variety of mediums, from sculpture to site-specific installation, and has a material focus. Vizio di Forma is composed of three bodies of sculptural work that engage with diverse languages, forms, and styles—together encapsulating the artist’s practice to date. Nearly each piece was newly produced for the exhibition.
Hoarders (2020-2022) is a series of thirty urns molded under a specific set of limitations—imposed by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the artist herself. Raso’s self-established parameters included starting and finishing a form within 24 hours and working with each of the different types of clay she had previously collected and stored in her studio until running out of the materials at her disposal. Given the urn’s function as a preservation vessel and Raso’s steady exhaustion of the accumulated items she had on hand, this group of sculptures comments on time and mourning, and differs in materiality and technique. Concepts of ritual and memorialization come to the fore when considering Raso’s approach in tandem with the urn as a symbolic object.
The metal structure that holds the ceramic pieces is composed of pre-existing industrial shelving units. The storage segments hint at the inherent failure of accumulation and play into the unique dynamic between functionality and uselessness, embodied by the act of hoarding and, in this case, displaying an inherently functional vessel (the urn) in a nonfunctional way.
In the same room are two textile pieces, both mechanically produced on a Jacquard loom. Historically, this technique weaves two industries together: textile manufacturing and computing. The Jacquard loom is significant to computer history because it was the first machine to use interchangeable punch cards to instruct a machine to perform automated tasks.
One of the textile works, entitled Pour une seule nuit (plus d’etoiles) (2022), references a fragment of silk damask fabric with a star pattern from the collection of Fondazione Antonio Ratti in Como, Italy. From 2014-2016, Raso conducted research in the Foundation’s textile archive and, after coming across this unique fragment, devised a new work in which she removed the fabric from the textile preservation storage and displayed it in a vitrine for a period of 24-hours—the absolute maximum amount of time the piece was allowed to be exposed to light due to conservation concerns.
The question of textile preservation is directly referenced in the exhibition’s title. Translating to “inherent vice”—a conservation term meaning the tendency of an object or material to deteriorate or self-destruct because of its intrinsic characteristics—Vizio di Forma reflects Raso’s ongoing interest in the delicate and tenuous balance between external presentation and internal reality, effectivity and collapse, and control and unpredictability. Raso further addresses the question of conservation—which, in the case of these works, is tied to light, humidity, and temperature—by activating the air conditioner in the gallery space as a method of cooling and regulating the environment for optimal preservation as in an artwork storage unit.
The final sculpture on view is an aluminum work whose texture and details are a result of a textile-casting process. As a whole, Raso’s show is a timely commentary on the ways in which material, precarity, and decay dominate our world today.
About Margherita Raso
Margherita Raso’s practice spans a variety of mediums, most notably sculpture and site-specific installation. Raso holds a BA in Visual Arts from the Academy of Brera in Milan, and she is currently attending the MFA program at Die Institut Kunst FHNW in Basel, Switzerland. From 2014 to 2019 she is Co-founder of the artist-run space Armada in Milan. Her recent solo exhibitions include: Casting The Tempo, Santa Maria in Lucedio Abbey, Vercelli, IT, 2021; Canal, Bible, New York, US, 2018; and Piercing, Fanta-MLN, Milan, IT, 2017. Her works have been included in group exhibitions at: Little, Bern, CH, 2022; CFA, Milan, IT, 2021; Museo Novecento, Florence, IT, 2021; Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, Milan, IT, 2021; MACRO, Rome, IT, 2021; Villa Olmo, Como, IT, 2021; Fanta-MLN, Milan, IT, 2020; WPN-NYC, New York, US, 2019; WallRiss, Fribourg, CH, 2019; MAMbo, Bologna, IT, 2018; Armada, Milan, IT, 2016; Komplot, Brussels BE, 2015.
About Chiara Mannarino
Chiara Mannarino is an independent curator, writer, and art historian. Mannarino is currently pursuing a PhD in Art History at CUNY, The Graduate Center and holds an MA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art in London (2020) and a BA in Media Studies from Vassar College (2018). Chiara was the Assistant Curator of Nivola: Sandscapes (2021) and Homemade (2020), both at Magazzino Italian Art; the co-curator of A Fractured Sigh at BravinLee Gallery (2020); and the Assistant Curator of Non-places and the Spaces in Between at the Italian Cultural Institute, New York (2019). Chiara was the Curatorial Assistant for Gilardi: Tappeto-Natura at Magazzino Italian Art (2022) and Namsal Siedlecki: Viandante, organized by Magazzino Italian Art at the Italian Cultural Institute, New York (2021). Chiara has published exhibition reviews and articles in Flash Art, Burlington Contemporary, Femme Art Review, and Flaunt Magazine, and also contributed to the Homemade and Nivola: Sandscapes exhibition catalogues, published by Magazzino Italian Art.
About Magazzino Italian Art
Located in Cold Spring, New York, Magazzino Italian Art is a museum and research center dedicated to advancing scholarship and public appreciation of postwar and contemporary Italian art in the United States. The nonprofit museum serves as an advocate for Italian artists as it celebrates the range of their creative practices from Arte Povera to the present. Through its curatorial, scholarly, and public initiatives, Magazzino explores the impact and enduring resonances of Italian art on a global level.
Meaning “warehouse” in Italian, Magazzino was co-founded by Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu. The 20,000 square-foot museum, designed by Spanish architect Miguel Quismondo, opened its doors in 2017, creating a new cultural hub and community resource within the Hudson Valley. Admission is free to the public.
About the Italian Cultural Institute
The Italian Cultural Institute in New York was founded in 1961 by the Italian government. Its mission is to promote Italian languages and cultures in the United States. Under the guidance of its trustees at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its advisory board and its staff, the Italian Cultural Institute of New York fosters cultural exchanges between Italy and the U.S. in a variety of areas, from the arts to the humanities, to science and technology.
About NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, home of the Department of Italian Studies at New York University, was established – thanks to a generous donation from the Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimò – as a permanent and constructive homage to her husband, Guido Zerilli- Marimò. Casa Italiana was inaugurated in November 1990 with the mission to promote the deepening of knowledge of Italian civilization in the United States. Casa Italiana develops a rich and qualified program of extracurricular, cultural events ranging from Italian literature to political theory, figurative arts and the history of science.