Curated by Luca Lo Pinto and Elena Magini
An internationally renowned artist, a key figure in the development of performance from the late 1950s to the present, Simone Forti moved to Los Angeles in 1938 with her family, originally from Prato. Her seminal work is the focus, from 19 June to 29 August 2021 at the Centro per l'arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, of her first major exhibition in an Italian museum: Senza fretta curated by Luca Lo Pinto and Elena Magini. Senza fretta has been envisioned as a large landscape with a special display approach designed in close collaboration with the artist, reflecting the natural evolution of her work through a simultaneously political and personal perspective.
Since the 1960s, Simone Forti has moved forward with a pioneering and experimental approach based on the experience of the body as a means of obtaining knowledge. Her work takes form in a vast range of different media, from painting to drawing, video to sound. Nevertheless, physical expression practiced through dance, and particularly the body’s ability to improvise, represents the fundamental key of her oeuvre.
The exhibition focuses on the News Animations, a series of works developed starting in the mid-1980s, in which the artist analyzes the relationship between language, movement and physicality, taking cues from articles found in newspapers. The News Animations are performances, where Forti embodies current events through movement and improvisation: the perception of the news from reports is mediated and explored in terms of pressure, weight and balance, just as the language of newspapers takes on terminology pertaining to various physical dynamics.
The exhibition presents videos of the performances (selecting only works conceived to be filmed), seen in close relation to a group of drawings belonging to the same series, demonstrating the artist’s interdisciplinary method applied in the development of her projects; in these drawings the game of language, which in the performances goes hand in hand with the use of the body and the voice, is formalized in a terse inscription made of word games, barely sketched human figures and linguistic alternation.
Words and language constitute a fundamental part of Senza fretta, expressed not only in the drawings but also in an audio composition, a sort of soundtrack that accompanies visitors inside the museum. This piece is composed of an original collage of different sounds, combining segments in which the artist sings folk songs, interacts with handmade instruments, and reads excerpts from her book The Bear in the Mirror: a collection of stories, prose, poems, drawings, photographs, letters, notes and memories. A work that sets out to generate multiple resonances, which draw on the experiments and collaborations enacted over the years with musicians and composers such as Charlemagne Palestine, Peter Van Riper, La Monte Young and others.
On a weekly basis, the exhibition also presents several historic performances by the artist, including Scramble, Sleepwalkers/Zoo Mantras, Song of the Vowels, Cloths and – for the first time – the piece titled Rollers, a primary movement and part of the artist’s vocabulary, seen here as a complete work. The pieces also include a version of News Animations performed by Sarah Swenson, a collaborator of the artist for many years.
The itinerary concludes with the Bag Drawings, a body of original drawings, created during the lockdown in the spring of 2020: a series in which the artist has worked on grocery bags as a direct expression of an emotional condition linked to familiar everyday things.
The exhibition also offers an opportunity to present the catalogue Simone Forti. News Animations, a reference book on the performative actions of the News Animations. For the first time, the book brings together the transcriptions of the performances, accompanied by drawings and photographs, to explore the research conducted by the artist on language and speech, through the body and movement, in a scientific and evocative way. The book is part of the Centro Pecci series, and is published by NERO Editions.
June, 19 – August, 29 2020
June 19, 20 : 4pm, 7pm
Performance: Sleepwalkers/Zoo Mantras, Scramble, Song of the Vowels, Cloths, Rollers
June 24 to September 2, every Thursday: 6pm, 9pm
performance: Sleepwalkers/Zoo Mantras, Scramble, Song of the Vowels, Cloths, Rollers
Performance coordinator: Sarah Swenson
Performers: Sarah Swenson for Sleep Walkers / Zoo Mantras, Monica, Bucciantini, Marcella Cappelletti, Valerie Claroni, Ilaria Cristini, Enrico L’Abbate, Lucrezia Palandri, Giulia Perelli, Mosè Risaliti, Zoya Shokoohi
On cover: Simone Forti, A Free Consultation, 2016 | Courtesy of the Artist, The BOX, Los Angeles, and Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milano
Thanks to Filati naturali srl, Margaritelli Spa - Listone Giordano, Tessilfibre Spa, Fil.pa 1974 Snc for art bonus contribution.
Viale della Repubblica, 277, 59100 Prato PO, Italia