Sleepless, Vienna non dorme. Sleepless, Vienna doesn’t sleep.

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Scrivo questo articolo a notte fonda. Per me questo è un momento di silenzio, di pensiero, sono ore sublimi, insonni, di  veglia.  Sleepless, esattamente come il titolo di questa mostra che si è inaugurata a Vienna allo 21er Haus. Tutto ruota attorno all’idea del letto, come metafora della vita, della morte, della malattia, del sesso, del riposo, del sogno, del sonno che spesso diventa insonnia. Letto anche emblema di pace quando andiamo a cercare nella nostra memoria quella celebre foto di John Lennon e Yoko Ono, che si lasciano fotografare in un momento di intimità per perorare la causa pacifista: “fate l’amore e non fate la guerra ” (era l’epoca del Vietnam). Le scelte del curatore Mario Codognato hanno davvero toccato tutte le corde,  partendo proprio dall’oggetto di arredo, celebrato con una bellissima culla Thonet affiancata ai letti a castello di Anselm Kiefer, accatastati uno sull’altro in equilibrio precario a significare che questi è il risultato di tanti piccoli squilibri, e ancora per parlare di culle ecco quella di Sherry Levine, vuota e fredda (realizzata in acciaio), che sembra attendere proprio la bambina del quadro sontuoso, cinquecentesco di Lavinia Fontana, dipinto accostato a questa scultura.  Il duo cubano Los Carpinteros ripensano il letto come uno scivolo dotato di materassi, gioioso anche quello di Yayoi Kusama, cosparso di punti rossi, come avesse il morbillo. Di certo non rassicurante il letto dell’artista indiano Sundarshan Shetty che vi piazza sopra uno scheletro di un animale, azionato da un meccanismo. Il sangue che scorre nella Giuditta e Oloferne di Artemisia Gentileschi (1593/1656), prestito della Pinacoteca di Bologna, viene come raccolto dalle larghe “bende” con le quali Iannis Kounellis ricopre il suo letto. Una presenza questa di Kounellis, che anticipa la sua partecipazione al Padiglione Italia della Biennale di Venezia 2015 (insieme al fotografo Biasucci, Longobardi, Paladino, Parmiggiani e altri ancora). In una Vienna sempre molto conscia di aver scritto il principale capitolo della storia della psicoanalisi, l’opera di Douglas Gordon basata su un filmato d’epoca, girato all’interno di un ospedale, e che riprende una malata in stato d’isteria, ci introduce al capitolo della malattia che diventa molto più evidente quando ci troviamo di fronte alla scultura iperrealistica di un allettato (opera di Elmgreen & Dragset). Talmente vera che quando fu esposta al Bunker di Berlino, ed era visibile da una feritoia dall’altro lato di un edificio, molte furono le telefonate allarmate. Del sesso si occupa Sarah Lucas con quel suo famoso materasso antropomorfo, ma anche molto caricaturale per come, a volte, donna e uomo sono ridotti esclusivamente ai propri genitali.  Jake e Dinos Chapman fanno mimare l’atto sessuale a due personaggi gonfiabili (maschio e femmina) a ricordarci come esista anche questo problema di comunicazione affettiva, che esclude, o elude,  il contatto vero,  preferendo ad esso un rapporto sterile, dove l’altro è solo un bambolotto, che soggiace a ogni comando di chi lo ha in uso. Rispecchiando la solitudine di chi vuole  compiacersi solo del proprio desiderio, a senso unico.

I’m writing this article at night. This is a precious moment of silence and thought; these are sublime hours of great vigilance. Sleepless, just like the title of this exhibition, which has opened at the 21er Haus in Vienna. Everything revolves around the idea of the bed, as a metaphor for life, death, disease, sex, sleep, dreams; sleep often becomes insomnia. The bed is also the emblem of peace when we remember that famous picture of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who let themselves be photographed in a moment of intimacy to advocate peace: “make love and not war” (this picture was taken during the period of the Vietnam war). The choices of curator Mario Codognato have really touched all the strings, starting from the piece of furniture itself, celebrated with a beautiful Thonet cradle alongside Anselm Kiefer’s bunk beds, stacked precariously one on top of another to signify that this is the result of many small imbalances. To stay on the cradles theme, there is one made by Sherry Levine, empty and cold (made of steel), which seems to be waiting for the child that Lavinia Fontana painted in her sumptuous Renaissance work, placed close to Levine’s piece. The Cuban duo Los Carpinteros rethink the bed in the form of a slide equipped with mattresses. Equally joyful is Yayoi Kusama’s bed, sprinkled with red dots, as if it had the measles. Less reassuring is the bed by Indian artist Sundarshan Shetty who placed an animal skeleton onto it, put into movement by a mechanism. The blood flowing in Judith and Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi (1593/1656, on loan from the Pinacoteca di Bologna), seems to be ready to be soaked up by the broad “bandages” with which Jannis Kounellis covered his bed. Kounelli’s presence in this show anticipates his participation in the Italian Pavilion of the 2015 Venice Biennale (together with the photographer Biasucci, Longobardi, Paladino, Parmiggiani and others). In a Vienna always very conscious of having written the main chapter in the history of psychoanalysis, the work of Douglas Gordon based on a vintage film shot in a hospital, documenting a patient in a state of hysteria, introduces us to the theme of disease that becomes much more obvious when we see the hyperrealistic sculpture of a bedridden patient (by Elmgreen & Dragset). It is so realistic that when it was exhibited at the Bunker in Berlin, and was visible only through a slit on the other side of a building, there were many worried phone calls. Sarah Lucas deals with sex, with her famous anthropomorphic mattress, something of a caricature as, at times, men and women are reduced exclusively to their genitals. Jake and Dinos Chapman mimic the sexual act with two inflatable characters (male and female) to remind us of the problem of affection, which is often left out of interpersonal communication so that instead of real contact, all that is left is a a sterile relationship in which the partner is nothing more than a doll who acquiesces to every command of the person using him or her. And this is mirrored by the loneliness of those who wish to take pleasure only from their own desire, one-way.

 

 

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