Chilometro 0, curated by Porter Ducrist, The Gallery Apart, Rome, Italy, 2019
photos by Marco De Rosa
The Gallery Apart is proud to present Chilometro 0 (Zero Mile), a group show that brings together the works by the artists known as In Situ, a sort of artistic living organism who in Tor Bella Monaca, one of Rome’s most difficult neighbourhoods, have founded 11 artist’s studios and an artist run space. A programme that features young international artists in the exhibition space and the sharing of the everyday art practice in the studio characterize this experience that intrigues and engages the city. It is the responsibility of the gallery to point out such vitality in order to enable the artist to express in total freedom their poetics predicated on the intimate link between the artistic expression and existential condition, as well as on the calling into question of the roles of the various stakeholders involved in the art world: from the curator to the artist, from the spectator to the gallery owner. The exhibition is curated by Porter Ducrist, enigmatic and elusive embedded curator. Below is his presentation.
“We live in an image-based society, where representation is more important than the essence. In such confusion between signifier and signified, discerning between illusion and reality becomes nearly impossible. As we all are aware that everything is fiction, what is the role of art in our world? We can hide ourselves behind the moralism which makes art more like a parlor game than an ideological message or a quest of “the fair”. What is art? In such clichéd question, we can already grasp an answer. Art is art, why investigate? It is a certainty that does not need to be called into question! A status quo which is suitable to everyone but which does not lead anywhere, which does not see any future because it doesn’t look for it. If the art starts again from its genesis, it may continue to develop, and thus still be worthy of interest. Let’s start from the absurd idea that art tries not to be interesting any longer. That the object exposed to the public is freed from any claim, message or added value. “What you see is what you see”, was the challenge launched by Frank Stella and which was taken up also by Donald Judd. The art that educes the reality to represent it as best as possible, starting from scratch through the concreteness of the trivial. Looking for nothing but to start anew, but this time on more solid foundations in order to go on after a too long, minimalist vegetative state. This starting point, this “Chilometro 0” would seem impossible because the importance of the history of art cannot, and should not, be denied, although it represents the only way through which the artist can continue to do what they have always had to do: urging the spectators to reflect by representing their current historical period.
As modern society seems a totalitarian system dominated by the spectacular, it is difficult for the artists to identify themselves as creators of images, since technology has deprived them of their monopoly. If everything is art, then nothing is art. A line of inquiry, a source of inspiration can stem from nothing, we can restart from nothing and it is from nothing that “Chilometro 0” attempts to urge the spectators to reflect. They find themselves immersed in a context where their role is as pivotal as that of the other stakeholders in the “Art” system, from the gallery owner to the curator, each of them called upon to take on new challenges and to represent themselves. Each artwork attempts to give shape to the specific task of each of these protagonists, to an extent that the artist is nearly relegated to the background in order to highlight what surrounds them. The real in art is definitely as detached and disconnected from the real as it is from many other things, but it is not less real than other realities. It is maybe from this statement apparently without rhyme or reason that “Chilometro 0” and the artists exhibited in the exhibition seek to represent the modern society, transforming the gallery into a window on reality.”