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Italian Artist Micol Assael Holds Her First Solo Show at Vienna's Secession
Micol Assael, Fomuska, 2009, alluminium, steam generator, high tension unit, water tank, 720 cm x 200 cm x 250 cm. Micol Assaël and ZERO… Milano, in collaboration with Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Secession, Wien and Museion, Bolzano. Foto / photo: Nils Klinger.

VIENNA.- In her first solo show in Austria, in the main room of the Secession, the Italian artist Micol Assaёl is presenting large-format wall drawings from her new series Красный Октябрь (Red October) along with an installation consisting of the eponymous machine ФОМУШКА (Fomuška), that generates an electrostatic field with the aid of steam, and two additional industrial ventilators.

Based on a passionate fascination with scientific theories and physical principles such as electrostatics, gravitation and wind power, Micol Assaёl amplifies natural or physical phenomena in many of her installations. Her minimal arrangements play with the spectrum of sensory perceptions and allow unusual experiences, that in some cases involve unpleasant and disconcerting aspects.

The industrial fans confront visitors in a cyclical rhythm with a powerful current of air and motor noise, while the centrally positioned work ФОМУШКА charges nearby human bodies with static electricity. The form and function of the machine, developed by Assaёl in close cooperation with Moscow's Elektroenergeticevsky Institute, go back to a Russian test facility for simulating lightning discharges. One of the tangible effects of ФОМУШКА is that it literally causes your hair to stand on end and that you get small electric shocks when you touch other people or objects.

Her installation provokes the psychological tension of an unspecified threat, created by the interplay of invisible elementary forces and effects acting directly on the body. In this way Assaёl refers to the potential horrors of technologies; at the same time she forges an aesthetic link to industrial apparatuses and the mysterious power of immaterial energy.

Similarly to the installation, the wall drawings Красный Октябрь exhibit a complex tension between heavy and light, force and sensitivity. Printouts of electric circuit diagrams, that Assaёl discovered in the disused Moscow chocolate factory Красный Октябрь, are superimposed with black, biomorphic ink drawings. The latter have a peculiar balanced figuration that marries the opaque nature of the ink, that gives the impression of a solid object, with the lightness of an organically flowing form.

Micol Assaёl (*1979 in Rome) lives and works in Rome and Moscow.

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