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Ennesima: An exhibition of seven exhibitions on Italian art opens at Triennale di Milano
Installation view. © Photo: Roberto Marossi.

MILAN.- From 26 November 2015 to 6 March 2016, Triennale di Milano presents Ennesima. An Exhibition of Seven Exhibitions on Italian Art, curated by Vincenzo de Bellis. Not “one” exhibition of Italian art but, literally, an ‘exhibition of exhibitions’ that, via seven paths, tries to explore the last fifty years of contemporary art in Italy, collecting more than one hundred and seventy works and over seventy artists, from the early Sixties through to the present day, in a display extending over the whole first floor of the Milan Triennale.

The title is inspired by a work by Giulio Paolini, Ennesima (appunti per la descrizione di sette tele datate 1973), the first version of which, dated 1973, is divided into seven paintings. This gives the number of exhibition projects included in de Bellis's exhibition for La Triennale: seven independent exhibitions, in the form of notes or suggestions that explore different aspects, links, coincidences and discrepancies, as well as the exhibition grammar in the recent history of Italian art. Seven working hypotheses through which we can read, reinterpret and tell Italian art also through the analysis of some of the possible exhibition formats: from the solo exhibitionto the site-specific installation, through to the thematic group show and chronological group show, the group exhibition on specific movement and the medium-based group exhibition and on to the archive exhibition. Not just a single project that attempts at all costs to find thematic or stylistic, chronological or generational connections, but rather a platform that tries to suggest the coexistence of all these and other possible formats, creating a cross-section of the past fifty years of art in Italy.

The path of Ennesima starts therefore with the thematic group exhibition entitled To Write an image, focussed on the analysis of the centrality of iconography in the Italian artistic production from the Sixties through to the present day, to continue with the group exhibition on an artistic movement entitled The image of writing: Group 70, visual poetry and verbal-visual investigations and dedicated to Visual Poetry, and then with Alessandro Pessoli: Sandrinus, the whole before the parts, the artist’s first solo exhibition in an Italian public institution. Central hub of the path is the medium-based exhibition, The performance from suspended time: the tableau vivant between reality and representation, hinging on performance, with the objective of presenting an analysis of its development by focussing on the tableau vivant sub-genre, followed by A Choral Archive: The via Lazzaro Palazzi Space, the Experience of Self-Management and AVANBLOB, the exhibition of documents that, twenty-five years later, pays homage to the activities of the artists working in Milan proposing a first attempt at historization.2015: present time, indefinite mood, a generation-based exhibition ends the path, revolving around a selection of artists born between the mid-Seventies and Eighties. The whole project is finally studded with site-specific interventions at crucial points of the exhibition path, gathered under the title of Here, now and elsewhere: Site-specific and Thereabouts, that fit transversely in respect of the other six exhibitions.

Seven attempts, therefore, seven suggestions, seven possible analyses and interpretations of contemporary Italian art: Ennesima favours not a unique vision, but multiple perspectives that, as such, in their partiality, can be considered as a sample of different approaches to contemporary art. The spaces of the first floor of the Triennale are therefore be divided according to a precise path, on which visitors will be taken to discover the seven exhibitions that will then be perceived as autonomous and self-sufficient, but also as part of a wider vision that includes them all.

Starting from its “plural” nature, born from the study and analysis of great recent and less recent exhibitions which it wants to pay tribute to in various ways – from citation to reaction -, the project reveals itself as a meta-exhibition: an exhibition reflecting on itself, on exhibition practice and the mechanisms that govern its operation and that reveals, in its own system, both the grammar that has led to certain choices and, at the same time, their full subjectivity, outlining therefore a composite fresco of the Italian contemporary system in its different specific features.

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