Crossing a hanging forest to discover that it consists of 3,000 plastic colanders, sitting on a chair that thanks to glass and fabric has changed its original form, listening to the melody produced by an orchestra made of weapons, imagining oneself all alone in the middle of the sea, clinging to a gigantic boa.
These are a few of the projects by Choi Jeong-hwa (Seoul, 1961), Didier Fiuza Faustino (Chennevières-sur-Marne, France 1968), Martino Gamper (Merano, Italy 1971) and Pedro Reyes (Mexico City, 1972). Coming from four corners of the world, they are at once artists, designers and social activists hence, Transformers Together with the participation of the public, they form a visionary and mind-opening exhibition curated by Hou Hanru, with Anne Palopoli, at MAXXI
from November 11, 2015 to March 28, 2016.
Through the works of these four creators, reality is transformed into another reality, which sparks the imagination, stimulates reflection, encourages sharing, experience, and looking beyond
The creators says Hou Hanru, Artistic Director at MAXXI and curator of the exhibition are extraordinary dreamers. Their creative actions are inspired by their strong commitment to society and the environment across different geopolitical contexts of today. They are capable of transforming the everyday into the fanstastic, and vice versa; they transform the low into the high, the old into the new, the common into the extraordinary, the banal into the witty, the sad into the joyful, the vice into the virtue. They thus create new and more open realities, encouraging us to live the experience of being human beings to its fullest.
The visitor is welcomed, in the museum forecourt, by the installation Golden Lotus by Choi Jeong-hwa, a gigantic plastic flower with golden petals measuring 10 meters across, which inflate and deflate to reproduce the idea of breathing. On display in the galleries inside the museum are three other spectacular works by the artist: Hubble Bubble, a hanging green forest which the public can enter, explore, get lost in; the installation Life Life, made from long colored balloons that is renewed each day as they gradually drop, deflate, and burst, and also thanks to the participation of the visitors, who can blow up some more and add them to the rest. My art is your heart, is the motto of this artist who works with everyday materials and objects and transforms them, discovering the hidden value under the surface of the objects, drawing inspiration from the harmony and chaos of the urban environment.
Continuing along the exhibition visitors will meet Post-Forma , a special collection of chairs trasformed with fabric and blown glass inserts. This is the project of Martino Gamper, whose work arises on the border between art and design, a work that emphasize the work-in-progress and social participation. The chair implies rest, sociability, dialogue, exchange. MAXXIs public may use Gampers chairs to sit, thus activating such relationships.
Although they symbolize violence and aggressiveness, they can also become music and convey a message of peace. Thus Pedro Reyes, who trained as an architect and loves to explore spaces and defy conventions, transforms guns and rifles into a mechanical orchestra. The installation Disarm is made from the remains of weapons gathered and destroyed by the Mexican army. Also on view are Disarm Instruments: five sculptures also made with weapons, which reproduce musical instruments like the guitar, xylophone, Pan flute, and rainstick. To complete the work and further stimulate thought, Reyes will create a newspaper with data, numbers, and disconcerting information about the making and trafficking of arms.
Lampedusa is a site-specific installation by Didier Fiuza Faustino, artist and architect who explores the intimate and intensive relationship between the social conditions of the body and the production of space. This work, which ends the exhibition, is a gigantic polyester boa to which to cling to in order to survive, located opposite a large reproduction of Géricaults Raft of the Medusa. Equally strong and disconcerting is the work Body in Transit, a box designed to be hung from the landing gear of an airplane, a small amount of space in which to transport clandestine immigrants, a design work that makes a statement, presented at the Venice Biennale and currently in the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou. The very last work exhibited is Exploring Dead Buildings 2.0, an installation the artist set up in Havana, in the utopian building designed by Italian architect Vittorio Garatti in 1961-65 for a dance school that never opened. Thanks to Faustinos intervention, the dilapidated building was given new life.