With In Common, the double solo exhibition by Isabella Pers and Nada Prlja, curated by Laura Cherubini, aA29 Project Room
in Milan presents a series of recent and new works by the artists, created specifically for the gallery spaces, from December 3rd, 2021 to February 13th, 2022.
With reference to the exploration of a common ground (as also reflected in the title of the exhibition), developed on the spatial and temporal axes at multiple levels of interconnection and coexistence with all living beings, the two artists - with their different yet complementary gazes - weave a dialogue and a reflection on important contemporary social and environmental issues. Starting with observations of our fragile and complex present, Isabella Pers and Nada Prlja analyze the media superstructures that influence our perception.
Isabella Pers' works interpret climate change through the language of water and the connection of situations that are similar in their circumstances, despite being physically very distant from one another: on the one hand, the heavenly atolls of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean, suffering the effects of a sudden rise in the sea level and, on the other hand, the territory of northeastern Italy, which was violently hit, in October 2018 by the storm Vaia, destroying tens of thousands of hectares of alpine forests. The artworks represent a time that is no longer able to reconnect with its cycle of eternal return, but instead extends linearly and uncontrollably across distant geographies and everyday circumstances without a conscience, resulting in an image that is as impossible as it is real, where 'the tree is upside down, with its roots in the air. (Pierluigi Cappello, Piove).
Nada Prlja gives voice to a critique of the art system itself, by questioning when, artists will change the modes of production of their own artworks, so as to avoid waste. The artist repeatedly recycles her works in order to create new artworks, resulting in a layering of content which enriches the existing works with new meanings and concepts. Among the artworks in the exhibition, the installation Disaster Diary II (2021) reuses and transforms the previous work Non Commercial Agency (2004), a project that criticizes and re-examines the content of information provided to the public by newspapers. By painting, onto selected sheets of this work, the dates and places of natural catastrophes that have occurred globally between 2004 and 2021, the artist merges the two works and they become one, reflecting a realistic image of the world situation and the unnatural overproduction of capitalism.
The common ground of In Common lies in the deconstruction of the typical practices of the mass media - as in the re-elaborated version of the web pages of Isabella Pers's series of drawings Te aba, or in the over-painted pages of the newspapers that make up Nada Prlja's Disaster Diary II. The common ground lies in the new questions the artists express with their works, through a reflection on the use and misuse of information and through the search of a critical reading of the present time.
In Common shows a form of resistance inside and outside the art world : thinking of new forms of common life, is a starting point from which to open up to an alternative future, which can still be imagined.
The publication of an accompanying exhibition catalogue presents, through various images and critical texts - including that of the curator Laura Cherubini - the works displayed in the exhibition, together with other selected works, providing thereby a deeper reflection of the research being undertaken by the two artists.
The main themes of Isabella Pers research are the observation and connections between natural, social and cultural ecosystems, the impact of the anthropocentric dominion on the life of the planet and the transformations of our time. Her participatory actions investigate the cognitive processes that aspire to symbiosis between all living beings, analyzing the dynamics that characterize the choices of the human species, imagining new visions through the encounter between different perceptions. She has been working, in recent years, on the memory of water and plants, and how human action can interact symbiotically with these pathways.
She is the co-founder, together with her sister Tiziana, of RAVE East Village Artist Residency (www.raveresidency.com), a meta-project that opens the dialogue on the role of contemporary art towards animal otherness in a biocentric and antispeciesist perspective.
Her works have been presented in international events and institutions including: Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest; Arkad / Manifesta 13 Marseille; Libere Tutte, Casa Testori, Novate Milanese; Sustainable Art Projects Caught on Video, EDRA50 Brooklyn, New York University; Bordercrossing, Manifesta 12 Palermo; Nestx@TheIndependent, Museo MAXXI Roma; Architecture Biennial Seoul; The Next Flow, aA29 Project Room Milano; One Night Stand Gallery, Sofia; PAC Padiglione Arte Contemporanea, Milano; PAV Parco Arte Vivente, Torino; 54. ed e.c. 53. Biennale Internazionale dArte di Venezia; Villa Manin, Passariano; New York Public Library; Zentral Bibliothek Zurich; Palazzo Reale di Napoli; Miami-Dade Public Library, Miami; Museo MADRE, Napoli; National Library Buenos Aires; Madison Avenue. Where Fashion Meets Art, in collaboration with Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Whitechapel Gallery London. She has lectured in various institutions and Universities, both in Italy and abroad.
Nada Prlja is an artist whose work deals with the complex situations of inequality and injustice in societies. Using different media, her projects are multi-layered, site or condition-specific. She works mainly in installation, video installation, live art, public art projects. Prljas main aim is to affect society in the most direct of ways; it challenges the critical discourse around issues of current politics, nationalism, the transition of ex-socialist countries, human rights, migration, etc. At the same time, her work maintains a conceptual and aesthetic authenticity. Prljas work adopts site or context specific qualities or the particular social conditions, which may vary from project to project in the choice of the media.
Prlja represented the Republic of North Macedonia at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019. She has participated in various international Biennials, such as the 14th Baltic Triennial, Lithuania; Innsbruck International Biennial, Austria; 7th Berlin Biennale, Germany; Manifesta 8, Spain; 5th Moscow Biennale (Film Program), Russia; IV Bienal del Fin del Mundo de Arte Contemporáneo, Chile & Argentina; 28th International Printmaking Biennale, Slovenia and the 9th International Biennale of Miniature Work, Serbia. She has presented her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including at the MAXXI, in Rome; Kunsthalle Krems, Krems; White Cube, London; Calvert 22 Foundation, London; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork; Szuk Museum, Lodz; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Hong-Gah National Museum, Taipei; Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; etc.
She has lectured at several Universities in London and has co-established the Independent International Project Space - SIA Gallery.