From June 12th to July 10th, 2020, the MMSU / Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka (Croatia) presents Bodies on Stage | Performances from home in the time of quarantine, curated by Andrea Contin in partnership with Teatro Linguaggicreativi, as part of the schedule of events for Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture. After selling out for two evenings at Teatro Linguaggicreativi in Milan in December 2019 and in the wake of the success of Bodies on Stage – featuring a cordoned-off stage to draw attention to inaccessibility – which was visible online from the beginning of May on the virtual stage of www.corpisulpalco.com, the event curated by Andrea Contin is now taking another step forward and entering the premises of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka, a city that happens to be the European Capital of Culture during this tricky year, so badly afflicted by the pandemic.
That is why the Director, Slaven Tolj, has decided to present Bodies on Stage as a video art exhibition providing an overview of this difficult period in history through the creativity of artists. The idea behind Bodies on Stage comes from an attempt to come up with solutions for both creating and enjoying art in a situation we have never experienced before that is inevitably forcing us to make paradigmatic changes. The works seem to have their own voice from inside, messages synchronic with this period of home confinement but perfectly incorporated in the realms of experimentation of individual artists, who did not so much have to deal with the challenge of finding a stage – no longer viable – but of coming to terms with the place they happened to be when, just like everybody else, they were caught out by the lockdown. The artists invited to take part were asked to talk about their experience of enforced isolation, taking up the challenge of performing in a different way, but in a way that has so much potential, even in future. There were asked to think of some kind of action, almost a performative aphorism, to be staged in the place where they were quarantined – either at home, in the garden, out in neighbouring fields, on the roof of their building or wherever they had access to during the lockdown – with no other constraints of either a technical, thematic or stylistic nature; simply an action to be performed with the means at their disposal.
Now that society has started to open up again, performances will once again take place in art’s most emblematic venue, the museum, which, almost like some act of rebellion, is opening its doors to a completely off-the-cuff project, which makes it even more concrete and in sync with the spirit of our times, almost proclaiming the need museums feel to embrace the phenomenology of the events currently unfolding. This takes us full circle, placing the performances in this event in a dialectic that is calling into question the very way in which art works; a debate that has stimulated a host of innovative ideas and approaches over the last few months. The versatility with which Bodies on Stage adapts to various exhibitions venues – ranging from the theatre to the Web and museum – tells us once again that there is absolutely no intention of replacing real space, just a desire to make a small but very definite contribution to the process of shifting the production-exhibition paradigms of the art world. Although this has, indeed, been at the focus of debate over recent years, it has suddenly become a most pressing issue. Both absolute newcomers and internationally famous artists will be taking part in Bodies on Stage, all facing the same life-changing situation and sharing the same urgent need to talk about what is happening at the moment: Simone Berti, Ivo Bonacorsi, Sergio Breviario, Nicoló Bruno, Nemanja Cvijanović, David De Carolis, Giuseppe De Mattia, Andrea Di Cesare, Simone Falso, Cleo Fariselli, Flavio Favelli, Luca Francesconi, Chiara Gambirasio, Daniel Gonzalez, Katarzyna Kozyra, H.H. Lim, LIUBA, Natalia L.L., Michele Mariano, MASBEDO, Simona Migliori, Ruben Montini, Giovanni Morbin, Andrea Nacciarriti, Elena Nemkova, Giancarlo Norese, Silvia Pastoricchio, Pawel und Pavel, Ilaria Piccardi, Giusy Pirrotta, Aronne Pleuteri, Luigi Presicce, Giovanna Ricotta, Sara Rizzi, Camilla Rocchi e Riccardo Sebastiani, Alessandro Sciarroni, Marinella Senatore, Paolo Trotti, Anna Ulivi, Enzo Umbaca, Marcella Vanzo. As always it will be presented by Andrea Contin, an artist and curator of the event.