Curated by Marco Scotini
The exhibition is open until June 6th, 2017, from Wednesday to Saturday, from 2 pm to 7.30 pm.
FM Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea presented the third event of its exhibition program on the occasion of the next edition of MiArt during the Milan Art Week: Il Cacciatore Bianco/The White Hunter. African Memories and representations. The new and wide ranging collection curated by Marco Scotini – following on from the success of the preceding L'Inarchiviabile dedicated to the 1970s in Italy and of Non-Aligned Modernity regarding the Yugoslavian artistic scene during the Cold War – continues an investigation into the decentralization of the hegemonic and indisputable model of western artistic modernity in the current geo-political scenario.
Il Cacciatore Bianco/The White Hunter is an exhibition about the construction that the West has made of Africa rather than about its art. As Marco Scotini, the curator the artistic director of FM Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea, writes: “Recognition begins with a radical criticism of our view of Africa. Are we sure that what the white hunter saw, at the beginning of the previous century, is not still the same subject of our gaze? What should be heard throughout the entire exhibition is how this view (that of the hunter) has been fundamental in the construction of a subjugated Otherness. At the same time, we need to investigate the possibilities that cannot be assimilated that have been excluded”.
With over 30 contemporaryand an equal number of anonymous, traditional artists with more than 150 works, Il Cacciatore Bianco/The White Hunter presents a path articulated around the forms of representation and reconstruction of memory and African contemporary reality through works from – as well as from the Parisian Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain - major Italian collections and archive material on Italian colonial history. The artists are positioned over an almost complete map of the African continent, covering 15 different nations: Tunisia, Algeria, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Madagascar and South Africa.
The introduction to the entirety of the exhibition has been entrusted to Pascale Marthine Tayou, who transformed the entrance to the exhibition space into a sort of hut crammed with trinkets, suggesting the tourists’ concept of an African stereotype.
The first section is a flashback to the colonial Italy of the 1920s and 30s, presented through the film Pays Barbare (2013) by the artists Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi, pioneers in the archeological reconstruction of imperialism and racial ideology through images. The work begins with the quotation: “Ethiopie, pour ce pays primitive et barbare, l’heure de la civilisation a désormais sonné”. In the same way, Peter Friedl re-proposes Carlo Enrico Rava’s model for the FIAT plant in Tripoli. There will also be some rare written works and documents: books by Francesco Tedesco Zammarano and Carlo Piaggia, some photographic albums on Libya and by Capitano Roberto di San Marzano. Together with Sammi Baloji, Kader Attia also investigates the colonial past within the perspective of cultural re-appropriation, introducing the fetishes, masks and African traditions in a continuous encounter/clash with the disfigured faces of the survivors of the Great War.
The second section is dedicated to traditional ancient artworks with the reconstruction of the rooms dedicated to Negro Art at the 1922 Venice Biennale, at the dawn of Fascism. It presents a nucleus of statues and masks from Mali, from the Ivory Coast, from Cameroon, Gabon and the Congo, aimed at ‘evoking’ that historic moment in time together with its aesthetic sensitivity which was followed by the exclusion of African art from official exhibitions up until very recently.
The third section is a direct reference to the 1989 exhibition Magiciens de la terre, a series of samples of that art which, once again, was presented as being uncontaminated, primitive and original. The examples go from Seni Awa Camara’s beautiful terracotta products to John Goba’s fetishes made from wood and porcupine quills, from Cyprien Tokoudagba’s Vodun divinity to Bodys Isek Kingelez’s imaginary architecture and the Congolese Chéri Samba’s popular paintings.
In the fourth section, the responses to the South African question are displayed. These are by artists such as William Kentridge – with a plurality of languages, amongst which is the video installation History of the Main Complaint (1996) or the reworking of the traditional fetish subject in Twilight of the Idols by Kendell Geers or Moshekwa Langa’s maps. The fourth section continues with various practices of re-appropriation and resistance in the forms of exclusion, hegemony and homogenization, with works by Yinka Shonibare, Rashid Johnson, Ouattara Watts, Cameron Platter and thetapestries of El Anatsui and Abdoulaye Konaté.
The fifth section is dedicated to the morphologies of difference, in which we find hybridized figures that can be recognized in the conditions of migrants, by Wangechi Mutu’s fragmented female figure, John Akomfrah’s anti-mythical films of memory, in Meschac Gaba’s itinerant museums and Georges Adéagbo’s casual and improvised archives. One section is dedicated to historic photographs with portraits by Seydou Keïta, Malick Sidibé’s vintage photographs and Samuel Fosso’s self-portraits.
The exhibition closes with a series of other sections touching on the subjects of identity, diaspora and war, with works by Guy Tillim, Gonçalo Mabunda, Nidhal Chamekh, Nicholas Hlobo and Joël Andrianomearisoa. At the end, an enormous drapery by the young Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama will leave the spectator with an accumulation of collective narratives deposited on jute sacks as the symbolic traces of the open exchange between Africa and the world.
The project, curated by Marco Scotini, has benefitted from a committee of multi-disciplinary advisors which includes: Simon Njami, artistic director of the Dakar Biennial 2016 and 2018, Gigi Pezzoli, Africanist, Grazia Quaroni, senior curator, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain and Adama Sanneh, director of programs, Fondazione lettera27.
The exhibition is accompanied by a program of seminars, conferences and screenings arranged in collaboration with Fondazione lettera27, the Festival of African Cinema, the Biennial of Lubumbashi, the Centro Studi Archeologia Africana, NABA – Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, and other organizations.
John Akomfrah, Georges Adéagbo, Joël Andrianomearisoa, El Anatsui, Kader Attia, Sammy Baloji, Fréderic Brouly Bouabré, Seni Awa Camara, Nidhal Chamekh, Samuel Fosso, Peter Friedl, Meschac Gaba, Kendell Geers, Yervant Gianikian e Angela Ricci Lucchi, John Goba, Nicholas Hlobo, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Rashid Johnson, Seydou Keïta, William Kentdrige, Abdoulaye Konaté, Moshekwa Langa, Gonçalo Mabunda, Ibrahim Mahama, Wangechi Mutu, Maurice Pefura, Cameron Platter, Robin Rhode, Chéri Samba, Yinka Shonibare, Malick Sidibé, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Guy Tillim, Cyprien Tokoudagba, Ouattara Watts, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
AGI Verona Collection, Collezione Denise e Beppe Berna, Collezione Lino Baldini, Collezione Giorgio Bassi, Collezione Rosario Bifulco, Collezione Pierangelo Bonomi, Collezione A. e V. M. Carini, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Collezione Consolandi, Collezione Erminia Di Biase, Collezione Nunzia e Vittorio Gaddi, Collezione Laura e Luigi Giordano, Collezione Giuseppe Iannaccone, Collezione La Gaia, Collezione Lavelli, Collezione Ligabue, Collezione Emilio e Luisa Marinoni, Collezione Angelo Miccoli, Collezione Ettore Molinario, Collezione Germano Montanari, Nomas Foundation, Collezione Pierluigi Peroni, Collezione Elio ed Onda Revera, Collezione Enea Righi, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Collezione Andrea Sandoli, Collezione Guido Schlinkert, Collezione Gian Luca Sghedoni, Collezione Vincenzo Taranto, Collezione Gemma De Angelis Testa, Collezione Vigorelli.
FM Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea in Milan is a new exhibition space dedicated to art and collecting and is able to respond to the new presentation methods of Collections and the different forms of contemporary creation. Its vocation is that of being a structure that brings together into a single context all the subjects and functions linked to the valorization of art, its exhibition and conservation. As an exhibition space, warehouse, research institute and restoration center, engaging in an innovative, cultural and education program, FM hosts private collections and artists’ archives.
Located within the historic, industrial complex of the Frigoriferi Milanesi, FM Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea, is governed, under the artistic direction of Marco Scotini, by an international board of experts amongst whom are Vasif Kortun (Director of Research and Program, SALT, Istanbul), Grazia Quaroni (Senior Curator / Head of Collections, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris), Charles Esche (Director, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven), Hou Hanru (artistic director, MAXXI, Rome) and Enea Righi (collector). FM is a new space for contemporary art able to develop new exhibition and museum models with an experimental approach to forms of contemporary artistic production and to the valorization of Collections in all their functional and cultural aspects.
The FM Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea is sponsored by Open Care – Servizi per l’Arte (Gruppo Bastogi).
The White Hunter. African memories and representations, curated by Marco Scotini
31.03.2017 - 06.06.2017
Until June 6th, 2017 the exhibition will be open from Wednesday to Saturday from 2 pm to 7.30 pm.
Kader Attia, Open your eyes, 2014, two sets of 80 black and white and color slides, Collezione E. Righi.
Courtesy: GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana
Meschac Gaba, Perruque. Milan, 2006, Private Collection
Seydou Keïta, Collezione Bifulco
Wangechi MUTU Automatic Hip, 2015, collage on paper, 74,3x58,4 cm