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Aleksandra Domanović exhibits an augmented reality sculpture in Milan

Inspired by Medardo Rosso’s Portinaia sculpture, artist Aleksandra Domanović creates an immersive site-specific sculptural installation at the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Milan.

by Sukanya Garg Nov 18, 2019

The Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation presents Aleksandra Domanović: The Falseness of Holes, an exhibition of the winner of the Arnaldo Pomodoro Sculpture Prize – its fifth edition at the Galleria d'Arte Moderna (GAM) in Milan.

Aleksandra Domanović’s sculpture consists of an app that is composed of different environments that are accessible through augmented reality (AR) | The Falseness of Holes | Aleksandra Domanović | STIRworld
Aleksandra Domanović’s sculpture consists of an app that is composed of different environments that are accessible through augmented reality (AR) Image Credit: Courtesy of Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro

The exhibition includes an immersive and site-specific sculptural installation, specially designed keeping into view the architecture and aesthetic of the Sala del Parnaso - considered to be the most beautiful room of the GAM. The sculpture takes as its starting point Medardo Rosso’s Portinaia (the Concierge, 1883-1884), a bust from GAM’s permanent collection. Domanović has integrated the sculpture with augmented reality such that virtual images can be superimposed onto the real installation.

The exhibition is inspired by Medardo Rosso’s statement in an interview in 1907, where he talked about making people forget the material of the sculpture, and rather emphasise on the role of photography in the creative process | The Falseness of Holes | Aleksandra Domanović | STIRworld
The exhibition is inspired by Medardo Rosso’s statement in an interview in 1907, where he talked about making people forget the material of the sculpture, and rather emphasise on the role of photography in the creative process Image Credit: Courtesy of Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro

The Falseness of Holes is about the blending of otherwise unlikely pair of artistic practices – Domanović and Rosso. As a contemporary female artist, Domanović’s practice is in absolute contrast to Rosso’s. Yet, the first encounter with Rosso’s sculptures at the GAM left a lasting impression on the artist.

As Domanović describes, “I got the sense that this artist was special. Once I got home I did more research on Rosso, and realised just how amazing he was. I was stunned to hear that among other highly innovative methods, Rosso used photography not only as a tool to document his own sculptures, but also as a means of sculptural production. He described photographs of his work as versions of his sculptures. He made one in clay, one in wax, one in bronze, and one in photography, for instance.”

Aleksandra Domanović, The Falseness of Holes, 2019. Stand-in visual material | The Falseness of Holes | Aleksandra Domanović | STIRworld
Aleksandra Domanović, The Falseness of Holes, 2019. Stand-in visual material Image Credit: Courtesy of Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro

The new sculpture is not visible in physical space but rather can be accessed by downloading The Falseness of Holes app on their smartphones or tablets. Visitors are invited to follow Portinaia’s orders, explore a doctor’s clinic, a classroom, and a desert. The virtual work can change shape, size or context, depending on the interaction and participation of the public. The whole idea was inspired by Rosso’s statement in an interview published in The Daily Mail in 1907, which said, “A sculpture is not meant to be touched, but to be seen at a certain distance, according to the effect intended by the artist. Our hand does not allow us to become aware of values, tones, colours... in a word, of the life of the thing.”

Just like Rosso transcended the physicality of sculpture by using photography to study the work, on a parallel plane, Domanović’s installation transcends the material sculptural plane through use of augmented reality. While the final rendition is not comparable in the least, the idea is essentially similar.

The site-specific installation is inspired by Medardo Rosso’s sculpture “a Portinaia” | The Falseness of Holes | Aleksandra Domanović | STIRworld
The site-specific installation is inspired by Medardo Rosso’s sculpture “a Portinaia” Image Credit: Courtesy of Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro

According to Domanović, “Rosso said his photographs are versions of his sculptures; Duchamp said a readymade is a sculpture; and Nancy Holt declared that a view can be an artwork. I say this app is a sculpture… It’s about opening passages and walking through different environments. It’s about going through the portals, the holes. You always come back to where you started, there’s no grand finale. Transgression is possible. You can literally overstep each of the environments if you walk far enough to reach the end of its perimeters. You can walk through walls. You can also just chill and stay in any one of the places – that would be a sort of transgression too: a non-action.

The Falseness of Holes, 2019, by Aleksandra Domanović, the winner of the 5th edition of the Arnaldo Pomodoro Sculpture Prize | The Falseness of Holes | Aleksandra Domanović | STIRworld
The Falseness of Holes, 2019, by Aleksandra Domanović, the winner of the 5th edition of the Arnaldo Pomodoro Sculpture Prize Image Credit: Courtesy of Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro

The project collapses places and time periods together in order to question not whether something is a simulation or a reality, but rather to ask what is possible on the threshold of these differences.

The exhibition is on view at Galleria d'Arte Moderna from November 12, 2019, to January 6, 2020.

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About Author

Sukanya Garg

Sukanya Garg

Garg is an artist and writer with a Master's degree in Public Policy from Duke University, USA. She has been involved in research, planning and execution of gallery exhibitions and external projects in collaboration with curators. Her writing has been published in several art magazines, journals and as part of curatorial notes and catalogues, and her work has been showcased at multiple exhibitions.

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