by Sukanya GargDec 28, 2019
A room occupied by the light feet of ballerina ghosts surrounds you. Frozen mid-movement, immortalised by prosthetic forms. Wrapped in fabric strips of candy colours and almost childish patterns, the sculptural works take on a playful air. In contrast to this, the bands of metal stand strict and inflexible. Binding, fixed and cold. The delicate structures hang onto an endless moment, filling the space with movement through stillness.
At Basement Roma, Berenice Olmedo presents her work as part of Incorporea - a year long endeavour to create and renew dialogue around our relationship with our own bodies, and its evolution through time with the influence of various external drivers like new technologies. Curators Andrea Baccin and Ilaria Marotta say, "Berenice Olmedo’s works explore the question of the norm and how this idea is reflected in society, culture, politics - and the body is a fundamental medium for her to reflect on this. Her prosthetic ballerinas bring light to the vulnerability of these marginalised bodies and the attempt of society to ‘normalise’ them through the use of different artificial devices such as the prostheses or the corset, another object of body modification used by the artist in her body of work. These sculptures played an important role in the first chapter of Incorporea by re-imagining the body and its shapes while defying the boundaries and conventions of what is considered standard in our society and the complex issue of homogeneity of bodies and objects within it”.
Due to the (necessary or otherwise) focus on the legs as forms, the spaces above and around are left starkly empty. While Olmedo’s work bears a haunting weight of its own, the installation wants for a more immersive environment for an elevated viewing experience.
Baccin and Marotta tell STIR about their curatorial approach, which weaves together dialogue around cultures which surround our perceptions of body and self. They say, “Incorporeais conceived as an investigation of the body in all its forms, an exhibition that deals with the social and political power of the body, considering it a place to question norms, gender, identity, and also as a space to address the effects of technology and the digital world upon us. We are working with artists who discuss not only how technology has changed and turned the body immaterial and hybrid, for example, but also with artists that go in the other direction and show the corporeality of the flesh and reconnect us with this physical dimension. The presence and the absence of the body into our interconnected and fluid world are questions intrinsically connected to the show and to our research at CURA”.
Continuing, they say, “The idea of having Incorporea as a year-long exhibition is to see it as a living organism, a being that mutates and changes with time by the introduction of a new corpus of works every month, approximately. With that, we create an endless movement, a constant flow of addition and subtraction that articulates the different propositions of the show and the artists, reflecting also our contemporary ever-shifting scenario”. The exhibition welcomed a host of new installations in the past few weeks, calling upon existing works to contextualise and elevate them in continuing conversation.
The decision to stretch the exhibition over many months, allowing for fluidity in movement of artworks in and out of the space, allows for the experience to hold space for an extended conversation, rather than a brief encounter. Continued exposure to works allows for us, as viewers, to absorb, iterate and explore the subject area with ease and flexibility - enabling the onlooker to evolve and grow alongside the artworks themselves. The exhibition works across media, including a range of works from film to installation and sculpture.
“We recently opened the second chapter with the incorporation of pieces by Gina Folly, Athena Papadopoulos, and Jenna Sutela and for our following phase, we are very excited to welcome Yu Ji, an artist who deals with the materiality of the body through abstractions and fragmentations in a powerful, poetic way, but also depicts the acts of resistance of the body as a political manifesto,” conclude the pair of curators.
The exhibition is currently on display at Basement Roma in Rome, Italy and will continue to run until September 18, 2021. Incorporea is curated to introduce new works at monthly intervals through the coming year.