Few Sundays ago I did unprecedented thing: I woke up early! Moreover, I paid a visit to Hangar Bicocca to check out Mike Kelley’s Eternity is a Long Time (click here for a separate post).
Hangar Bicocca located in north-eastern outskirts of Milan, did not evade the hip-destiny of an industrial zone swallowed by a growing city – its spacious area has been transformed into a territory of art and design. One of the three aisles of the space is currently occupied by a permanent I Sette Palazzi Celesti (“Seven Heavenly Palaces”) by Anselm Kiefer, the only living artist in Louvre’s permanent collection, who is also best known for La Ribaute project at Barjac. The latter was a direct inspiration to the “Seven Heavenly Palaces” installation – seven towers which height varies from 14 to 18 meters made of piled food transportation containers – an enormous and ambitious project that unites Kiefer’s main themes – Judaism, post-Second World War ruins, mysticism and mythology, and philosophy. The title refers to ancient Hebrew the Book of Palaces/Sanctuaries about a symbolic and spiritual journey.
Source: Hangar Bicocca
Sefiroth – the first and the lowest tower – represents
ten names (neon lights) of the ten expressions/instruments of God
One of the names "Malkuth" ("Kingdom"). Source: Hangar Bicocca
JH&WH – surrounded by irregularly shaped meteorites in molten lead
scattered at their base represent the myth of life-creation according to
Kabbalah of the Earth and the Jewish diaspora. If joined together the
neon toppings of the towers – JH and WH – phonetically form the word
“Yahweh”, the inexpressible name for Jews.
Tower of the Falling Pictures – the tower with invisible
framed pictures. Source: Hangar Bicocca
Remaining towers are: Melancholia – linked to Albrecht Durer 1514 engraving, Saturn planet (reference to artists’ patron planet); Ararat; Magic Field Lines – the tallest tower with a film of led (a material which repels rays of light and thus does not allow any image to be produced) that runs across the tower symbolizes the attempts of various generations to erase cultures or identity of the others (e.g., time of Luther vs. Byzantine era or Nazis vs. Jewish culture).
The ruins for Kiefer are the symbol of inevitable defeat of human ambition when aspiring towards a superior and almost divine level. Same topic was raised by The Ruins of Industrial («Руины индустриального») on show at Moscow’s Regina Gallery. The artist, Vladimir Logutov collected the artifacts of an imaginary industrial territory: broken and shed metal pieces scarcely located across the exhibition space that create a feeling of emptiness and solitude. The leitmotif of collapse is best seen in the video where we observe a lady leaning towards a classical balustrade peacefully and apathetically observing the chaos surrounding her.
Worth to mention that the contrast between the romantic white colonnade and industrial landscape is non-invented but found by the artist from a park in Izhevsk city.
Artist himself associates his work with caducity of Dutch still life “vanitas” with a human scull as the central object.
Vanitas (1630) by Pieter Claesz
Contemporary Vanitas - Clown Skull by Vik Muniz
It was with the set of design for Heiner Muller’s play Mauser (1991, Berlin) that the artist first used half of a dozen cabinets suspended in mid-air. In 1993 at the Albergo dei Poveri in Palermo Jannis Kounellis further develops the project and presents in absolutely empty space Senza titolo installation currently on exposition at RISO museum in Palermo. Here, artist focuses on the relationship between the present and the past. I find this exploration even more full if one takes a look outside on a street: the installation is well incorporated not only in museum's interior but is also in harmony with tatty and decaying Piazza Bologni.
Source: Mobilita Palermo
The Levitation of Saint Teresa, 2010, Marina Abramovic