What will transform Turin, Italy into the internationally renowned artistic hub for the avant-garde it is meant to be? Artissima, an organization that describes itself as “a window onto the most experimental frontier of the visual arts” has a three-part plan. It’s outlined in their press release, which is perfect for any human who has recently undergone a lobotomy.
First, they will launch an exhibition called ONE TORINO that brings every single thing about Turin into one room. We’re promised a study of Turin’s artistic, historic, and architectural space that will “recount the essence of the language of art.” Whatever this means, we can’t wait.
Next, Artissima will hire a man to build this special exhibition in the Palazzo Cavour and he will be so avant-garde no title could bestowed upon him. Referred to as the show’s “non-curator,” that man is Maurizio Cattelan, a “retired artist with a curious soul” and famed purveyor of dad jokes. He’s got two helpers who aren’t avant-garde enough to forgo the title of curator; Myriam Ben Salah and Marta Papini.
But let’s clear up some facts for a second, Maurizio Cattelan is not retired; he never actually said he was retiring, but it’s a nice myth some press people still like to believe. Here’s what Cattelan actually told The Art Newspaper back in 2011:
“I have come to the end of a cycle of my art,” explaining that he would no longer make the hyperrealist sculptures for which he is known. He added that he wanted to “get out of a system that seduces you into repeating yourself”.
Finally, Cattelan and cohorts have created a Tumblr for Artissima that will reflect on the exhibition they’ve put together. It is called Shit n Die. So far images include a still from the 1976 horror movie “Carrie,” a sword fight between Sikhs over who should get to use a microphone first, and a picture of Batman and Robin kissing.
Spend a bit of time on this Tumblr, and think about what this says about art, Turin, and the avant-garde. Witness nothingness creep over your mind. Once your mind is completely emptied, but for a few essential shards of careerist ambition, you will have achieved the state of mind necessary to replicate a project like this.