Mendes Wood DM is proud to announce its second cycle of exhibitions at Villa Era, a historic 19th-century house and estate in the Italian countryside, located near Biella, between Milan and Turin.
Matthew Lutz-Kinoy: Entrance
The American-born, Paris-based artist Matthew Lutz-Kinoy is occupying the ground floor of Villa Era with a site-specific project titled Grand Entrance. The starting point for the artist's project is the concept of the Theatrum Mundi and his research into the lavish festivities that the Medici rulers were famous for staging throughout the city of Florence during the Renaissance, particularly the wedding of Arch Duke Ferdinando I de' Medici and Christine of Lorraine in 1589. Many architectural elements designed by Bernardo Buontalenti for this event still exist along with designs and etchings, as well as the accounts of these lavish festivities, including a reenactment of a naval battle that was staged in the flooded courtyard of Palazzo Pitti, and were elaborately reconstructed by the historian Aby Warburg.
The complex framework of these popular performative weddings saw public spaces, streets and cities decorated and framed as stages and theatrical platforms that merged existing architecture with artifice, stage props and imagined perspectives—architecture as theatre and vice versa. While events such as these would mix the registers of the aristocratic and the popular, these staged spaces, produced by the larger, socially organised bodies and governments of their day, were used to manifest their own power, their own mythologies and vision of themselves, in a way that used the population as players and violence as ornament.
In this spirit, Lutz-Kinoy's site-specific large-scale canvases, replete with colourful Renaissance and Baroque decorative motifs and theatrical compositions, interact with the architectures of Villa Era and propose a visually immersive layering of pageantry that is at once physically attached to the house and its furniture but detached from its history. By replicating tactics of presentation of Renaissance spectacles, the artist calls into question the frames and facades through which today's governments project narratives in social spaces.
Villa Era is located in Vigliano Biellese, Piedmont, near the Northern Italian town of Biella. The neo-classical Villa, which dates back to the late 19th century, is built in a private estate that connects to the ancient vineyard on the hillside behind it. From the 1970s to the 1990s, Villa Era was home to Eubiotica and I.C.A.R.E., two non-profit institutions that pioneered European scientific research on organic agriculture, holistic nutrition and Yoga and Ayurveda, hosting university-level courses, conferences and workshops taught by the greatest international experts, scholars, scientists and practitioners of their time. In 1990, the estate hosted the 10th Anniversary of the Right Livelihood Award, know as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize'. Villa Era's library, one the first private libraries to be made public in Italy, contains more than 3,000 volumes and unique research papers on subjects including Indian philosophy, social sciences, ecology, Yoga, Ayurveda and macrobiotic nutrition.
Mendes Wood DM
Mendes Wood DM was founded in 2010 by partners Felipe Dmab, Matthew Wood and Pedro Mendes with the intent to exhibit international and Brazilian artists in a context conducive to critical dialogue and cross-pollination. Central to the gallery's program is a concern for regional difference and individuation while fostering cosmopolitanism and collaboration. Inspired by a belief that artistic practices broaden the scope of human agency and have the power to both touch and change the world, Mendes Wood DM cultivates a program premised on conceptualism, political resistance and intellectual rigor.
Press release courtesy Mendes Wood DM.
Giuseppe Rivetti, 53
13856 Vigliano Biellese (BI)
The Villa and grounds are open in Spring, Summer and Autumn. Please contact us for more information.